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We developed a methodology to start measuring workplace occupancy

Vincent le Noble, Founder and CEO Measuremen

Mr. le Noble, why you have decided to start Measuremen in 2004?

As a Facility Manager myself, working for a fast growing telco, I was in desperate need of workplace usage metrics. Responsible for hiring new office buildings, fitting them with office furniture and implementing services everyone within the company started to rely on our capacity to grow the physical environment of the company. One day a marketing manager came into my office, shouting he needed 10 desks by tomorrow and -by the way- told me the coffee coming from the machines was of poor quality. I have known this manager for some time now –we both have kids the same age, going to the same school- but I was amazed about his rage. After calming him down and explaining we didn’t have 10 desks just lying around somewhere, I learned he had messed up a project and was told by our CEO to fix the problem, even if it took 10 extra consultants to do the job. That was the turning point for me, I needed to better understand what my customers (the office workers) were doing and become more proactive in assigning space and managing utilization.
Together with my business partner (also working at the telco at that time) we developed a methodology to start measuring workplace occupancy. We used the data to manage a huge cost reduction program within the telco and ended up starting a company of our own to help improve workplaces worldwide with this tool. By now we have measured more than 405.206 workspaces.

What does your company do?

Measuremen improves workplaces worldwide by creating the insight in the actual use and performance of the workspace with occupancy and utilizations scans, sensor technology, surveys and human behaviour apps so our core clients can make better decisions.
We can start a scan or survey anywhere in the world within two weeks’ time. We make things easy and objective and provide innovation and value for money. We don’t do consultancy but we do provide decision making data.
We currently have offices within the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia but operate globally within 23 countries so far. Our Workplace Maturity Model provides four levels of workplace maturity, each level has its own set of tools and metrics varying from square metre occupancy to activity analyses, personal characteristics and social interaction.

What was the need at that time of measuring the workplace? What is the need to measure the workplace nowadays? Has it change over the years?

Our focus has changed over the last ten years from costs saving to employee satisfaction and (perceived) productivity. 80% of our 320 clients are still very much cost aware and make great use of the decision making data in order to reduce cost by implementing new ways of working like activity based working or flex working. Only a small percentage of our clients is currently working to combine the usage of the physical work environment with personal characteristics and activity analyses. We believe the need for measuring the workplace will grow even more. Trends like the quantified self, healthy workplaces and smart buildings will only drive the need not so much for measuring but for accurate data and information that really helps to make the best decisions.

How does workplace management change over all these years? Is it all connected with the Millennials, or the facility management has evolved over the years?

Generations on the work floor have most definitely influenced facility management and the way we look at the work environment. Not so much that different generations have a different approach on work, but with every new generation new technology comes along. The use of smartphones has completely changed the way we look at telecommunications at the workplace, fixed lines are no longer needed everywhere, mobile internet has become of better quality minimizing the need for UTP or even wifi and communication through smartphone apps like whatsapp, WeChat, Snap or facebook messenger has become the standard more than the exception. Other generations have been able to quickly adept to this new technology and this will have a huge effect on the workplace. It only has been ten years ago since the large scale introduction of smartphone’s, but also flat screen computer monitors haven’t been around that long. Those new flat screens halved the need of large desks seizes. Digitalization also has a huge effect on workplace management, there’s no more need for large mail rooms with email availability at everyone’s desk or laptop. No more need for printers on each desk, because we bring our meeting notes on our iPads and e-readers. Foodora, UberEat and Deliveroo courier services brings us anything we want with the touch of a button on our smartphone. Online shopping takes away the need to visit shopping malls and with free return it seems cheaper too.
It’s time for Facility Management to pick up the pace and innovate. We need to integrate our technical services much more with facility services. We need to address the human factor and bring true customer experience to our facility services. The new generations will not only demand this, they will be surprised if the offices don’t support their new technological way of live.
Data analytics will become a major part of Facility Management. We will manage our facilities through data. Knowing when a coffee machine breaks down, when HVAC malfunction, how many free parking lots we’ve got left, how many visitors we are expecting. Measuremen anticipates on these things and further develops it’s decision making portal in order to facilitate this need for data.

Do you had any projects with Bulgarian companies or in Bulgaria?

We work for a multitude of clients all over the world. Not all our clients are eager to share their data about the locations we have measured for them, these type of clients are large international banks and insurances companies. We have done sites for them all over Eastern Europe. Also we work for a lot of multinationals that are IT related. And work for Universities (not in Bulgaria yet).

What do you think will be the future of FM, from the workplace point of view?

I believe there is a bright future for FM. We could be able to combine Technology and Human Resources in the coming years and become of serious added value for any company or institute. We must realize hospitality and economics are a major part of this success and that we must compete with these disciplines in order to remain the vocal point in this support role.
From a workplace point of view I think we need to realize that the only physical thing an organization has, is it’s office building. It’s a place where people come together, collaborate and share ideas. Socializing, meeting others is such an important part of work life, as Facility Management Professionals we have the obligation to support that and become truly serviceable.