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Facilities management is susceptible to wider economic, social and technological trends. New ways of working, new platforms and new digital solutions are causing a dramatic shift in the facilities landscape, and FMs need to understand these if they are to adapt to the new paradigm.This list is a rundown of five of the biggest trends shaping facilities management:
1. The Internet of Things
Building management systems (BMS) are fast becoming the bread and water of facilities management. Even simple internet of things-enabled devices are allowing FMs to make better judgements about how manage a building, by providing them with accurate measurements about lighting, temperate, energy usage and occupancy rates. Using data about device performance, they can predict exactly when equipment requires repairs before it breaks down, saving time, money and resources. This kind of technology will become more commonplace over the coming years.
2. Globalisation and localisation
Although seemingly contradictory, both trends are shaping facilities management simultaneously. On the one hand, globalisation is creating a diverse, international workforce that unites different cultural mores and ways of working; it also creates vast supply chains that require communication across continents and that are susceptible to disruption—as we’re seeing with COVID–19. On the other hand, sustainability concerns have led some companies to look to local sources, and also to tailor policies and practices to local markets.
3. Health and wellbeing
A healthy workforce is a productive one, and FMs are playing a greater role facilitating this. Building management systems can be used to control air quality, temperature and lighting to optimise wellbeing, but office design also plays a key role. By introducing natural lighting, plants and biophilic design, cleaner water and office design that encourages teamwork and collaboration, FMs can make a huge, active difference to employee wellbeing.
FMs are now hyper aware of the impact their profession has on the environment. They are increasing their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and the amount of waste they produce. Technology is helping with this, as the internet of things and building management systems can make better and more accurate measurements of energy and resource usage, which can help FMs make decisions about how to reduce this.This is also affecting building design, as new offices are being constructed with sustainability in mind from the bottom up; transportation is also impacted, with greater fuel efficiency and a move away from petrol-fuelled cars a major concern.
05. Changing face of work
More and more of us are embracing flexible and remote working, particularly now the Millennial generation the largest single portion of the workforce. Work–life balance is a major concern of this cohort, and employers are increasingly catering to this. Even facilities management is adapting to flexible working, with building management systems and other online systems enabling remote working. In addition, new cloud-based systems are facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing. Even offices are departing from traditional models, with open-plan design and hotdesking replacing the typical cubical arrangement.FMs need to adapt to these trends as they continue to influence and transform their profession. Those that don’t risk being left behind by an industry more receptive to health and wellbeing, more eager to adopt new technology and more aware of the impact they have on the environment.
First published 01/04/2020