Integrated facilities management and COVID-19

Darin Herle
November 12th, 2020

Integrated facilities management is a method of consolidating many (or all) of your office-related services and processes. It can save your organization time and money by streamlining logistics and communication.

More than ever now, we need the ability to safely manage employees to prevent COVID exposure in the workplace. IWMS technology can help schedule cleanings, book desks and meeting rooms to ensure safe distancing, schedule shifts, and more. While an IFM is a smart choice for any organization, COVID brings certain facility management issues to the forefront. 

There are a variety of facility management software options. Understanding the options, and picking the best option for your facility, is crucial for maximizing efficiency and optimizing workflow in your facility. 

If you haven’t already taken the plunge into IFM, COVID-19 is a great time to start. Tracking and tracing desks, spaces, and employees has never been easier with new IFM tools.


Different software solutions 

There are many software solutions that can help streamline facilities management. In this article, we’ll touch on four: 

  • Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)
  • Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)
  • Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)

Would you like to know which solution we recommend? Read on to find out.

researching ifm

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) 

Computer-aided facility management provides administrative tools to facility managers. Essentially, it coordinates employees, facilities, physical workspaces, with the operations of the organization. 

While once considered cutting-edge, CAFM tools are generally considered outdated by today’s standards. They usually need to be combined with a CMMS or EAM to cover all IFM tasks.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) 

Also called computerized maintenance management information systems (CMMIS), computerized maintenance management systems keep track of maintenance tasks and data. A CMMS is mainly beneficial for organizations with heavy equipment usage and building owners. A CMMS is often used alongside a CAFM, because both products lack the means of managing an entire facility.

facilities planning

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) 

Enterprise Asset Management systems track and manage a variety of company assets. EAM refers to the process of managing the lifecycle of physical assets and equipment, such as mechanical equipment, computers, and furniture. An EAM can be particularly useful during a move to keep track of assets between offices. A CMMS can be one aspect of EAM, because it focuses on centralizing information that can be used for facilitating and automating maintenance management processes.


Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)

An IWMS is a combination of all of the above—a flexible solution that can be scaled and modularized in order to integrate with the specific needs of your organization. Every aspect of your organization can be tracked and managed: assets, floor plans, moves, real estate, infrastructure, desk sharing, room booking, workplace sensor technology, and more.

Why juggle multiple systems that can’t communicate with each other? With an IWMS, you can view and track efficiency and inefficiency, even across departments. By consolidating multiple systems, you can save time and money while increasing productivity. 

Create reports based on information from multiple departments, and share the information as needed. Here’s how an IWMS improves upon the tools mentioned above:

  • CAFM software is predominantly administrative, while IWMS software can oversee, manage, and streamline the long list of other facility management tasks
  • CMMS is focused on facilities management tasks, while an IWMS expands the capabilities of the CMMS into a much broader, flexible, suite of tools 

facilities managers in masks

What does COVID-19 mean for IFM? 

In the wake of COVID-19, it is now essential for staff to be able to book a desk from home, before they even arrive at the office. A feature like Visual Directory provides employees with the information they need to see the office at a glance and find out which desks are available. The ability to leverage real-time data that provides accurate occupancy information is essential to not only keeping employees informed, but also in keeping them safe.

Proper employee and visitor screening during COVID-19 is crucial for safe office operation. Safeguard is an incredibly important new feature that can incorporate health screening forms into OfficeSpace IWMS. Combine Safeguard with existing features to enhance your COVID preparedness. For example, you could use Safeguard to prevent employees from checking into their desk bookings until they pass their Safeguard check. 

Even with the ability to safely book desks and workspaces, how can you ensure that employees are adhering to social distancing requirements? That’s easy with Distancing Planner. Track seating capacity in real-time and use AI to develop a seating plan that optimizes for capacity while maintaining appropriate distancing. Or how about combining Visual Directory with desk sensors and remote booking to organize shifts for unique groups of employees

If you do choose to implement an IFM, remember that there’s no one way to approach it. What works for your company might not work for another company and vice versa. 

Take time, plan out what you need, and research, research, research

Are you already using an IFM, or planning to make the leap soon?  Leave a comment below or send us a tweet.


Photos: Scott Graham, JESHOOTS.COM, Christina, Raychel Espiritu