You can compare the function of accommodation with a pace-maker to assist the heartbeat of the organization to pulse. It is not the real thing but it helps to keep it alive and brings it back in its normal rhythm.
In modern management literature you see a combination of hard and soft performance aspects. The hard side (quantitative data) is mainly expressed in the focus on effectiveness, efficiency, and manageability & control, while the soft side (qualitative appreciative inquiry data) emphasizes attention to the motivation and synergy of people.
It is important that both are brought into balance. The balance differs per organization and also changes as you go through the organizational lifecycle. Monitoring performance that is based not exclusively on quantitative measurement, but embracing also the qualitative.
Nowadays there seems to be a tendency to over-control live through monitoring of every kind. But take into consideration Albert Einstein’s words:
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
Management often has a feeling that they have no control over the accommodation. Where does this feeling come from? Is there too little measurement or are the wrong things being measured?
Does gaining control mean more measuring or is it mainly about identifying the relevant accommodation matters that add value to the organizational goals? What should it contribute to? What do we want to achieve? How can we achieve that? How can we manage risks? How is it perceived by the users?
A quality assurance system is not only necessary for the primary educational process, but also for the secondary operational processes. A cyclical quality assurance system according to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) system helps to gear the performance of the learn/work environment to the organizational strategy, to continuously monitor, secure and improve within the given policy frameworks.
PDCA is interwoven in the accommodation process in several places, scaled differently. In this way, insight into and control over the learn/work environment is created and the associated costs, risks and performance can be proactively managed in a professional manner.
The central question for a quality assurance system: “Is the accommodation adequate and in control?” This question can be divided into five cyclical sub-questions:
- What is the strategy of the organization and the vision of the required and desired performance of the accommodation?
- How does the organization want to realize this strategy?
- How does the organization measure the extent to which this strategy is being realized?
- How is the organization working on improvement?
- Who is responsible for what and has what powers?
The Real Estate Six-Pack model works on the basis of measurable objectives. And adjust accordingly when progress is measurably lagging behind. Looked at it this way, it is immediately clear that it is something of the entire organization. It is a choice in a way of working, for everyone and by everyone! ICT and data support the way of working, after all it is impossible without data and technology. But it is not possible without employees who can use and interpret data.
The following dimensions are considered to determine whether the learn/work environment is adequate.
- LOCATION – Is it in the right place, geographically in the country, city, campus, building?
- FLOOR AREA – Is it of sufficient size to accommodate the dynamic space requirement?
- PERFORMANCE – Is it sufficiently functional for education and research?
- PERFORMANCE – Is it sufficiently technically safe, healthy and sustainable?
- PERFORMANCE – Is it of a sufficiently aesthetic appearance, visible, recognizable and do the users experience it as pleasant and inspiring?
- HOSPITALITY – Is there a sufficient degree of hospitality?
- MONEY/TIME – Is the price/performance ratio market conform/customary acceptable and can we afford it?
- ORGANIZATON – Is the learn/work environment manageable and does the RE/FM Department have the correct organizational form, competences and capacity for this?
- ORGANIZATION – Which (minimal) behavioral and usage agreements are necessary for an integrated social learn/work environment?
An accommodation GPS system facilitates periodic navigation on the ‘Strategic Accommodation Roadmap’. It is a methodical way to map out future frictions in the quantitative and qualitative accommodation situation based on organizational policy. This involves looking at the current accommodation (now) and the desired need of accommodation if policy remains unchanged (future). A confrontation between these parameters provides insight into possible (strategic) frictions and gives direction to the necessary interventions to prevent or reduce the frictions. In this way, accommodation remains attuned to the organizational strategy and current spearheads.
Turning conversations based on opinions and beliefs into one based on facts; highlighting where things may be falling short; and ultimately encouraging interventions and behaviours that drive long-lasting change and improvement.
As an organization, dare to think big, but start small. Without experimentation, innovation is impossible. Experiment and gradually find out which form and speed of implementation best suits the organization.