Dynamic Spaces. Flexible Workplaces.


3 min read

Plan for a changing environment

Optimizing the space in your buildings has far-reaching benefits. Not only does it improve the bottom line, but it also enables a productive environment and increases employee engagement.

A hybrid working model is here to stay. With space optimization, you can begin to design a dynamic work model to ensure that all your employees have the flexibility and the technology they need, whether they are in the office or working remotely. In a recent Covid-19 Consumer Survey, the IBM Institute of Business Value found that "employees can work effectively work from home but 66% would prefer to be in the office for at least a portion of their work week.1

Business people work in an open plan office.

CEOs concur. The IBM Institute for Business Value 2021 CEO Study found 56% of the CEOs surveyed said enhanced operational agility and flexibility is their top priority in the next two to three years.2

twenty-five percent
25% of technology expenditures will go to projects that address…changes triggered by the pandemic.1

By using space management software, you can quickly look at your floor plans and decide:

  • Which employees must work onsite and who can stay remote.
  • Does a fixed hybrid schedule with designated days onsite make sense, or do we give employees the flexibility of making their own decisions instead?
  • Will you assign desks to each employee, or will you use hoteling and hot desking when onsite meetings are required?

Having the ability to understand the space needs of your business and your employees, and to react quickly to any changes, is critical to success. Given that the cost of space is usually an organization’s second largest expense, understanding true usage can identify potential ways to right-size your portfolio and improve optimization. As Verdantix, an independent research firm found, 90% of organizations rate space efficiency as a medium- to high-cost savings opportunity.

2 2021 CEO Study: Find your essential, IBM Institute for Business Value, April 2021.


4 min read

Digitally map your spaces

The pandemic taught us all a thing or two about the sense of urgency required for organizations to adapt and innovate digitally.

In a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study, 59% of executives surveyed said the pandemic had accelerated their organizations' digital transformation. With vaccinations underway worldwide, organizations are also looking ahead to plan safe, flexible return-to-work strategies and hybrid work environments.

"Returning to the workplace after nearly a year at home is going to be a challenging transition, not only for employers who need to create new spaces and protocols but for workers who need assurances their workplaces are safe, and need help navigating a changed and potentially more confusing workspace," said Kendra DeKeyrel, Vice President, Asset Management Product Leader - AI Applications.

Two masked employees review data on a tablet.

Capturing a model of your workspaces

There’s a wealth of helpful information in every floor plan, especially as you look for ways to keep people safe while encouraging collaboration. For example, as floor plans change to accommodate social distancing, how easy will it be for people to find their new assigned spaces? And is there an opportunity to look ahead and create an exceptional occupant experience for the future?

First you need to capture the data from your drawings and models into your space management software. Then you can quickly populate the space inventory of your facilities and keep it up to date by uploading and syncing information directly from Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) models. This allows you to adapt workplaces so all occupants have the right workspace to stay safe, connected, and productive.

If you have dynamic and interactive floor plans that are linked to live data, your space measurements will be more accurate to help you define the boundaries of individual spaces on your floor plans. You can also add interactive indoor mapping for employees, visitors, and maintenance staff that offsets time wasted searching for available desks or conference rooms, or even finding colleagues. It’s all possible with an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

IDC is seeing an uptick in indoor mapping and wayfinding interest as one component of next era workplace management.”1
Seventy-two percent

Of employees prefer a hybrid model1.

The post-pandemic workplace will emphasize occupant health and safety, productivity, hybrid work, and collaboration.

IDC Link, “IBM and Esri Will Help You Find Your Way.”

Unlocking new levels of efficiency and optimization

By digitizing your space and understanding the actual use requirements, you can also uncover opportunities to consolidate or repurpose areas to be used more efficiently. Given that the cost of space is usually an organization’s second largest expense, understanding true usage can identify potential ways to improve optimization. This is especially true for companies adopting a flexible workplace. In fact, 83% of CFOs surveyed for a recent study said they’re looking to facilities and capital expenditure as a cost cutting opportunity.

How quickly an organization can respond to [the pandemic] and other disruptions is partially determined by the digital maturity of its facility, real estate, and integrated workplace software.”2


2 min read

Enable dynamic space planning

If you’re making critical space decisions with manually intensive work and less-than-perfect data, you can’t react quickly to changing business demands.

But what if you could understand the real-time occupancy of your buildings and workspaces by connecting your various data sources to a single platform? What if you could easily get the utilization rate, vacancy rate, and usage behavior data you need to make workspace changes in the moment?

A large, modern open plan office.

Optimized space and safety for all users

Making quick workspace adjustments is the way of the future because how we work keeps changing. Because of this, businesses need to plan for a completely different workplace density model and consider the safety and cost-efficiency of different models.

The ability to quickly design flexible workspaces can help you create the right environment for your employees. You can determine proper social distancing between workspaces as you plan your new layouts and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, building resiliency into your operations.

The ideal solution allows you to:

  • Drag and drop people to new desk assignments
  • Remove or add people to the floor
  • Analyze revised capacity metrics
  • Test different seating arrangements to ensure adequate spacing and seating for both group and individual work, with built-in flexibility for when more employees are present.
  • Designate spaces as available or reserved

No matter what each day brings, you can make sure your spaces are configured to meet those needs.

In order to properly plan your spaces, you also need the ability to forecast appropriately. This is where occupancy monitoring and space utilization insights become critical. Learn more about this in section 4.


5 min read

Use AI for real-time occupancy insights

At any time, you need to know who is using your space.

You also need answers to key utilization questions:

  • What areas are heavily trafficked and when?
  • Are people adhering to social distancing and capacity guidelines?
  • What types of spaces are most used and which are underutilized?
A businessman works on a laptop.

