Capacity Management Strategies for the Office
Due to the global health pandemic, more and more tenant companies are seeking solutions to head back into the office safely. Because of this, property owners and teams have now become both morally and legally responsible for adapting building regulations in a way that ensures tenant safety. Much of public anxiety stems from area density and congestion, causing the need to reevaluate physical closeness in the workplace. With this in mind, the importance of capacity management – or safely being able to monitor and manage the number of people allowed in a building at a given time – has made its way to the forefront of modern commercial real estate trends.
Though the types of capacity planning and the factors affecting capacity planning may vary per portfolio, the overarching needs are the same: How can leaders help return their tenants to the office in a way that’s both safe and easily managed, all while taking a critical first step towards improving building occupancy? As we dive into the capacity planning process, we can start to envision what capacity management in the front office might look like for you and your tenants.
Considerations for Your Capacity Planning Strategies
With a COVID-19 vaccine starting to make its way across the U.S. and the world, tenants are now returning to the office in phases. Thus, commercial office owners have a responsibility to provide real-time updates on what’s been done at the building, what is currently being done, and what will change.
Landlords must establish a back-to-workplace plan and technology stack that will help ease any uncertainty and safely welcome employees back to their offices. Any effective return to work strategy will restore faith and optimism in the safety of the workplace and give office owners the opportunity to re-establish the value of their office – a critical step towards stabilizing assets and ensuring the future financial performance of modern commercial office portfolios.
Since capacity management is such an irrefutable part of returning to the workplace, we need to look closer at any potential capacity management strategies to make sure you’re following the right “capacity planning template.” At the very least, your capacity planning formula must consider tenant safety above all else.
“As companies look to return to work, employee safety is the most important concern,” said Kevin McGowan, Vice President of Product at HqO. “[The right tools] allow companies to execute on their return-to-work plans in a controlled and safe manner. They empower companies and employees to effectively balance safety and work requirements, according to each individual’s comfort level.”
Ultimately, there are three considerations of the return to work — driven by tenant company sentiment — that will make up any return to office plan, thus contributing directly to capacity planning strategies for any asset. The high-level themes of safety, communication, and engagement break down as follows:
- The number one concern for financial decision-makers is a new wave of infections. Because of this, commercial real estate leaders need to put safety first by deploying an adaptable strategy to facilitate a safe and flexible return to work.
- 81% of CFOs plan to change workplace safety requirements this upcoming year. This means that in order to generate tenant buy-in, property teams need to help tenants see that their office buildings are safe.
- 82% of CFOs are considering deferring or canceling investments into facilities this year, which prompts the need to re-establish office value. By recreating community and collaboration with modern technology, office owners can leverage the data they receive to make more informed, actionable decisions for their assets.
The average capacity strategy must consider these objectives in order to establish value for physical buildings and keep individuals safe. By introducing more tech-enabled experiences into your office space to help achieve these goals, you can set the right capacity planning example for your building occupants and peers.
Finding the Right Capacity Planning Tools
HqO has worked closely with clients to develop the best capacity planning tools for any average capacity management example. Most notably, we’ve extended the capabilities of our end-to-end operating system to help commercial real estate owners facilitate a safe return to work amidst the global pandemic through two new features within the Tenant Experience Platform.
All HqO clients now have access to Capacity Manager, a management system for office capacity that ensures a safe work environment for tenants and their employees as they enter the “new normal.” They also have access to the Building Population Report, which centralizes key tenant and operational data into one place so owners and property teams can operate their buildings effectively, reduce churn, and maintain a profitable portfolio. Both features, which provide important data on tenant and employee engagement, can also assist with contact-tracing needs among growing COVID-19 concerns.
These enhancements are designed to easily manage and understand the employees that come to the office on a given day, at a time where office owners are challenged with complying with stringent and evolving health procedures. Capacity Manager gives employees the ability to request time in the office, while giving management the ability to screen these requests. As users request access to their buildings, they are prompted to provide additional information on their department, the reason for the request, and the priority of the request to ensure each tenant company is maximizing the value of their limited capacity while ensuring contact tracing.
The Building Population Report takes this a step further by analyzing tenant behavioral data to give owners actionable insights on how to operate their properties. The report places key tenant data points such as suite, occupied sq. ft., and sector alongside tenant engagement and activation data to create a holistic picture of how tenants use their buildings. It also helps owners and property teams optimize how they spend their time, improve tenant retention, and create a stronger connection with tenants and their employees.
Other key capabilities of Capacity Manager include an alert system that will notify tenants if an in-office employee tests positive for COVID-19, alongside an outline of building safety terms and conditions to educate tenants on potential symptoms. Coupled with the Building Population Report’s ability to give property owners a better understanding of their tenants through “connection scores” that grow the more tenants interact with their building, both features ensure an informed and safe work environment for returning employees.
Together — alongside HqOS’ abilities to deliver direct communication to tenants, collaborate with best-in-class technology partners to deliver touchless and sanitary building experiences, and collect other important building data — these features combine the best cloud capacity management tools with your resource capacity planning needs, allowing tenants and property teams to take advantage of their features no matter where they are located.
Developing Capacity Strategies for Wherever Tenants Work
The ability to empower tenants to make informed decisions about coming into the office from home, and thus leaving property teams assured that they can avoid any capacity planning example problems that may arise, will prove to be a major differentiator for commercial real estate properties moving forward.
When figuring out how to do capacity planning, it’s also important to plan for the future. Though capacity planning in work-from-home strategies seems to be only a short-term need, these technologies have the ability to evolve and adapt to your portfolio’s long-term needs as well. For example, imagine being able to manage capacity for much more than just heading into the office — such tools have already been leveraged to monitor and manage everything from event capacity to conference room and service bookings needs.
No matter how you plan on developing capacity strategies for your buildings, one thing is certain: commercial office owners need a partner that can move quickly without sacrificing quality. Throughout 2020, HqO is proud to have digitally launched our platform and its new return to workplace tools to tenants, asset managers, and property teams at over 100 assets.
To learn more about how to refine your capacity management strategies and how to tackle other modern obstacles in the commercial real estate landscape, download a free demo today.
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