FactSet Takes Flexibility to a Global Level with Robin

FactSet Takes Flexibility to a Global Level with Robin

FactSet is a global financial data and analytics software company with over 33 offices around the world. After facing a global pandemic, they reshaped and reimagined all of their global offices to meet the unique, country specific needs of their international teams. 

When they first tested out a hybrid work strategy in 2019, the goal was to provide more flexibility for their teams. With support from Robin they were able to:

  • Create in-office space for collaboration
  • Reduce global square footage by 37%
  • Transition over 50% of offices to greater than 100% heads-to-seats ratio

FactSet reimagined their offices and designed spaces their global teams are eager to use. Leaning on unique layouts and technology like Robin, FactSet continues to engage their teams, optimize their space investments, and provide flexibility.

What did it take and how did they get here? Let’s find out.

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Investment & Asset Management
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  • 47 buildings
  • 18 countries
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"I have to admit that I was initially worried when my local office adopted the “hoteling” approach to seating. All these worries melted away once I started using Robin to book my seat and plan my office visits."
Rico Fabello | Director of Product Management

Challenge: From 0 to 11,000 Hybrid Global Workers

The idea of hybrid work wasn’t new to FactSet. 

In 2019, they started testing a hybrid work strategy at their headquarters in Norwalk, CT. They wanted to evolve the way their teams worked and provide them with the flexibility to coordinate their work weeks based on collaboration.

“Engineers come into work, put on big headphones, and sit in this little siloed-off world,” says Al Bowen Jones, European Systems Manager at FactSet. “It was a cultural shift that we wanted to implement - the concept of agility.”

Shortly after the CT HQ rollout, FactSet’s offices in Asia, Europe, and North America started closing due to the pandemic. This global shift left FactSet with a handful of unused space and sped up their company-wide transition to hybrid work. 

Although the FactSet team had some experience with flexible work, redesigning 200 desks in Norwalk, CT was much different than supporting 11,000 employees worldwide, in keeping with local occupancy requirements. 

This created a new challenge for the teams at FactSet including::

  • Creating new spaces that supported their hybrid teams
  • Introducing and implementing a new hybrid work strategy in 33 global offices
  • Optimizing their real estate investments and right-sizing their global offices

Solutions: Upgrades and Improvements

With Robin already in their tech stack, FactSet was confident they’d be able to embrace hybrid work on a global scale. 

“With Robin it felt like there was a partnership,” says Al. “They could be agile to our requests for change.”

The first step was to determine how much space they needed in their offices. They started looking closely at office attendance rates, creating reports and measuring badge swipes to help them better understand how their space was being utilized.

Once they understood how many people were using the office and what they were using it for, they made necessary adjustments to support their team’s needs. With collaboration in mind, they created spaces that would better support meetings, coworking, and brainstorming: 

  • Eliminating and repurposing office space
  • Decreasing the number of single desks and eliminating private offices
  • Increasing the amount of available flex space and meeting rooms

As layouts shifted, they also took inventory of the technology at each workstation, to ensure the office provided what employees needed.

“Every seat is well-equipped and consistent,“ says Ray Grich, Head of Facilities. “That's the general gist of any new space. If we shrink space, we repurpose the equipment and populate the remaining area.”

Now that their offices were better suited for hybrid teams, FactSet was ready to fully transition to hybrid work. Next step? Rolling out Robin to their teams.

“A hybrid work environment means flexibility and prioritizing different items at different times. ”
Kelly Fernand Abramsky, Facilities Operations

Roll Out: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

To spearhead this project, FactSet formed a global workplace team made up of IT, Facilities, and Office Managers. The Norwalk, CT team led the group in building an implementation strategy that would introduce Robin and hybrid work to their employees in all 33 of their global offices.

“Ray and his team in Norwalk, CT did a great job on change management,” says Al. “They wrote an incredible amount of documentation on Robin, which made it easy for us as we began opening other offices.”

FactSet’s global workplace team started creating other resources that would help their employees adapt, including: 

  • Trainings for local office managers
  • Internal videos with guided step by step instructions
  • Clear desk booking policies tailored to each global office

In less than 2 years, FactSet’s global workplace team of less than 50 defined a new workplace experience and successfully rolled out a new strategy and hybrid platform to over 11,000 employees. 

Their new training documents proved crucial to get everyone on the same page and served as an important reference point during early roll outs. Consistent workplace communication and clearly outlined processes led to a successful transition.

“Robin has overall been very well received,” says Ray. “We have outlets for feedback and Robin doesn't come up that often. No news is good news.”

Outcomes: Smaller Office, Enhanced Experience

With Robin as their hybrid backbone, FactSet took charge of their workplace experience and embraced a new flexible model in 33 offices across 19 different countries. Optimizing the right tech stack allowed them to better accommodate over 11,000 hybrid employees and repurpose their spaces, all while realizing real-estate cost efficiencies and reducing their footprint by 37%. 

“The impact is huge. In March of 2020, we had one location with a greater than 100% heads-to-seats ratio, so more heads than seats. Now we have 17 offices over 100%,“ says Ray. “Close to half the portfolio right now is oversubscribed, which is what we want to see.”

From 2020 to 2022, FactSet increased the number of hotel desks from 3% to 100%. Moving to a tech-enabled hotel solution allowed them to redesign and build space for flex and collaboration. As a result, they support more than 6,000 desk bookings and 2,000 space bookings

Workplace data and employee feedback played a crucial role in their workplace transformation. It enabled FactSet to create individualized office experiences that met the needs of their global teams. 

In Madrid, rather than operate in one large office, they opened multiple satellite locations across the country; and in Boston they were able to reduce square footage, desks and private offices, and open more flex space for collaboration. 

FactSet saved on valuable space and turned their workplace into a high demand resource. Their new workplace strategies remain successful due to:

  • New office layouts driven by data
  • Support from leadership
  • Tech stacks aligned with their team’s needs

Embracing hybrid work and more flexible, tech-driven workspaces has resulted in improved employee experience and increased engagement. Robin continues to be a supporting pillar in FactSet’s offices and FactSet is finding that the simpler the workplace experience, the happier the teams. 

“Working in a hybrid environment has helped me better balance my work and personal lives, empowered me to maximize my productivity, and allowed a level of flexibility in where, when, and how I work that I never dreamed possible. Robin helps us make all of this possible.”
Rico Fabello, Director of Product Management

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