Emerging Trends in Facility Management | Future Ready FM Solutions
The pandemic has already introduced a lot of changes to how organizations operate, organizations are in a hunt to explore innovative opportunities in creating a productive and experience rich hybrid workplace environment. In this article we will take a swift approach in analysing the emerging trends in facility management across functionalities.
This pandemic era emerged as the year giving rise to a new age of digitalization across all the elements including facility management services regardless of the nature and size of businesses.
But before discussing the emerging trends in facility management, it is important to understand why the facility management services are so crucial to the company’s overall efficiency.
Why do organisations need Facility Management?
According to IFMS, Facility management (FM) is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, safety, comfort and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.
This encompasses managing the physical space and assets within a building or an office premise. In short, a facility management service makes things easier for employees and other people engaged in the space, giving them better access to the resources and technology prevailing in the premise.
The reason that this discipline has emerged as a serious profession on its own is due to its underlying importance that is quintessential to any organisation’s existence.
To Enhance Efficiency
The main aim of any facility manager is to ensure that the employees are able to work efficiently within the office or company environment. Right from managing employee work stations to ensuring a healthy workplace. With proper maintenance, employees are never stuck with damaged assets or utilities which may cause delay or compromises the efficiency of the workstation. This, in turn, ensures that all processes are up and running without disrupting the day to day activities. By constantly evaluating the latest trends in facility management and integrating smart technologies and organisation will be able to create a hybrid workplace the millennial’s craves for.
To Maintain Health and Safety Protocols
Pick any organisation or company and ask what’s their top concern. The answer is surely going to be – maintaining the health and safety of the staff at any cost. Facility management has been doing this for as long as we can remember but after COVID-19, maintaining employee’s health and well-being is the primary objective and companies are ready to put in all the necessary efforts for ensuring that. With proper facility management, the office premise is constantly monitored, all the equipment, machinery, electric and mechanical utilities are constantly inspected/ sanitized at regular intervals and any hazardous waste is safely disposed of. This ensures that the property is safe and secure enough to provide an optimal working environment without posing any health hazards. Even the maintenance of emergency exits, fire equipment and other accident-related zones falls under the role of facility managers.
To Cut Down Costs
In any facility, cost-saving solutions are always considered crucial for the smooth running of businesses. Facility managers are responsible for overlooking all the assets being used by the employees. Keeping a close watch enables the organisation to prepare for the required resources and prevent any process failures beforehand. Unforeseen events like machine breakdown, failure of equipment or the shortage of raw materials can affect productivity and cost heavy bucks in the long run. An organised maintenance routine allows companies to take cost-efficient measures for the successful completion of daily activities without any mishap. If you invest the right time to analyse the latest trends in facility management then you will figure out that the benefits always surpass the cost factor.
To Elevate Brand Image
Facility or the workspace is usually a reflection of the kind of values a company portrays. The technological capabilities, cleanliness, security of the workplace and the overall ambience can undoubtedly elevate the brand image and uplift the reputation of any organisation in seconds. Facility management, when carried out properly, can certainly help companies outshine their competitors with their expertise and working manners. A well-maintained facility speaks volumes of the people associated with it and is often associated directly with the quality of work being done inside it.
Top Emerging Trends in the Facility Management
We have established the reasons for giving the facility management their due place in the organisational hierarchy. Now, let’s dig deeper to see the top trends in facility management and future ready workplace experience solutions that enterprises need to look out for and imbibe in their premises right away to stay in the game.
Integrated Service Management
Integrated facility management is a rising trend for organisations who like to keep things simple and under one roof. This implies that an integrated facility management solution controls all the aspects of facility management from top to bottom, all in a unified, singular platform.
Why to focus on emerging trends in facility management?
The trend is particularly gaining demand because integrated FM eliminates the need to have multiple vendors and partners, allowing companies to associate with a single vendor who has a better knowledge and understanding of the company. This approach is usually handled by in-house professionals or is mostly achieved by outsourcing to a single big vendor.
The advantage of such consolidation of facility management is that the company or platform is well aware of the real estate details, machinery know-hows and all things in between. This connects them deeper to the industries, helping them pass fair judgements and suggestions for improvements and risk deterrence in a more reliable manner.
Nearly 47% organisations are willing to increase their investments in Internet of Things (IoT) after the pandemic. (Gartner)
A fairly common term, Internet of things (IoT) is one trend that is surely going to rule the organisations in the near future. The true power of IoT relies in cohesion of data across the various machines present in the campus or office building and assessing that data to produce results. Sensor-operated machines, software and all other devices with “a brain of their own” fall under this category of innovation.
