MAC Of All Trades

MAC Of All Trades

By: Annie Kutsuris

MAC coordinators are the unsung heroes of the workplace, making transitions smooth for new and existing employees and supporting the overall goals of facilities teams. But what exactly is a MAC coordinator and how do they improve the workplace experience? MAC stands for moves, adds, and changes. These specialized move managers are often embedded at a client’s facility and are responsible for small to medium-sized moves within the office or campus, typically after-hours and over the weekend. They work closely with facilities teams, department heads, team leads, and dozens of external vendors to optimize space usage and minimize disruption to daily operations so employees can focus on their work. They are skilled at providing quick responses to complex projects and optimizing space usage. Let’s explore four of the services a MAC coordinator provides.

Elizabeth Cisneros
Sr. Project Manager

Meet the MAC team

What skills are needed to be successful in this role?

“Be extremely organized because the train does not stop!”

Tom Nguyen
MAC Coordinator

What’s the most important thing you do for your clients?

“[We] provide quick responses and fixes daily to optimize the space for employees.”​

On/off boarding

One of a MAC coordinator’s many jobs is the onboarding and offboarding of employees. When a new hire is made, the MAC coordinator assists in space and occupancy planning to locate or create the appropriate workspace for the employee, with consideration to accessibility needs, job function, remote work schedule, equipment, and furniture system needs. The inverse takes place when an employee is offboarded or has a significant job change. MAC coordinators work with warehouses, IT teams, furniture dealers, and movers to decommission workstations and to make room for larger moves and reconfigurations.

Vendor sourcing and management

Depending on the size of the organization and churn, there may or may not be preexisting contracts in place for vendors. When a new vendor is needed, MAC coordinators will develop and manage the RFP process and assist in vetting and making recommendations to the facilities team. The Bridge Group’s MAC team is skilled at writing RFPs and ensuring clients are covered. The MAC team coordinates with dozens of external vendors for every project, including electrical, data cabling, furniture, biophilia, moving, and audio visual, in addition to the internal IT, facilities, and leadership teams.

Facility management software

Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) is important for organizations with multiple locations or large campuses. This software tracks employee changes, allocation of physical and shared resources, space assignments, and more. Having an up-to-date record of all moves, adds and changes is critical to maintaining the efficiency of a facility’s operations. The Bridge Group’s MAC team is proficient in setting up and managing CAFM programs.

Trend forecasting

The Bridge Group’s MAC team manages an average of twelve moves every week, which gives them keen insight into the trends and needs of the modern workplace. They report their observations to client leadership to aid in strategy and budget planning. Some of the trends they’ve observed as a result of recent return to office requirements are increased demand for meeting spaces (i.e., conference rooms and meeting pods), flex desks, hoteling spaces, and hybrid spaces where employees have the flexibility to do either focused or collaborative work.

MAC coordinators provide tremendous value by executing smooth transitions for employees, developing solutions to workplace challenges, and supporting organizational goals. The Bridge Group team handles all this and more so your employees can focus on your core business.

 

 


Celebrating Women's History

Celebrating Women's History

In honor of Women's History Month, we sat down with four of The Bridge Group's finest, to learn about their experiences as females in a historically male-dominated industry. These women are smart, strong, and passionate and it's an honor to have them on our team serving our clients. Meet the panel!

What inspired you to get into the construction industry?

SS: I came from a family where nothing was a barrier. It was "Go and get an education and be the best you can be". That expectation allowed me to have the ability to think, "I can do these things. In fact, not only I can, but I will". 

EC: I actually started in residential real estate. It's the delivery that really inspires me to do real estate in general. Nobody likes moving, nobody likes picking up and going, but that look on their face when they move in and they have so much gratitude…It's that moment. That inspires me.

Sheideh Shanahan | Regional Lead, Pacific Northwest

Sheideh leads our Seattle, WA office and has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. Her career has included managing the design and construction of commercial buildings as well as civil infrastructure.

Elizabeth Cisneros | Senior Project Manager

Elizabeth has 12 years of experience in Project Management and
Strategic Planning having executed complex projects of all types
including office, financial services, healthcare, and life sciences both
domestically and internationally.

Stephanie Hamilton | Senior Project Manager

Stephanie is a seasoned project manager with over 20 years of
experience focusing on high-tech headquarters and campus work,
property management, tenant improvements, decommissions and large
relocations for Fortune 100 clients.

Nicolle Cortorreal | Project Manager

Nicolle is a Project Manager with over 8 years of experience working in
the construction project management, architecture, and planning
industries in the New York City and San Francisco Bay Area.

How has female mentorship impacted your career?

SH: I started off in a male dominated industry and then went to go work for an architect who was a woman. Seeing the
strength and seeing the respect and the knowledge that a lot of these women out there have has been really
inspirational and gives me the ability to say “Why can't I do it?” instead of “I can’t do it”.

