5 Ways to Brand Your Workspace

Interior Branding is important, recent studies have shown that more business owners have begun to elevate their brand, by making the link between brand identity and their physical space. Whether a business operates from a single site or multiple locations across the country, when it comes to interior branding consistency is key.

 Here are 5 easy ways to brand your space:

  • Signage - the entryway configuration is the first interaction any visitor faces when entering the office. Signage would include company name, colors and logo.

  • Storage - common areas in the office should send a message about the organization as a whole.

  • Color - One of the easiest way to brand a space. Colors do not have to be limited to the walls or the floor, color can be integrated to panels on furniture or upholstery in collaborative areas.

  • Layout - depending on the type of organization, whether there is more open area than offices, the layout will impact how the space is configured; like having more collaborative space.

  • Furniture - ensure that you have the right furniture - furniture is all about functionality, which lays a great foundation for branding. Think about using colors and choices that can be modified with your ever-changing business.

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ADA Compliant Parking Lot

Parking facilities need to be ADA compliant.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides specific guidelines and rules regarding accessible parking in any facility.  When you are not in compliance with accessibility rules, it can lead to hefty fines and lawsuits.  Do you know if your parking facility is in compliance?

The first thing you must do to be ADA compliant is to provide an adequate number of accessible parking spaces.  This is dependent upon the size of your lot.  For example, if you have 1-25 spaces in your facility, you must have one accessible parking lot. 

 Guidelines vary slightly for medical facilities and in some places, accessible parking spaces are required to meet specific parameters--the width must be 8 ft for a car and 11 feet for a van and the access aisle must be 5 feet wide and be as long as the parking space.

When it comes to signage, handicap parking signs must contain the International Symbol of Accessibility and be located in front of the parking space.  They must be installed 5 feet about the ground so they have high visibility.  If the facility contains fewer than 4 spaces are not required to have signage for accessible spaces.

Pavement Markings--while accessible parking spaces are not required to be painted with blue lines or have the International Symbol for Accessibility marked on the pavement, this is a common practice and it should be highly considered.

WePark

San Francisco has the highest proportion of coworking spaces relative to its population, according to a recent article published in Fast Company.  Coworking spaces have become a popular option for freelancers, remote employees, and entrepreneurs.  But in many major cities, coworking spaces bring with them extremely high costs.

 On April 29, San Francisco based coder Victor Pontis, a San-Francisco based coder, decided to prove a point while launching the initiative called WePark.  The point is that space dedicated to on-street parking in major cities could be put to more human-centric use.  This is not the first time that someone has thought of using parking spaces for co-working. In fact, every September, activists all over the world participate in PARK(ing) Day--which encourages people to put parking spaces to use (other than for parking.)

 While WePark is a pop-up style event, its creator, Pontis believes that it is a movement that is taking on speed and isn’t going to go away. He believes that one of the best ways for it to work is in collaboration with established brick and mortar businesses, which will give the co-working parking space users access to Wi-Fi, restrooms and water, and electricity in case charging of laptops and other devices is necessary. While this is just the beginning of a movement, there are plans for organizing it in a more sophisticated way. 

 You can read more about WePark here

Adequate Lighting in Parking Facilities

Most experts agree that lighting is the most important safety feature in a garage/lot to minimize the risk of theft, accidents and violent crimes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 in 10 property crimes—including motor vehicle theft and property theft—occur in parking lots or garages.

 One of the most effective ways to deter crime in parking lots/garages is by making sure that the lighting in the facility is adequate.  According to a DOJ report, “one the few facility features that has been documented to reduce crimes in parking facilities.” Lighting design plays a very important role in creating a secure parking lot/garage.

First, consider the design features that actually invite crime into a parking lot/garage:

●     Vague and Unclear Signage. Because large parking facilities can often become confusing and difficult to navigate, poor signage can distract people from what’s happening around them as they try to search for their cars--making them susceptible to crime.

●     Failure to Control Access. When parking lots are unsecure, they provide criminals with easy access. Entrances and exits should monitor access and control traffic flow.

●     Poor Lighting. When a facility is well-lit, it eliminates the potential for hiding spaces and helps to increase awareness of parker’s surroundings.

