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RBI announces release of its Space Planning Benchmark Report

Jul 06, 2020

IFMA’s FM Research and Benchmarking Institute (RBI) announces the publication of its Space Planning Benchmark Report, which will assist facility management professionals and built environment consultants in assessing their workspace management practices against a variety of facility and operational demographic profiles, including industry sector served, use, age, setting, ownership and site population.

RBI Space Planning Benchmark ReportGenerously underwritten by HKS, the report includes an appendix on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected facility managers, providing useful perspectives on FM’s pandemic response, facility shutdown practices, project execution impacts, and facility reopening plans.

As RBI was preparing to release the report in March 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The research team quickly distributed the COVID-19 Facility Management Impact Survey, collecting data between April 21 and May 7, with more than 1,000 facility professionals participating.

“HKS is proud to have sponsored this outstanding Space Planning Benchmark Report,” said Kate Davis, director of commercial interiors at HKS. “COVID-19 has changed everything. In these challenging times, it is important that the industry have consistent, reliable data. We at HKS use that information, along with our own knowledge, to help guide our clients' workspace management practices.”

The report also includes a section on Flexible Workspace Strategies, representing one of the first and most comprehensive research-based analyses of the subject. Action insights on flexible workspace implementation by industry sector and facility use, flex space allocations per person, and common challenges experienced when managing a flexible workspace environment are provided.

Many of the findings are categorized by industry sectors. The 2020 data set closely matches IFMA’s overall membership, with 50 percent of the responses originating from service industries (banking, insurance, health care, information, and professional services); 37 percent from the institutional sector (city/county government, education, and religious institutions); and 13 percent from manufacturing (computer, electronics, energy, and pharmaceutical companies).

Users will benefit from two case studies covering the adaptive re-use of two downtown buildings in Ohio to create ProMedica Headquarters, and the design of the HKS Chicago corporate office to promote well-being, environmental stewardship, and creative discovery 

“The insights provided in this report reflect the evolving industry over the last decade,” said RBI Director of Research and Operations Nickalos A. Rocha, MPA. “Significantly, it reveals that the agile workplace of the future is only now beginning to be developed in select industries.”

Key findings in relation to the agile workplace include:

  • The past decade has seen a significant increase in the use of open seating.
  • Compared to the 2010 space planning report, space assigned for conference and training rooms has increased — a possible indication of enhanced collaborative efforts by organizations.
  • Flexible workspaces (FW) have been around for more than 30 years, but most facilities started adopting flexible workspace strategies during the last decade, with more than 60 percent of flexible workspaces implemented in the last five years.
  • Top three business reasons for adopting FW: Space optimization, accommodating future growth and cost savings.
  • Top three reasons why FW was not implemented: Unaligned organizational culture/industry, lack of executive support and employee productivity concerns.

“This is one of the few space planning benchmark reports completed pre-COVID-19,” Rocha continued. “A future update to this report will show changes due to COVID-19. While the industries continue to evolve post-COVID-19, we expect increased workplace changes to impact these industries.”

RBI’s benchmarking process is grounded in traditional benchmarking techniques for identifying the best possible key performance indicators. Uniting IFMA subject matter experts, contractors, collaborators, and RBI staff, the benchmarking studies cover a variety of areas, with a primary focus on operations and maintenance, providing invaluable data FMs can use to evaluate their projects or compare them with similar efforts. Learn more at https://research.ifma.org. 

About HKS

HKS is a global firm of architects, designers, advisors, and makers driven by curiosity and devoted to creating places that combine beauty with performance. Our 1,350 people in 23 locations are united by our shared culture and sense of purpose. We value honesty, diversity, and inclusion and we celebrate creative thinking across our firm. In partnership with each other, our clients, and our partners, we craft powerful ideas and solutions. Together we create places that stand apart. Visit https://www.hksinc.com

Report prepared by Simplar

Simplar is a collaborative team of faculty and researchers from universities across the United States who specialize in facility organizational assessment, performance measurement and analytics, process improvement and advanced procurement delivery systems. Lead researchers: Jake Smithwick, Ph.D., FMP, SFP and Dipin Kasana, MSCFM. Learn more at www.simplar.com.