In this blog I want to take you into the world of benchmarking. A world that we luckily see more and more often lately in Facilities Management. We definitely think that benchmarking can help you to understand opportunities for the future. I will not be going over all the benefits of benchmarking in this blog, because I hope that you already see the added value. That's why in this blog I'll be focusing on 5 ways to benchmark your department.


Cost per workplace

Okay, let's start with the first one: costs per workplace, based on the international European standard EN-15221-4. The standard consists of 4 categories, which together can measure the total costs per workplace. The categories are building & infrastructure, people & organization, IT and management. By measuring these data year after year, you can also see the increase or decrease of a certain category. Before we zoom in on the numbers, let's first take a short look as to what these categories mean, so you will have a better understanding of this:

  • Building and infrastructure: Housing services and resources. This includes rental costs, (depreciation) costs for renovations and adjustments to the working environment, furniture, taxes, maintenance and energy.
  • People and organization are all about the services for a safe and pleasant working environment. Think for example about catering, document management, office supplies, reception and security.
  • Then we have IT: all services and products that ensure that employees can use all (digital) resources. The services include connectivity, training, hardware and software.
  • And last but not least: management. Management concerns strategic and tactical management of the facility organization, but also supporting facility functions such as service desk and purchasing are included.


In 2019 the average cost per workplace for Europe was €9.763, that is comparable with about $11.500 dollar per year per workplace. And if you then look at the different categories, we see that 66% of these costs are related to building & infrastructure. Followed by IT with 20% of all costs. People & organization comes in third with 10% of the total costs and last but not least, management with 4% of the total costs. We found that these statistics are a great tool to benchmark your department. You can compare the statistics of your department with the standard's average. At the same time you can also benchmark this number with other similar organizations to see whether your building costs for example are extremely high, or maybe low.


Occupancy rate

The next element you can use to benchmark is the occupancy rate. An occupancy rate measurement makes it clear whether there are sufficient workplaces, beds or parking spaces available, meeting, lecture or conference rooms are optimally used or whether energy is leaking unnecessarily in rooms where no one is present. And by having these numbers, you can also compare your department's statistics with other organizations. Is your occupancy rate much lower? Maybe then there is a possibility to decreasing square meters. And with the increase of sensors and more automation, measuring the occupancy rate is much easier than ever before.


Employee per desk ratio

The number of employees per desk is a third way to compare your department with other organizations. Back in the day, this number was 1:1 as each employee had their own desk. But nowadays we see that employees are working from home, not working fulltime or working at the client's office much more often. Therefore, it would often be too expensive to have a desk for each employee. New ways of working and flex offices enable decreasing this ratio and therefore, lower your costs. We currently see that the average ratio at offices is more likely to be 10:7. When measuring this statistic for yourself, you can again use this to compare your department with others as a frame of reference for potential improvement.


Customer satisfaction

Let's move on to the fourth option for benchmarking: customer satisfaction. What if you compare yourself with a similar organization but you see that your customer satisfaction level in much lower? I bet that this will trigger you to work on that because in the end we are all working for our customer, right? 😉 What's very important to notice is that it's crucial to compare apples with apples. So, make sure you measure customer satisfaction in the same way as the company you'd like to benchmark with (or the industry's standard), otherwise the numbers will still be useless. A few ways to measure customer satisfaction? Think about happy buttons for example, surveys, observation or how about a mystery guest?



We have come to final statistic to benchmark your department. It's all about performance. In the last part we already talked about customer satisfaction but there are way more options to measure your performance. For example, measuring the response speed of your service desk. What period of time do they need in order for complaints or notification to be solved? Maybe for you the average is 24 hours, while the overall benchmark average is 48 hours. Then you know, you and your team did a great job! Again, important sidenote: compare apples to apples! Or, how about the performance of your supplier. Most departments that work with external suppliers make agreements on the level of service. If you do so, measure them as well! Because you want to make sure that they actually deliver what is agreed upon. And if you measure, you can compare!

Example: In The Netherlands for example, the banks have a benchmarking group that benchmark many of these key figures. It would be interesting to also benchmark your suppliers: what if you have the same one but the supplier operates better at your colleagues' firm than at yours? Why is that? It gives you a lot of insights.


So, that was it! 5 ways how to benchmark your department! I hope this information inspires you to start benchmarking today! One last tip how to start? Just start and do it now,  because in the end, numbers will tell the tale.

About the author
Sanne always looking for improvement with her team to deliver even better services. Within The World of YES we do also a lot of research within the facility management market and we love to share this with the world to help professionals and organizations further!
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