The FM Professional

IFM and IWMS: Integrated solutions for a truly dynamic workplace

Darin Herle
February 10th, 2021

Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) and Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) software are two terms growing in recognition due to their essential role in the dynamic workplace.

As companies return to the office, dynamic, flexible, and safety-conscious workplaces are becoming the new normal. In this new, dynamic workplace, IFM and IWMS are fast becoming part of the standard workplace lexicon. 

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In this article, we explain both IFM and IWMS, and guide you through their key features and advantages. In addition, we dive into how IFM and IWMS will benefit your organization as we move forward into the workplace of the future.

What is integrated facilities management?

Integrated Facilities Management is the professional management of one or more buildings, with a focus on streamlining and efficiency by consolidating office-related services and processes. 

IFM drives efficiency and lowers costs. It consolidates workplace services and processes so they are the responsibility of a single facilities management team, streamlines internal and vendor communication, and simplifies the day-to-day operations management processes. 

planning ifm

How can businesses benefit from integrated facilities management? 

The benefits of an integrated approach to facilities management are many, with vast scope to increase productivity and efficiency, including: 

Streamlined, efficient work and task management

With IFM, you can simplify and streamline your facilities management processes by:

  • Reviewing vendor contracts, and potentially dropping multiple vendor contracts in favor of a single service agreement. 
  • Reviewing workplace responsibilities—traditionally handled by different internal teams—and placing them under a single umbrella (e.g. your facilities management team). 

An aligned facilities management team 

By bringing all facilities-related tasks under one umbrella and granting your facilities management team clear roles and responsibilities, your team can have a bigger impact

Reduced operating costs 

For many companies, this is one of the biggest drivers for implementing an IFM strategy.

With IFM, facilities budgets and spending are managed by one team (usually your facilities management team). This reduces unnecessary internal and external spending, and increases transparency. 

How can facility managers implement an IFM approach within an organization?

The move to an IFM model requires patience, planning, clear communication, and the right tools. Learn more about IFM and how your organization can benefit here

iwms software

What is workplace management software?

Workplace management software is essential for any organization looking to consolidate their facilities management processes. To create a truly dynamic, integrated workplace, you need smart and sophisticated software. 

The market is full of standalone workplace management software solutions, each built to manage a specific task, and each with their own distinct advantages and features. Some specifically track company assets, while others manage maintenance tasks. Each solution varies and includes different features.

How is integrated workplace management system (IWMS) software different?

Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) software is a step above the stand-alone solutions we discussed above. It brings together all the features of separate workplace management software, and adds a wealth of additional features under a single platform. Flexible and scalable, it provides an all-in-one solution for a truly dynamic workplace. 

More than a simple online portal for asset details and maintenance requests, IWMS is integrative and powerful. It makes managing critical tasks like space planning, move management, real estate management, work order processing, physical distance management, room bookings, desk sharing, communication and asset management easier and more streamlined.

A truly integrated system increases efficiency and security because all components are connected and designed to communicate seamlessly. 

IWMS is not just for facilities managers—employees use the software to make work actions easier, like booking desks and meeting rooms, locating and connecting with colleagues, finding resources via interactive workplace maps, and more.

You can learn more about IWMS and how it differs from non-integrated workplace management software here

iwms software

What features should you look for in an IWMS?

While IWMS solutions differ, a truly smart and flexible solution should include the following:

Interactive floor plans

Interactive floor plans are accessible by managers and employees alike. These always up-to-date floor plans make for simpler navigating around the office, reconfiguring desks and shared spaces, and adjusting the office to whatever your organization needs in the future.

Move management capabilities

Moving employees is complicated. However, an IWMS platform helps streamline common challenges that arise during a move, like seating issues, communication bottlenecks, and more. An IWMS helps facility managers visualize their space to their liking to avoid any half-baked plans. 

Distancing planner

An IWMS platform helps facilities managers implement accurate, socially distanced floor plans in minutes to ensure a safe office environment for all.

Room booking

Employees can book meeting rooms, see meeting room features and maximum capacities, and locate their booked room on the interactive floorplan. Employees can share meeting room information with other colleagues in just a few clicks, eliminating scheduling conflicts or miscommunication. 

Desk booking

If your company is taking a hot-desking or shift-working approach, desk booking capabilities make it easy for employees to find and book available desks. Facilities managers can also close desks and spaces off for cleaning and maintenance with this software.

Request management

This feature makes it easy for employees to submit workplace requests on any device, and for managers to review load forecasting and statistics. 

Real estate management

An IWMS platform enables CREs and real estate teams to efficiently manage leases, track critical dates, maximize space utilization, forecast future space requirements, and see high-level portfolio information at a glance. 

Workplace sensor technology

An IWMS can leverage sensor technology, turning any workplace into a ‘smart’ workplace. With incredible oversight over desk and room use, facilities managers can better plan and manage climate control, social distancing, contact tracing, and cleaning. 

Third party integrations

IWMS can integrate with a variety of channels including HR systems and directories, Single Sign-On, Slack, Microsoft Teams, sensor technology providers, and more.  

The OfficeSpace IWMS has all these features, enabling your company to operate as a smart, efficient, and dynamic workplace. 

iwms planning

How can an IWMS improve your workplace?

In the new, dynamic workplace, an all-in-one IWMS like OfficeSpace Software gives your company more oversight and transparency than ever before, with: 

Increased efficiency and time savings

No more juggling manual systems (Excel spreadsheets, manual log books, PowerPoint decks, and checklists). IWMS integrates everything under a single, fully-connected platform. This means your facilities management, IT and HR teams are using the same platform and viewing the same data, in real time. Employees save time, too, by booking shared desk and meeting room spaces from any device 

Reduced spending

With increased transparency and oversight, IWMS makes it easy to spot cost savings and reduce unnecessary spending. 

Advanced space optimization

Space planning and desk management tools provide a bird’s eye view of actual space usage. This powerful feature allows facilities managers to:

  • Easily identify space optimization opportunities, maximize real estate, and develop agile workplace management strategies
  • Access real-time occupancy information, and use that data to keep employees safe 
  • Access tools like forecast reports, workplace analytics, block and stack technology, shift-based seating management, and socially distanced floor plans

Increased workplace safety

A safe, socially-distanced workplace is critical, not just to meet government health regulations but to increase employee confidence. For example, FMs can create accurate, socially distanced floor plans in seconds with Distancing Planner, and screen employees for COVID-19 risk factors with Safeguard

Together, IFM and IWMS are powerful platforms, allowing any organization to be a smart workplace; one that’s truly dynamic, flexible and efficient. 

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Interested in learning more about Integrated Facilities Management and Integrated Workplace Management System software? Book a demo with the OfficeSpace team to see these solutions in action. 

Photos:  krakenimages,  Jo Szczepanska, CoWomen, John Schnobrich, Austin Distel