Coworking space is a hot topic in commercial real estate. Companies like WeWork and Regus continue to lease more and more office space for the temporary use of their subscribing members. Even the GSA is looking at coworking space as a way to meet some of its space needs. However, coworking spaces can create process challenges for distributed teams and their managers. Imaging is the solution.
Statistics compiled by real estate service company JLL show the proliferation of coworking space, particularly in the past two years. The benefits of coworking office space are well-documented: few or no build-out costs, no long-term lease, tax benefits, and simplified telework. From a facilities management standpoint, coworking office space is an ideal solution to the need for temporary space.
For the occupants, too, the quality of coworking space has improved considerably since the early days when complaints about privacy and noise were common. Many coworking space providers are now reconfiguring their spaces to offer privacy pods and noise abatement.
One problem most coworking spaces can’t solve is document storage and information accessibility. Coworking offices are in the business of offering working space, not paper-document storage space. Document-dependent organizations struggle with their work processes if their teams are distributed in several widespread co-working spaces, without access to the paper documents they need.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for that: Imaging. Converting paper documents to digital documents makes those documents shareable. Distributed teams can have full access to all the information they need. Further, the converted documents are even easier to use than paper documents, since the conversion process makes them searchable – a key word or phrase can be delivered with electronic speed.
Converted documents offer a level of security and safety that paper documents can’t match, especially in a coworking environment where outsiders might have unauthorized access to confidential papers. With a database of imaged documents, managers can ensure information integrity by setting access permissions and tracking document usage.
Judging from the results of JLL’s study, coworking is going to be a significant part of many organizations’ real estate choices. If your enterprise is considering adding coworking spaces to your real estate mix, now is the time to put an imaging plan into action and add speed, security, and information accessibility to the other benefits of coworking.
Photo © Vladimir Melnikov / AdobeStock
Google, Bing, and all the other online search engines have raised the bar for information accessibility. We have come to expect, in mere seconds, the answers to queries that used to take many man-hours of research and compilation. Such easy access to data is a great time-saver for any business operation, and as we all know, time is money. But if your business operations rely on paper documents, you may feel there’s a lot of staff time spent hunting down data stored on paper, whether it’s a single document in a file folder, or a single sentence buried within that document. If you think it’s reducing your profitability to operate this way, you’re right.
Findability is the key to speeding up your document searches, and the best way to improve findability is to convert your paper documents to digital documents.
Imaging, also known as document conversion, is much more than creating a simple PDF. Digital e-documents are searchable and sortable. They are essentially “smart” documents, and because they are stored on a server, your data’s findability rate is as fast as a search engine. Instead of having to go look for data in a file cabinet, the data comes to you. It’s like having your own internal Google for your documents. And while Google’s documents are public, your imaged documents are accessible only to your authorized users.
Information is an asset. Likewise, your team’s time is an asset. When you improve document findability, you maximize the value of your informational assets. Your team is able to get vital information quickly, and everyone remains focused on your organization’s primary mission, with all the assets – information and time – working together to increase throughput. And as economists tell us, increased throughput will lead to increased profitability.
Findability could be your success tool to improving productivity and profitability. A document organization specialist will help point you to the right system for your enterprise.
Photo © pablocalvog / AdobeStock
It’s never easy being an HR recruiter. Whether the job market is tight or wide open, the competition for top talent is ever-present. One of the proven strategies for attracting the very best recruits is a visible, well-integrated corporate value system.
Prospective employees want to see their own values reflected in the workplace, especially when it comes to corporate social responsibility. From millennials to Gen Z, recruits view sustainability as an expression of corporate social responsibility. They’re not going to be satisfied with a token paper-and-plastic recycling bin. They want to see sustainability infused throughout the company’s operations.
Your business storage systems may not be the first things that spring to mind when you’re looking for ways to increase sustainability. Nevertheless, there are storage solutions that give your enterprise a definite sustainability advantage. These include:
- Electronic records – When you reduce the quantity of paper business records stored in file cabinets, you reduce your storage footprint. Less storage space means less overall space and lower utility consumption. Further, converted documents become digitally accessible to everyone who needs to work with them, eliminating multiple redundant copies and thereby reducing paper consumption.
- Modular casework – Unlike traditional casework, the “building block” modules of high-quality casework can be reconfigured as operational needs change.Yesterday’s credenza is today’s wall cabinet. It’s recycling at its finest.
- High density shelving – These space-saving cabinets slide along floor-mounted tracks, eliminating aisles between shelving units and reducing your storage footprint by as much as 50%. In tandem with an electronic records conversion program, your paper document storage will take up far less space than previously, and you’ll reduce your overall space utilization.
There’s a bonus to these sustainability-friendly storage solutions: lower operating costs, including real estate costs, office supplies and utility expenses, and build-out costs.
When you choose storage systems like these, you’re telling recruits that your business takes sustainability seriously. Your corporate values increase employee loyalty and retention, which in turn improve productivity and profits. Further, customers prefer to do business with socially-responsible companies.
When you can both do good and do well, it’s a win for everyone, including your HR department. Sustainability is a really good look for your brand, and your storage systems are part of the picture.
Photo © ty/AdobeStock
Every facilities management professional has a vast number of physical assets under his or her purview, from furniture and art, to tools and materials. Maintaining an inventory of all these assets is a labor-intensive, error-prone task if each individual item has to be physically located and manually counted. Bar coding has long been used as way to speed up inventories, and RFID technology is becoming ever more common as an FM asset management tool. Which technology is the right one for your facility?
