As 68 per cent of employees use cars to get to work, we need to use technology to solve the headache of managing staff parking, says Garret Flower.
01 April 2019 | Garret Flower
The good news is that office parking has become a real focus for technology disruptors. This means facilities professionals should be looking to adopt technology to improve their office buildings.
Software is the real disruptor
Over the past 12 months,
there has been rapid growth
in the application of technology to solve office parking problems. This has resulted in the emergence of a new sector - office parking management software.
The best office parking management software offers a complete solution by automating key tasks such as parking allocation, occupancy management, guest parking, access and reporting. The products are particularly useful for companies that have more staff than parking spaces.
How it works
The core feature of all office parking management software focuses on increasing capacity. Most companies with occupancy issues designate spaces for key staff, however, research shows that, on average, these spaces lie idle for 23 per cent of the year because staff are out of the office travelling, at meetings, sick or on holiday.
By identifying when designated spaces will not be used and automatically allocating them to other staff, the software solutions can unlock a significant increase in the number of staff who access parking at work.
Benefits of office parking management software include reducing administration costs associated with parking, greater transparency on parking spend and an increase in employee satisfaction.
Many firms actually report a saving on parking within their first 12 months as they realise they've been leasing more parking spaces than needed.
By ensuring that more staff can access parking at work, companies are also reducing their employees' carbon footprints.
According to Donald Shoup, the world's leading parking academic, the average employee will drive 800 metres farther than needed every day, looking for somewhere to park. Over the course of a year, you would need to plant 20 trees for each staff member to offset the carbon emissions this is causing.
Property leaders are starting to realise the potential of this new segment. Over the past six months, global property and facility giants such as Befimmo, MVGM and Colliers International have all started to roll out office parking management software solutions across their portfolios.
Hardware is getting cheaper
Parking innovation has traditionally focused on expensive hardware solutions. This is changing. As the cost of developing new technology decreases it is now becoming a lot cheaper to upgrade and supplement your parking hardware to optimise your workplace parking.
The bulk of most companies' parking investment has traditionally gone into access control. Most buildings have a barrier or gate with a matching fob or access card system so that only those who are meant to park have access.
Traditional pain points
The pain point with these systems was the frequency with which fobs and access cards are lost. Sourcing replacements is time-consuming, expensive and you always run the risk of access falling into the wrong hands.
Access control systems have now become much smarter. Most barriers installed over the past few years can easily be integrated with a host of exciting software products allowing for remote access, vehicle recognition access and phone-triggered access.
It's now easier than ever to guarantee a smooth flow of authorised traffic in and out of your site than ever before.
The way people park for work hasn't really changed for a generation, but this is going to change rapidly over the next decade.
The capabilities of technology mean there are now the hardware and software options to streamline this troublesome process for businesses. Office parking is rapidly transitioning from a hardware-centric market to a software-driven industry.
If parking is a problem for your company, it's time to embrace the world of smart parking and let technology solve the problem for you.
Garret Flower is co-founder and CEO of Parkpnp