NC: When I entered the Construction Management and General Contracting world, there were a lot of women in
leadership positions there...when the opportunity presented itself, whether it was my direct management or even
somebody that I had to work on a project with, I just learned as much as I could, no matter where it was coming from... for me there is an opportunity to learn from anyone that I cross paths with in this industry 

 

EC: The [mentors] that have stuck around are those who really take the
time to say “This is what I did, this is how I felt, this is how I navigated
that”. Even some that are just starting out in the industry- project
coordinators, admins, there's still a lot to learn from them...a lot of us get
stuck in our ways because we've done this for so long and don't know
how else to do it. So even younger women in the industry serve a mentor
role and they don't realize it.

What's the best piece of advice you've received in your career?

SH: I think just the whole idea of “Why can't we do that?” You don't have
to ask permission, you can just do it. And do the best you can at it.

SS: Don’t let what people say to you prevent you from advancing. If you
say “This is not for me because of the things people say” Then you're the
one who loses out and frankly, so does the industry.

EC: [an older mentor] said, "Get over the fact that you're a woman in the
industry, you're going to hear that until the day you die
because you're a woman and you are in a predominantly and historically
male occupation". She said. "So what? Get out of your head and think
beyond that". That wisdom is what I look for in somebody at a higher
level.

Is it important for young women entering the field to seek out
other women
in the industry?

SS: Always. I think every time we see individuals in roles that we didn't
see previously, as a society, we benefit.
NC: I think it's important for them to see and know other women in the
industry and form those relationships. There's not enough talk about
what's it like on site, what's it like when you're the only woman sitting at
the table and you're the one who has to lead because you're the client
Rep or you're the one in charge of contracting the whole team. I just think
that it's something that it would be great for more women to hear.

"When you

bring
diversity into
the picture, it
brings a
richness that
doesn't exist
from a
single point
of view "

SHEIDEH SHANAHAN

"You don't
have to ask
permission,
you can just
do it. And do
the best you
can at it."

STEPHANIE HAMILTON

What sets women apart from their male counterparts
in this industry?

SH: A lot of the time we don't bring our egos...we just bring our
knowledge. There's no arm wrestling in the room.
SS: I think when you bring diversity of any kind, whether it be gender,
age, or religion, you see the entire picture. If everyone is the same,
then their perspective, their frame, is the same. But when you bring
diversity into the picture, it brings a richness that doesn't exist from a single point of view.

How do you support the women on your team?

SH: By giving them the opportunity to try new things, to learn new
things and to really push their limits. Part of being a human is learning
and making mistakes, fixing those mistakes and then feeling more
empowered.

SS: Compassion and empathy.

 

Thank you to Sheideh, Elizabeth, Stephanie and Nicolle
for sharing! Each and every one of us brings
unique experiences, wisdom and passion to our work.
At The Bridge Group, we believe we are better
together, supporting and lifting each other up!


Will this WFH Experiment Shape the Future of our Workplace?

Will this WFH Experiment Shape The Future of our Workplace?

The new work environment is being determined now

The future of work looks a lot different now than a few weeks ago. We’re practicing social distancing and employees everywhere have been forced into remote work. The current global events are creating uncertainty in our lives — socially, health-wise, and professionally as well.

As COVID-19 forces a large-scale work from home (WFH) experiment, we can’t help but wonder if the disease will propel us into a lifestyle that would have emerged 20 years into the future when the distinctions between work, home, and in-between all dissolve.

Trends in modern society: Bring work home and vice versa

As almost anyone with a successful career will tell you, sometimes you need to bring work home. Be it evening emails or weekend work, this regular practice spurred dedicated office spaces in the home long ago. 

More and more, the lines between work and home have become ambiguous.

We’ve also seen the trend the other way: work has come to resemble home more than ever before. Employees have asked for spaces to relax and decompress. Employers continually respond and provide meditation rooms, designated nap spaces, and quiet spaces to regroup and disconnect from work.

Current trend: WFH

And today’s most popular trend among the next generation of the workforce? Work-life balance, flexibility and wellness. For many, this balance is best achieved through a work from home arrangement, aka telecommuting or remote work.

Even before COVID-19 made remote workers out of previously on-site office professionals, the calls for more remote opportunities or flexible WFH arrangements are on the rise. Ninety-nine percent of employees want the opportunity to WFH, at least part-time. 

It’s not hard to see why — collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and Trello create agile work environments along with the importance of work systems such as BIM (Building Information Modeling), 3D printing and AR (Augmented Reality) in the AEC industry.

Remote teams report higher productivity and increased loyalty to their companies. With WFH arrangements, individuals can avoid the rising rent and cost of living in metro areas while still having a great job. And perhaps most importantly — remote workers have the flexibility to manage their schedules for greater work-life balance and wellness. 