A great advantage of IoT is the elimination of human interaction and the introduction of machine to -machine interaction in the company’s operations. IoT is no more limited to those automatic doors, sensor-enabled lighting, auto powered machines and so on. Now industries are talking about high tech devices that still come with tiny sensors but can save lots on energy and overall revenue.
However, like all good things come with some downsides, one of the major concerns circling this highly promising solution is security. However, simple steps taken during handling of this technology can help companies deal with this concern effectively.
Putting a thought into workplace designing, office layout, the presence of ventilation and smart desking can go a long way for companies. This particular aspect is being valued highly by the employers, so much so that this is going to be a trending factor in facility management in the upcoming decade.
How much the employees value their surroundings and ambience while they work is evident from the popularity of remote working in the pandemic year that allowed them to work from the comforts of their home.
The way the offices are designed and maintained has a huge impact on the employees’ mental well-being and productivity as a whole. This finding is not borne of thin air but is supported by research showing that employees retention increases by 61% when their well-being is taken care of. Physical aspects of the facility can contribute highly to employee behaviour and moreover, company’s productivity.
Among the workforce, 74% professionals are rooting for remote work to become a standard way of working.
While companies may consider pandemic to be the “black period” for business, one thing that everyone is thankful for is the emergence and moreover, acceptance of remote working. Remote working is going to stay and it is not surprising that technologies supporting this flexible model of working are going to lead the trends in the coming decade.
Ability to monitor facilities from anywhere using devices, cloud services and technologies placed in-house has allowed even services like facility management to go remote. With offices reopening, essential aspects of facilities like temperature controls, safety protocols, employee management, flexible workstation management, environmental factors of a premise and even the visitor accessibility can be monitored and controlled by experts sitting anywhere across the world. This has further helped the employers to data driven decisions.
Data Driven Decisions
90% executives and professionals believe that data and analytics are the key factors influencing digital transformation. (Source)
One notable trend that has been incorporated by most of the organisations successfully over the previous years is data analytics. This is based on the approach of decisions and strategies being implemented using data and facts rather than a bleak understanding of goals.
Most of the organisations have so much data but little or no resources to analyse it, which diminishes their chances of making big profits. Refined data allows organisations to make informed decisions on the behaviour of their employees. With good data analytics in place, companies can target the problematic areas of their ecosystem quickly and more effectively with low or no risks of failure. Insights gained over a time frame helps companies to infer the performance status of all departments. Platforms and software have, therefore, included analytics as a key feature to attract the companies and enable them to filter crucial data and inferences without using manual efforts.
For most companies, this ability to assess and gather data can seem overwhelming but the right kind of technology like programs, online platforms and unified software can help such organisations deal with data in a more lucrative manner.
Almost 40% of digitally mature companies say that they have a proper AI strategy in place. (Source)
Artificial Intelligence is a concept that makes machines operate like humans. This involves not just calculating and measuring variables but also improving the process.
This technology is being used in energy measurement industries with tons of energy and cost. It allows companies to calculate trends and repetitive behaviours of physical resources present or operating in a facility, making facility management organised and calculated. Since the AI powered machines are continuously adapting to the environment, they make predictive maintenance possible and highly practical, increasing growth of organisations exponentially.
The presence of robots and AI enabled devices are making facilities operate at an unmatched pace without limited errors. One thing that comes with AI technology is its varied use case which makes this technology highly useful yet confusing at the same time.
A smart workspace is automation and machine-interaction at the highest level. All offices dream to have a smart facility wherein every single experience is intelligently handled by smart machines, not people. Smart workplaces instantly create an impression and wow the guests in one go.
For instance, installing a smart visitor management system in the facility that effectively notes, tracks and records the details of all the visitors visiting a facility and operating without any human interruption (receptionist or guards) is one ideal example of a smart workplace.
This idea of introducing “smart” software and technology is not just limited to taking care of operations and functions happening in the day-to-day routine of organisations. Now, it is holistically aimed at taking care of employees and the workers in the same manner as having a smart Employee grievance IT desk and other technologies that promote overall well-being and happiness of the backbones/ employees of an organisation.
The emerging trends in facility management services is a testimony to the fact that this profession has a larger impact on the organisation’s effectiveness than previously thought. The rise of technology and the need to create “smart” workspaces has led this industry to bloom and see investments despite the ongoing pandemic.
After the previous year witnessing a turmoil in the way organisations operate, it would not be wrong to say that facility management has gained momentum now more than ever due to the increasing demand for safety and well-being of employees. Even after the pandemic subsides, companies are expected to stick to the strict safety and health protocols for creating a future ready work environment that has the power to deal with all kinds of odds in the near future.