●     Lack of Surveillance. By making sure a facility is properly monitored with security guards and camera systems, it can be a major component to deter crime. 

●     Lack of Maintenance. When criminals see that a facility is rundown, it alerts them that security is not tight and actually invites criminals into the facility.

 

If you think that you might need to make improvements in your lighting, here are a few things to consider:

●     If your parking facility is over ten years old, updating your lighting to more modern fixtures will provide ongoing savings with reduced energy costs.

●      Lighting plays a critical role in how well camera systems work in an outdoor environment. In order to get the most out of your CCTV security system, having uniform lighting is important..

●      Be informed about the ordinances that your city or town has enacted regarding “light pollution.”  Ordinances set limits on the amount and type of lighting that you can use in your facility.

●      Lighting requires regular maintenance.  If the lighting in your facility is older or dirty, you will get less output.  It is important to have lighting cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.

Emergency Action Plan

Any type of emergency can take seconds to escalate.  Being prepared in the event of an emergency is critical for protecting your employees and your business. Your facility needs to have a comprehensive emergency action plan in place.  It has been proven that workplace emergency plans can maximize response times and minimize the impacts to employees and your facility in the event of an emergency. 

Once you have created your emergency action plan, there are four other ways to ensure that your facility and your employees are prepared for an emergency.  By considering these items, you can protect your business.

1.    Mitigate facility/site conditions: Often, there are conditions that exist in your site or facility that could impact safety or a successful response.  Your facility operations manager should conduct regular site inspections to eliminate any posed risks that exist which could cause harm to employees, the environment or infrastructure. 

2.    Conduct regular risk assessments: Once potential threats are determined; actions can be taken to minimize their impact or possibly eliminate the risk of an emergency. 

3.    Emergency Response Training: Regular emergency response training is crucial so that all employees and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency. Training should include reviewing the response plan and making sure that all employees are familiar with it, identifying the roles and responsibilities of individuals, refresher courses (if necessary), and plan review training when updates or revisions have been made to the emergency action plan.

4.    Response Drills and Exercises: Drills should be conducted not only to prepare the staff but to test the response plan and its effectiveness and any potential problems.  Employees will also understand the expectations and the procedure more effectively through regular drills.

To help your company get an effective emergency action plan in place, give HF Planners a call.  We provide Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. HF Planners, LLC has a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

How to create an evacuation procedure

Every workplace or facility needs to have an emergency action plan in place which will ensure employee safety in the event of a fire or other emergency. According to OSHA, not all employers are required to establish an emergency evacuation plan/evacuation procedure, but it is a fairly easy task to accomplish and will protect your employees and your business if an emergency situation should arise.  As you work to create your plan, keep these things in mind:

  1. Include your management team and employees in the establishment of the plan.  The goal is to protect lives and property in an emergency event, so it is beneficial to include management and staff in the process because their commitment and support to the plan is a critical component to its successful implementation.

  2. Include a wide variety of potential emergencies. As you consider your plan, it should be specific to the types of potential emergencies that could occur in your facility.  A hazard assessment should also be conducted to determine the types of physical/chemical hazards that exist and could cause an emergency situation. If there are multiple buildings in your facility, each one should have a plan tailored to their needs.

  3. Your plan, at a minimum, should include: an evacuation policy/procedure and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, workplace maps and safe or refuge areas).

  4. An organized plan is critical. Disorganization during an evacuation could lead to panic, property damage, injuries or even death. When developing your plan, it should include the following:

○     Conditions that would require an evacuation

○     A clear and direct chain of command--who are the people authorized in your company to order an evacuation or shutdown. 

○     Specific procedures for evacuation.  Employees should know exactly what to do, the route they will take and how to safely exit the building.  These procedures need to be posted where all employees can see them.

○     A system for accounting for personnel after an emergency

○     Procedures in place to assist employees with disabilities

5.  Have more than one evacuation route.  All plans should include primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits.  Exits should be clearly marked, well lit, wide enough to cover a large number of personnel

 To ensure the safety of your employees and your business, creating a thorough and organized emergency action plan/evacuation procedure is critical.  At HF planners, we care about your safety and can help you put an emergency action plan in place, give us a call today!

