Facility Managers (FMs) are a crucial force within an organisation, making sure that a workplace meets the needs of employees by managing all of the required services.
With the emergence of New Ways of Working, where businesses focus on work efficiency and the workplace experience, the Facilities Management industry is poised for a major transformation in the next 5 years.
But what can FMs expect from workplace management and what will the future of facilities management look like?
Below are a few trends already affecting Workplace Management. Based on these shifts, we can predict the future direction of Facility Management and what to expect. Adapting accordingly, could result in low employee turnover and improved long-term growth.
As the generations change, so do their priorities. In today’s workforce, the millennials and Gen Z, are focused on a lifetime of learning. Long gone are the typical corporate career chasers stuck within a cubicle. Future generation will be looking for more freedom at work and flexible working patterns.
“They connect, create, contribute and collaborate whenever and wherever it makes sense,’ says Philip Auerswald, economist and author of The Coming Prosperity. Rather than following the old world of education, corporate career and retirement, this coming generation is looking for more flexibility and the ability to innovate.
In an article by ChargeSpot, the main workplace features required by Millennials and Gen Z are bright, open co-working spaces with plenty of amenities, fresh food options, quirky extras and innovative buildings. In fact, the leading boom in co-working spaces, from big names like WeWork and Second Home, are making huge market gains in recent years.
Global warming will be one of the main environmental challenges for the coming century. To become more energy and carbon-efficient, businesses around the world will soon need to create or introduce more sustainable buildings.
With the need to change to more sustainable solutions, FMs and the service industry can expect this trend to affect supply and value chains as well as building design, management and maintenance. Systemic design will become more and more important.
There is no mistake that technological prowess has made a huge impact on society. Up until now we have seen an increase in productivity, development of new industries, income growth, and reduced poverty due to this changing trend. Towards 2020 we expect to see more major progress in intelligent technology, such as near field communication (NFC) sensors, security applications and smarter robots with more automation. Technology will take over more functions as robot technology improves in quality, costs reduce and labour prices increase. Technological development will most probably reduce or even replace low-quality labour and drive a change in the skill sets required within the workforce.
Health and Wellbeing is growing
Workplace wellness is a growing industry. According to the Global wellness institute (GWI), employers are spending more and more on employee wellness each year. The global industry grew 6.4% from 2013-2015, to $43.3 billion and it is expected to rise again by 2020.
Thanks to new standards and technologies, architects are already designing buildings around humans and their health.
According to the GWI, this trend is also known as “Wellness Architecture”. This is predicted to be one of the biggest and most influential trends. Strategies for “wellness architecture” range from the inclusion of more flora in offices to the creation of entire homes built around the person’s wellbeing preferences. Workplaces that best adapt to this growing trend will be the ones that succeed in the future.
What’s next for FMs?
Given the limitations of existing facilities and tight budgets, there’s still a lot Facility Managers can do to keep ahead of the “curve” and up to date with innovation.
One hallmark strategy is to focus on the stairs. Stair climbing is regarded as a “vigorous” form of exercise that is good for your health, bones and heart. In fact, a recent study reveals that 10 mins of stair climbing gives you a bigger boost than a cup of coffee.
While Facility Managers can hardly construct grand central staircases, they can make the stairs they do have accessible, visible and attractive to employees.
One company uses the concept of stair climbing as a health and wellness initiative. StepJockey combats sedentary behaviour in the workplace by using a network of smart signs to nudge people to use to stairs more often. This encourages the workforce to stay active, productive and engaged while saving money and reducing carbon emissions for the business.
This concept fits perfectly with the needs of the new workforce, Millennials are the top owners of smartphones and enjoy using innovation that is built upon an old concept - the staircase.
Regardless of what comes next, Facilities Managers will always play a crucial role, making sure that a workplace meets the needs of employees. As the workforce changes, both FM’s and Health Managers will need the tools to adapt to the rapidly changing wellness environment. The workplaces that best adapt will be the ones that succeed and the rest will fade away.