FMTech Insights is a series where subject matter experts and thought leaders in FMTech share their knowledge and opinions on the topic of their expertise; helping the industry learn, innovate and grow. The series will cover every sector in FM – from workplace management, operations and maintenance, energy management, waste management and everything in between.
Paweł Postupalski is the Co-founder of Parkey, an intuitive SaaS platform for facility managers and employees that creates interactive parking map, basic configuration and provides access to back-office panel resulting in 30% better utilization of parking lots. Pawel, an IT expert, is also in charge of Parkey's product development.
Better parking management saves up to €350,000 per year for a single office building
Hybrid working offers many advantages, but also the need to harness corporate resources, which need to be more flexible. To put it bluntly, corporate resources management cannot keep up with the scale of hybrid working - and this generates losses. Case studies of corporate car parks show that currently they are used at the level of around 40%. And the losses to the tenants of a single office building due to this can be as high as 350,000€ per year.
Pandemic has permanently changed the reality of most companies. Hybrid working positions rose by 31% in Q2 2022 over Q1 2022 according to Global Data. Most companies are no longer returning to a traditional office presence and are maneuvering to accommodate their very fluid workforce. And this sets a new challenge for facility or office managers - how to manage resources, space and equipment so that they are optimally used and do not generate losses.
"A company renting an office usually has far fewer parking spaces than employees commuting by car. Only selected employees are allocated parking spaces and the rest have to look for a space elsewhere (and often pay for it). In turn, employees with allocated spaces often work remotely, travel, have holidays or are on sick leave. As a result, every day up to 60% of expensive-to-maintain parking spaces are not used at all, creating a severe financial loss" says Paweł Postupalski, co-founder of Parkey, a parking management platform.
The challenge: making better use of corporate car parks
Looking at the scale of this problem from a city perspective, it is easy to understand how urgently it needs to be addressed. For example, Warsaw has 5.3 million m2 of office space, which roughly translates into 106 thousand parking spaces. This means that there are up to 40,000 unused parking spaces in the city every day. The monthly cost of a parking space in the capital is, on average, around EUR 150.
What does it look like from a company perspective? ?Simply by implementing parking management systems, with 50 parking spaces, you can save around €2,000 every month. Basically from day one.
"In order to talk about a real smart city, it is worth focusing not only on implementing completely new means of transport and technologies of the future, but also on responding to the problems of the present. Before we switch to new models of getting around the city, it is worth becoming aware of how much can be changed, improved, and saved within the framework of the current ones. The problem of unused parking spaces also radiates into other areas of urban life. One could cite, for example, unused lawns or pavements cluttered with cars for which there is de facto space in an office car park" - says Bartosz Dobrowolski of the Proptech Foundation.
Another issue, and the only good that cannot be recovered, is time. The time it takes to find a parking space in the centre of Warsaw is, conservatively speaking, about 10 minutes, and to get to the office is another 5 minutes. Based on this assumption, if about 100 company employees waste time in this way, they collectively and irretrievably waste 25 hours every day.
Zero waste parking
Theoretically, most companies are aware of the problem, but few choose to address it. And there are more and more systems, platforms and applications on the market to help with this.
"In some simplification and boiling down the operation to the key functionality: the system creates an interactive parking map and its basic configuration and provides access for the e.g. office manager. Employees then register in the application. Those with assigned space release it for specific days when they are not coming to the office, and employees without an assigned space can ad-hoc book any space available that day. In this way, they have the security of being able to park quickly and efficiently in a specific spot - adds Maciej Węgrzynek " co-founder of Parkey.
A parallel aspect here is the HR area. Making parking easier, removing the burden of finding a free space in the city centre from employees, can add value to their benefits and make them more willing to come to the office.
This is important in an era when hybrid working has become firmly established, and even more so for employees with disabilities, for whom walking a few hundred metres to the office is often an insurmountable obstacle.
Support for the disabled
Thanks to EU support, Parkey is developing a system of easy parking devices for people with disabilities to be installed in underground car parks or office buildings. People with disabilities face many challenges when commuting - these are due to the nuances of how cities or office buildings are constructed, which only become apparent when you have certain limitations.
"I have a suitably adapted car and, despite being paralysed from the waist down, it is the best mode of transport for me. The obstacles very often start at the hand stretch to the finish line. I never know whether the disabled spots will be free, whether I can count on help if I have luggage or whether the entrance gates will be such that I will have a chance to reach the ticket scanner. Business trips are almost always roulette in this respect, which is why I often have to give myself an hour's notice" says Szymon Klimza, a disabled athlete.
The issue of parking is often overlooked when thinking about smart city or smart building solutions. There are still relatively few companies implementing similar systems, giving employees who commute by car a valuable benefit. Meanwhile, this will be an increasingly pressing need in the future - according to researches, as many as 86% of employees working remotely or hybrid also want to stay in these models in the future. And assigned parking spaces, if left unused, will continue to generate financial losses for companies.
Disclaimer: the opinion of the author does not necessarily reflect that of the Global Alliance of Facility Management Innovators.