Some industries have answered the need for remote work with openness, while others have not. It’s no surprise that tech composes the largest percentage of remote workers according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics.com

The 44% of global organizations that still don’t allow for remote work cite concerns about:

  • Loss of employee productivity
  • Issues with miscommunication
  • Inability to effectively manage teams
  • Employee isolation

But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, formerly remote-reticent employers haven’t had much of a choice. The stay at home order mandate has forced a massive social-professional experiment and pulled much of the modern world into it.

Not everyone can work remotely —  the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports 29% of percent of the US workforce is capable of working remotely. And these professionals are currently telecommuting whether or not the infrastructure to make remote work successful was in place before the crisis.

Despite our lack of preparedness in going remote overnight, the results are bound to reveal something about our future home and workspaces. What happens when the lines between home and work are increasingly blurred?

The Workplace of the Future: At Home?

We don’t know how long social distancing will last. There’s a lot left to be determined. But one thing that seems clear is that the remote work experiment we’ve been forced into is permanently shifting the world of work. The future is almost guaranteed to exist more fluidly between work and home. 

What will this look like? What does bringing modern work into the home mean?

  • Broadband access speeds or 5G wifi will be ubiquitous
  • A dedicated office space as part of the basics of a residential home, alongside a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom
  • Potential for companies to invest in shared living spaces for employees to live and work from in lieu of offices

Here to Stay: Resilience and Remote Work

Will these scenarios bring people including families closer together? Cut down on the environmental impact that are so closely tied to the American commute? Will we be able to remain focused, productive, and collaborative in physical and mental spaces that lack clear delineation between work and home? 

With questions swirling in from every direction, one thing is for certain: the future will look different, and the current COVID-19 pandemic will emerge as the shaping force of this landscape. Yet this great sense of shared humanity we’re all currently experiencing will too. Our deepest hope is for a bright and unified future — at work and at home —  on the other side of it all.

How has your transition to remote work been? Do you miss the water cooler chatter, or are you finding respite in focused time along? Share your experiences below!


Effects of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry

How COVID-19 Impacts the Construction Industry

Tips to protect the wellbeing of workers and keep projects moving

The construction industry is particularly feeling the impact of the coronavirus outbreak because workers are unable to work from home and must be onsite to do their jobs. While we may not be on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic, there are many practices we can embrace to help reduce the spread of the virus, the seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses. First, we want to share some of the ways we’re seeing the coronavirus impact our industry. We then explore how we can help keep worker healthy, stay connected, and adapt our work to changing circumstances.

Coronavirus Impact on the Construction Industry

Some of the impacts we’re seeing include delays of materials from outside the country as well as concerns that delays from US suppliers may be next. In response, general contractors are securing materials domestically and getting them to sites as quickly as possible. Building departments in some areas are beginning to close, which could bring permitting and inspections to a halt. There is a risk that some contractors and subcontractors may suspend operations. With all these uncertainties, we know project timelines may be impacted and are working closely with our teams to create recovery plans. 

Taking care of our people is incredibly important to us at The Bridge Group. As construction continues on many projects, we've compiled some measures we can take to help keep everyone healthy and safe. This applies to workers general contractors and sub-contractors on-site and employees in the workplace.

Tips for Staying Healthy and Connected

Healthy Practices on Site

1. Ask general contractors to install additional hand-washing stations at construction sites.

2. Encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick and remind them to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then immediately discarding the tissue in the trash.

3. Ask general contractors to implement social distancing, with employees working at least six feet apart when it is safe to do so.

4. Post notices or posters at worksites reminding employees how they can protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses. Notices can include reminders to wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer; to work at least 6 feet apart when safely possible, and to stay home when sick. The CDC offers printable materials online.

5. Wipe down frequently-touched surfaces, such as door handles, bathrooms, railings, kitchen areas, and shared tools and machinery. Provide disinfecting wipes on-site.

Stay Connected and Adjust Project Timelines

1. Stay in close contact with general contractors to understand their concerns about employee health.

2. Discuss timeline implications with project stakeholders if construction slows, and work closely with them on the development of recovery plans. If construction comes to a halt, use the time to plan so the schedule impact can be minimized once construction picks up again.

3. As teams try to reduce travel and follow the shelter in place, we can use technology to communicate and collaborate. Facetime and photography allow architects and stakeholders to monitor progress and reduce concerns of remediation measures later on. We can eliminate in-person meetings by taking advantage of video conferencing and team collaboration tools. Apps and cloud-based tools like Zoom, Google Suite, Trello, Asana, Slack, Jira and Microsoft Teams are all ideal.

In these unprecedented times, we’re all learning how we can continue to safely work together, whether in an office, at home, or on a construction site. We’d love to hear your ideas. How have you seen the coronavirus affect the construction industry or impacted your client projects? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.