Take Pam, for example. Pam is a space planner who needs to track occupancy against limited capacity thresholds and quickly identify areas of overcrowding. She can use an IWMS in combination with IoT data to understand near real-time trends around space utilization, but how does she know if it’s traffic patterns are the norm or a one-off situation? This is where AI comes in. It can detect anomalies in occupancy behaviors and identify typical working schedules for historical utilization reporting. Armed with this information, she can make better decisions about execution of space management plans and maximize schedule-based sharing.

Use your existing WiFi network to gain occupancy insight

Third-party IoT devices and the use of wireless data allows you to deploy location sensing using your existing WiFi network infrastructure in a matter of hours. If you’re a space planner or manage facilities, you can quickly take advantage of these insights to optimize workspaces.

According to Lucas Hanson, Senior Product Manager, Cisco DNA Spaces, "by leveraging existing Cisco Wi-Fi network infrastructure and wireless access points, Cisco DNA Spaces aggregates location data to provide location data for IBM TRIRIGA Building Insights." 1


2 min read

Enhance the workplace experience

All your employees—not just Millennials—have higher expectations regarding employee experience these days.

Employers must go beyond coffee and snacks to something much more meaningful, promoting not just health and safety, but overall well-being and productivity.

A great work experience now means identifying the things that matter most to employees. Processes that address physical and emotional health – like visible cleaning, easy-to-find hand sanitizing stations, simplified navigation of your facilities, easy access to services and the availability of protective barriers and equipment as needed are key. The need for these may lessen, but your employees need to see that you put their health first. Then, that lets them confidently bring their talents, skills and innovation back to the workplace.

An employee cleans her hands with sanitizer, while her coworker is positioned behind a glass partition.
By proactively using smart technologies to help protect onsite employees and other workers, we can reinforce their trust in us.”
Marianne Flores,
Director Global Real Estate Operations,
IBM Global Real Estate

Safety and space drive today’s employee experiences

Is there enough space
to create the right socially distanced floor plans and protect employee health?
Does everyone have quick access
to find and reserve the space they need, including individual workspaces and meeting rooms?
Can space be quickly reconfigured
if circumstances change?
How can space be reimagined
to include outdoor options or as a destination instead of an office?

Many employees who have successfully worked from home for the past year may want to explore new arrangements, like flexible or hybrid working models – which means reserving a workspace when they come into the office. This means you need a 30,000-foot view of your space, and your employees, so you can react quickly when people reserve spaces.

With social distance guidelines still in place for many organizations, you need to clearly delineate how many desks are available for hoteling or hot-desking. You also must look at office utilization and map indoor floor flows so people can navigate to their space and easily locate amenities, colleagues, and collaboration spaces.

Re-create the home environment at work

Another employee need is for the same type of frictionless technology experience they have in their homes — like an AI chatbot that they can access across applications they use daily. AI chatbots can execute everyday tasks – booking meeting rooms, for instance. In fact, 70% of employees said “finding a place to meet is one of the biggest time wasters for workers”, and they report 65 hours lost per year. 1 Run the numbers on your employees, and you can see how much more productive and profitable it is to make these common tasks easier.

You might also consider providing employees with indoor mapping to make spaces easy to find, using the most direct route with social distance in mind.

Employees value the flexibility they’ve gained working remotely, and employers must recognize this or risk losing valuable talent. Businesses, on the other hand, are still balancing employee health, safety, and happiness along with cost-effective real estate models and return-to-work plans. There are no easy answers, but solutions like IBM TRIRIGA can help you develop a workplace experience that works for everyone.

How a person works and their environment can make a huge difference not only on their satisfaction, but to the benefit of the firm, as well. ”
Sandra Corkern,
Associate Director Real Estate Technology & Innovation,


6 min read

Improve operational efficiency

A comprehensive integrated workplace management system (IWMS) gives you the power to go beyond simply optimizing your spaces to provide the ability to react quickly to change and make strategic decisions for greater operational efficiency.

Space impacts nearly every aspect of your operations, including:

  • Consolidating and repurposing space for a flexible workplace
  • Maximizing operations and maintenance efforts
  • Bolstering sustainability management via reduction of real estate footprint
  • Ensuring capital projects stay on time and on budget
  • Streamlining lease administration and accounting
A woman works on a laptop in an IBM office.

Take IBM Global Real Estate (GRE) as an example. The team oversees approximately 1,300 office locations that cover 78 million square feet, across 110 countries. In the past, each office location used its own applications to manage space that often resulted in manual and time-consuming workflows. Now, with the help of their IWMS, GRE can understand how employees are actually using office space. As employees return to the office, this will help GRE improve overall utilization by offering the right mix of safety, space, and amenities.

Reduce costs and deliver the right workspace for your employees

Improving operational efficiency is critical to quickly addressing unexpected events and changing protocols. Real estate professionals and facility managers need to have the knowledge to influence strategy, identify opportunities for expansion or consolidation, and answer questions such as:

  • What action should I take with an expiring lease?
  • Where are opportunities to reduce our footprint without sacrificing occupant experience?
  • How can I best reconfigure floor plans based on changing needs?
  • What improvements can I make in reserving hot desks to truly maximize available spaces while also keeping employees safe?

An IWMS can help answer these questions and more as it captures the data needed, all in one place, to make better decisions about their spaces. Watch EY’s story below to learn more.

Before we had the [IBM] system…if you needed to know five pieces of information about a group, you had to go to five different systems.”
Sandra Corkern,
Associate Director Real Estate Technology & Innovation,

To learn more about IBM TRIRIGA software, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit ibm.com.