Finding the right workplace tools can be hard, especially when there’s an abundance of “all-in-one” solutions in the market. As someone responsible for managing your workplaces, how do you decide which workplace management software is best for your company?
In this guide, you’ll find practical tips that can help make your search easier, what to look out for during your search, how to attain crucial information, and even examples of what to ask the sales representative of the software you’re interested in.
Looking for an even more in-depth look at how to choose your workplace management system? Also read our guide “How to choose your IWMS solution”.
What is a workplace management system
(Integrated) workplace management systems are software solutions that help companies manage their workplaces from A to Z. With a workplace management system, facility managers can get insights into how their spaces are being used and find ways to optimize those spaces. This translates into lower – or more efficiently spent – office real estate costs.
Often, these systems also function as a way for employees to gain more clarity and control over how they can use their workspaces. Features such as desk booking and meeting room booking have become staple features of these systems.
Why choose a workplace management system
Choosing a workplace management system can have many reasons. First of, these systems offer invaluable data on how your offices are used.
Information you’ll typically find in dashboards is the occupancy rate of your various spaces. This can be further zoomed into to find occupancy trends such as; which days are busiest, which offices or zones are under-occupied, which teams make use of your spaces, are people showing up on days or moments they have booked a desk/ meeting room, and much more.
This data, in turn, can help you make calculated adjustments to your floor plan, your workplace policies, and even the size of your office. The right data can save a company millions of dollars, especially with hybrid working thrown into the mix.
A common reason for companies to invest in a workplace management system is to incorporate a scalable and effective hybrid working strategy. These systems not only allow for management to gain more control over their workplaces, they also give an equal measure of control to employees. Booking features allow employees to reserve desks, meeting rooms, parking space, and more. It also makes collaborating a lot easier by ‘following’ colleagues, inviting them to join you at the office, and keeping up to date via community features.
Just as it makes collaborating easier, it also helps employees be more productive. With a booking system, they can choose workspaces based on the work they need to complete. This can end up saving hours of work on a daily basis, depending on their job. Either by working from home when it makes sense – saving hours on the road – or by working in a fitting work setting at the office, keeping focussed when needed, and exchanging ideas when appropriate.
Finally, having a system in place that helps streamline your hybrid working efforts is a great boon in your employer branding. Your employees will appreciate the clarity and ease with which they can arrange their workday, and potential hires are actively looking for employers that offer this flexibility. In fact, research by Gartner shows that 43% of employees would consider leaving their jobs if required to work fully on-site.
Tips for choosing a workplace management system
1. Pick a system that is modular
Not every workplace management system is built the same. Many of them claim to offer a “one-size fits all” solution that will invariably tackle all your workplace management related challenges. Oftentimes, this means being sold a heap of features you don’t plan on ever using.
Instead, look for a system that can be tailored to the workplace needs of your company. This way, you only pay for the features you actively need and you retain the ability to scale and acquire more features as your requirements evolve.
2. Match the systems’ features to your workplace goals
Beginning your search for a new workplace management system starts with defining your workplace goals. Which goals should your workplace management system be able to fulfill?
A common goal is to cut down on real estate expenses by reevaluating existing office real estate, finding out which places are under-utilized, and repurposing those. In this scenario, workplace analytics to measure historical, current, and expected office usage would be invaluable.
Another common goal is to implement or support your hybrid working transition. In that case, it would make sense to look for resource booking (desks, meeting rooms, parking, etc.) and collaboration features.
3. Look at integration possibilities
Part of the appeal of (integrated) workplace management systems is how well they integrate with your existing workplace hard- and software. Find out which integrations would be crucial for your company and see if you can match that with the systems you’re comparing.
Common integration types include smart locks and access control, HVAC, SSO, motion sensors, online calendars, and many more.
While in some cases, custom integrations can be built upon request, it is always a good idea to find out which integrations the system you’re interested in has by default. You can do so by searching their website, or, for a more reliable approach, by asking your sales representative.
4. Ensure you have the right support options
Many workplace management systems offer limited support options once customers have opted to use their software. Make sure you clearly understand how much support you require for every step of the sales process, including pre-sales and after-sales support.
Pre-sales support is all about qualification and helping you understand the scope of what is possible with the system. A sales representative will ask you questions about your specific needs, and you will be able to ask questions about the software capabilities and services provided. Great pre-sales also includes consultancy about how specific scenarios can be handled with the help of the software.
After-sales support can be just as detrimental to the choice you make to choose and stay with a workplace management system. Ask your sales representative for a detailed list of things included in their support plan. Note that there will likely be different levels of support your system offers. However, a basic level of support to fall back on should always be available.
Great customer care is often also reflected in how loyal and appreciative customers are. At zapfloor, we currently boast a 95% retention rate since the beginning of our operations in 2015. Curious to find out why that is the case?