Twenty years ago, the phrase facilities management would have conjured images of changing light bulbs or mopping the floor. Now, facilities management means much more. And the definition continues to expand every day, thanks to the evolution of the workplace.
Facilities managers, or workplace managers as they are now often known, are finding themselves managing employee experience as much as space. They are expected to cultivate an atmosphere that enhances productivity and collaboration, produces measurable ROI and boosts recruitment and retention. To do that, they need to keep up with the latest workplace trends and technology.
So, if you want to be an innovative workplace manager, here are three facilities management trends you need to have on your radar in the coming year.
Top Facilities Management Trends in 2018
- A greater emphasis on the employee experience
- A greater focus on facility management metrics
- Using an IWMS to create an employee-centric environment
1. A Greater Emphasis on the Employee Experience
It’s no surprise employee satisfaction plays an important role in recruiting and retaining talent. But you may not realize how much facilities management impacts the employee experience.
The employee experience is the sum of all interactions an employee has with his or her employer. It is the structure and culture of the organization and how the employee perceives the company overall. It encompasses both an employee’s satisfaction and engagement with the business and has recently surpassed satisfaction and engagement as the most important indicator of employee happiness.
So what does this have to do with facilities management?
Well, the workplace is a tangible representation of the company culture. And the employee experience is primarily influenced by the physical environment in which the employee works. Since the facilities manager oversees nearly every aspect of the workplace, he or she has potentially the greatest impact on how an employee feels about the company.
In 2016, Steelcase released its survey findings in its report, The Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace. Steelcase collected data from over 12,000 employees in 17 countries and discovered that the workplace can not only impact employee productivity but also affect an employee’s attitudes and beliefs. The report showed there was a direct correlation between satisfaction with the workplace and engagement level.
Pro Tip: Give employees the tools they need to stay connected in the workplace, whether they’re on their desktops, in a conference room or on a mobile device. Employee experience solutions such as mobile apps give employees more freedom and flexibility while keeping them connected.
2. A Greater Focus on Facility Management Metrics
In 8 New Facilities Management Metrics You Need to Know, we discussed what it means to be a successful facilities manager in today’s world as well as eight critical measurements for evaluating performance.
Here’s a look at three of those metrics:
Real Estate Costs and Terms
Real estate accounts for a large percentage of any company’s expenses. In fact, it’s the second most costly aspect of running a business, just behind personnel. In order to reduce real estate expenses, the facilities manager must have insight into the total square footage of the spaces owned and leased by the company, the lease agreement terms, the cost per square foot and the value of each space.
Using activity-based working and office hoteling has helped businesses decrease the quantity of workspace needed. However, due to the fluctuation of occupancy caused by this flexibility, it is especially important for facilities managers to monitor space utilization. Calculating space utilization includes assessing space capacity, vacancy rate, cost of space per employee and total annual facility costs, among other data.
Employees want to be inspired by their workplace — 82 percent of professionals believe innovation starts with the workplace. Yet more than half —52 percent — describe their workplace as “uninspiring.” What makes a quality workspace? For starters, it should have optimal lighting, good acoustics, a mix of collaborate and quiet spaces and the technology and amenities employees have come to expect.
Employee surveys can be a helpful tool to assess the quality of a particular space. Ask questions to determine how they are currently using the workspace, what factors are most important to them and what improvements can help them be more productive.
3. Using an IWMS to Create an Employee Centric-Environment
Building a modern, employee-centric workplace goes well beyond providing employees with the latest software. In reality, it means implementing technology like sensors connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) along with an IWMS to collect workplace and workforce data and then leveraging this information to design workspaces that support a positive employee experience.
The combination of an IWMS and IoT sensors gives facilities management teams insight into extensive operational data, including space utilization, inventory levels, asset usage and location, occupancy and more. This technology provides the facilities management team with objective information, enabling them to make data-driven decisions about how best to fulfill the needs of the workforce. For instance, they can:
- Easily adjust temperature and lighting based on room occupancy
- Quickly complete service requests and decrease downtime of important assets and equipment
- Ensure they have an adequate number of workspaces to facilitate various activities
IoT sensors and an IWMS are the extra set of eyes and ears every modern facilities manager needs to meet the ever-changing demands of the workplace and workforce.
Pro Tip: Look for an IWMS that is cloud-based, easy to use and integrates with the other systems you use for HR, IT and sales.
Even over the past decade, the definition of “facilities management” has changed dramatically. And as more and more tools and technologies become available, facilities managers are sure to see their roles expand even more.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.