John Rimer, writing in FacilitiesNet.com, outlines 7 steps to choosing the best technology for facilities management, including asset management systems. His recommendations:
- Identify the stakeholders– senior management, human resources, finance, and end users – and determine the impact the asset management technology will have on their work. Ideally, everyone will benefit from the new technology.
- Examine the workflow for your facility’s asset management, and look for problem areas. Are there duplications of effort? Inaccuracies? Incomplete communications? Safety issues? Then define your target workflow, one that asset management technology can help to achieve.
- Develop system requirements that fit the target workflow needs. If your assets are primarily large and easy to access, like furniture or file folders, a bar code system could be the solution. If your organization has many assets in warehouses, or a large quantity of small items, a combination of handheld and doorway-mounted RFID readers may be the right fit.
- Research potential providers by talking to colleagues, attending industry conferences, and talking to third-party experts. Set specifications for your ideal vendor – areas of expertise, years in business, product lines, etc. – and create a short list of vendors who fit your requirements.
- Solicit proposals from the vendors on your short list, including your goals for the technology, and a detailed scope of work. Remember: the lowest bid isn’t always the best bid, and a bargain price may be masking a lack of functionality or robustness.
- Interview top candidates and give them a “script” of several tasks which their technology should be able to solve. Then observe a demo of their solution for these tasks, looking particularly for ease of use, flexibility, and intuitiveness.
- Negotiate the contract with the successful candidate, and work with them to develop an implementation plan.
Keep in mind that the system you choose, whether it’s RFID or bar code or a combination of both, should be able to grow with your organization into the future.
Your FM operation is unique. The ideal asset management technology vendor will be willing to consult with you to determine the best system for your workflow needs and the stakeholders’ goals, prior to any sale. Choose a vendor who can customize the technology to fit your unique needs, one who will stand by you, and stand behind their products, for the long term.
Photo © Elnur/AdobeStock
In every office, things get moved around. Documents, laptops, chairs, people – the movement is often unexpected, often unrecorded, and very often inconvenient or even dangerous. Locating a missing legal document in an office, or a specific doctor in a large hospital, can mean the difference between a good outcome and a very bad one.
A compilation of studies from IndustryAnalysts.com revealed the statistics and costs associated with documents that have moved from their assigned location. Some key findings:
- Companies on average spend $120 in labor to find one misfiled document.
- 400 is the number of hours per year the average employee spends searching for documents.
- One out of every 20 documents is lost.
- Approximately 25 hours are spent recreating each lost document.
- 90% of a business’s information is in documents.
Add to this the cost of furnishings and equipment that have somehow migrated elsewhere, or key personnel who are needed at a moment’s notice. The inability to quickly locate assets translates into significant dollar sums.
RFID (radio frequency identification) offers a simple solution: a combination of RFID readers and small, inconspicuous RFID tags. RFID tags communicate with RFID readers via radio waves, as the name implies. When an RFID system’s readers are affixed in doorways or other transition points, anything with a system-specific RFID tag is recorded as it moves through the doorway.
An example: Document X is given an RFID tag programed with identifying information about the document. If Document X leaves its filing cabinet in Room A and moves to a copier in Room B, then moves to Office C for a signature, those movements are tracked by the RFID readers in the doorways of Room A, Room B, and Office C. And when someone is looking for Document X, a quick glance at the RFID log will show the document’s latest location. It’s like a trail of bread crumbs that leads directly to the missing cheese.
And RFID isn’t just for documents. Tags can be applied to furnishings, file folders, artwork, personnel ID’s, practically anything and anyone whose location is essential to know. RFID’s asset management information enhances operational productivity and security top to bottom, throughout an enterprise.
Can your business benefit from an RFID system? If you have documents, furniture, equipment, inventory, or staff, the answer is, “Yes!”
Photo © gstockstudio / AdobeStock
*“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, 1998
It’s a horrific loss to cultural heritage whenever an iconic structure and its precious contents go up in smoke, like the recent Notre Dame fire in Paris. Notre Dame isn’t just an old historic building, a symbol of the City of Light. It held a collection of some of Europe’s most important Gothic and Renaissance art works, and unlike replaceable (albeit not original) architectural features, a number of those art works are now gone forever.
The lesson reaches far beyond libraries, museums, and other cultural repositories, however. Disasters, whether fire- or weather-related, almost never allow time for the protection of essential items, whether they’re works of art or vital business documents. Notre Dame reminds us that, no matter what sort of organization you’re operating, disaster planning makes survival and recovery possible.
A key element of disaster planning for any enterprise is deciding in advance what documents and other media must be protected, and how best to protect them. Fireproof files are one way to preserve paper documents, tape, and film. These insulated cabinets protect contents from temperatures up to 1700 degrees, for up to 3 hours. If the floor burns away, fireproof files can withstand a drop of up to 30 feet without damage to the contents, and during clean-up, their locking mechanisms prevent unauthorized access.
Document conversion (digitizing) or imaging is another way to guard against the loss of important media. For paper documents in particular, conversion offers multiple benefits. These processes create digital versions of your original paper documents, suitable for cloud storage, physical drives, or both. Regulated industries are especially concerned about the loss of paper documents, putting organizations in a non-compliant situation with no way to recover missing records. With important documents safely stored on remote servers, compliance is ensured even when offices are destroyed.
Fires strike more than 3,000 U.S. offices per year, with fire and sprinkler damage amounting to $112 million annually. FEMA estimates that 40% of businesses never re-open after a disaster. With so much at stake, it’s just good business sense to plan for a worst-case scenario, then put safe, secure storage between you and disaster.
Photo © pressmaster / AdobeStock