New Standard to Help Facility Managers Prepare

Facility managers are tasked with the responsibility of preparing employees and occupants of their facilities for the unexpected. Keeping your employees safe during a crisis starts well before the situation starts.  Planning, communication and organization will be the reason that resources and lives are saved. 

The new standard includes requirements for high-risk facilities. For facility managers, the efforts required to adhere to the standard should be minimal if the facility has a comprehensive and up-to-date all-hazards risk assessment, emergency response plan, or business continuity plan. 

For more information on the new standard :

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Designing for the Modern Office

Studies are finding that the open office environment is not a fit for all, in fact: Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report indicates that 71% of workers have access to privacy when needed. Even more telling, 42% say they would leave their current jobs for more privacy.


As an interior design firm, we are able to come into a space to evaluate the need for private and open areas, however, what most designers may not know is that privacy not only benefits employees but is also a boon to employers. The context of the modern open office privacy guarantees productivity. The simple truth is that flexible workspaces have a direct impact on the bottom line.

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It's All About the End-User


"Evidence-based design has its roots in healthcare design but is now becoming more common in workplace design."

HF Planners can assist in the process of educating end-users in the ever-changing office environment.

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Seven Deadly Sins for Facility Managers

Day-to-day activities for FM’s are always challenging, here are “Seven Deadly Sins for Facility Managers”

Here are seven pitfalls facilities managers can fall into while performing their day-to-day responsibilities:

1. Not ensuring compliance
2. Not documenting meetings
3. Doing the work, yourself
4. Ignoring repeated complaints
5. Remaining unaware of the market and not performing strategic analysis
6. Lack of an organization system
7. Not recognizing your staff’s work

To ensure expectations are met, an adequate team should be comprised – there should be constant training, teaching, developing, and working towards constant improvement of the overall facility.

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Managing Expectations

Managing or Focusing expectations can promote a well-conceived and properly managed plan that is strongly aligned with the mission of your organization.

To properly manage expectations – the challenge is to do better with less. Understanding the goal and mission, purpose, environment, and resources is an integral piece of the puzzle and will help define the best decision. 


Leadership is still required, the engagement of all is still extremely important – HF Planners, LLC can assist in this process by engaging all of the users, compiling the data to ultimately manage the organizations' expectations. 

Click here to learn how Facility Managers in educational spaces manage expectations:

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Relocation and Move Management

In the past 10 to 15 years Move Management has become an integral part of the Relocation Process - moving today requires more than just furniture.

Move management projects require expertise in planning, business operations and management, and contingency planning.

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7 Benefits of Activity Based Workplaces

Activity-Based Workplaces are focused on employees, not the office space.  By focusing on employees, we find that there are many benefits:

1. Increased Productivity

 2. More Flexibility Throughout The Day

3. Eliminating Barriers By Sharing The Space

4. Promoting More Movement & Improving Overall Health

5. Saving Costs

6. Creating Environmentally Sustainable Workplaces

7. Increased Job Satisfaction

Activity-based working provides freedom of choice in how, when, and where people work, thus helping them to be more effective and engaged. Activity-based working recognizes that people are different in performing activities and need a variety of work settings, technology, and a collaborative culture to perform effectively and efficiently.

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Asset Management, the Importance, and How it Can Save Time in the Long-Run

Asset Management, the Importance, and How it Can Save Time in the Long-Run

Asset management is simply the tracking of company-owned property (assets). The goal is to know where these items are located, how they are used, and when changes are made to them.

The reasons for wanting to track assets are numerous but these are a few that stand out:
1. Increase Workplace Efficiency
2. Reduce Time Spent locating assets
3. Reduce Money Wasted replacing misplaced or misused assets

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Boosting the Bottom Line Through Asset Tracking

Asset tracking is a fundamental necessity for companies of all sizes, especially when it comes to workplace furniture and IT equipment.

An actively managed and accurate inventory is essential because as the saying goes, “you can’t measure what you can’t see.”

Once the inventory foundation is set, you can:

 

• understand asset utilization

• understand product lifecycles

• create a proper maintenance schedule to maximize asset lifespan

• prevent theft and enhance security

• perform proper accounting and confirm amortization rates (your finance team will thank you!)

To learn more about the do’s and don’ts of asset management – contact us.

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