In 2011, the IFMA published Work on the Move, a groundbreaking book about facilities management and the future of the workplace. Five years later, the IFMA released the second edition of Work on the Move, subtitled “How Social, Leadership and Technology Innovations are Transforming the Workplace in the Digital Economy.”
Work on the Move 2 features insights from global workplace experts across multiple countries: Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. We definitely recommend checking out the book in its entirety, but in this post we’ll focus specifically on the most influential workplace trends and how they affect the way we work.
1. A Focus on Sustainability in Facility Management
Facility managers are experts in improving efficiency and reducing waste within a company’s real estate portfolio. But with access to more powerful tools and technologies – specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors – facilities professionals can contribute to environmental friendliness and sustainability on a global scale.
In its 2009 Annual Report, Seizing the Green Opportunity, the United Nations Environment Programme outlined five major objectives for reducing environmental impact in the building sector:
- Increase overall energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. This includes the physical structure itself as well as operational elements such as HVAC systems.
- Reduce energy consumption of all smaller appliances, such as refrigerators, personal computers and telecommunication equipment.
- Encourage energy companies to support initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of their customers.
- Change the attitudes and behavior of personnel regarding how energy is used in the workplace.
- Replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy.
With the IoT and smart sensors, facilities managers can execute smart maintenance (such as proactively repairing a malfunctioning AC unit) and install a connected lighting system, which enables data-driven energy management. Facilities professionals can also use the data gathered from IoT-connected sensors to show the workforce how much energy is being wasted and how much employees can save through their actions.
2. Improving Employee Health and Wellness With Workplace Design
If a workplace is too hot or too cold, too bright or too dark or too loud or too quiet, employees will feel uncomfortable and won’t be as productive.
But beyond simply improving productivity with a more comfortable work environment, facilities managers have the power to create a workplace that actually promotes the health and well-being of employees. Work on the Move 2 recommends adopting the WELL Building Standard™, which dictates how a building should be designed in respect to seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
One particular way facilities managers can support the physical health of their employees is to implement an activity-based working (ABW) environment. Workplaces that adopt ABW encourage physical activity by making it difficult for employees to remain in one place all day. As a result, employees are at lower risk for the negative effects of sedentary behavior on their health. Workplace strategies like these can also improve collaboration and can have a positive impact on company culture.
Workplace technology, such as an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) can also help leaders calibrate spaces based on the needs of employees. With real-time access to space utilization data, they can see how many employees are working in a given area and adjust lighting and temperature accordingly. They’ll also know which areas should be their first priority for maintenance.
3. The Need for a Physical Work Environment
Thanks to technology, the workplace may not always be a place. Employees can work remotely from anywhere in the world and potentially never actually see their colleagues in person. But while many employees appreciate a flexible work environment, there are plenty who prefer to go to an office even if it isn’t every day.
Today’s workplace leaders are always on the lookout for ways to save resources by consolidating space and promoting the mobile workforce. However, if the size of the workplace or the number of on-site employees is reduced too far, companies run the risk of driving away top talent who need the things only a physical workplace can provide.
Having a physical office prevents the disconnect that can often occur when employees only communicate with each other via phone or email. It enables employees to build more powerful relationships with their colleagues through face-to-face interactions and in-person collaboration. For many professionals, being around coworkers fuels their productivity and happiness. Workplace leaders shouldn’t risk hurting retention for the sake of saving money on real estate, but they can have the best of both worlds by giving employees options. For this reason, more organizations are adopting flexible workplace trends like hot desking and hoteling (where employees reserve work stations rather than having assigned desks) as well as activity-based working.
Adopting Workplace Trends
Positively impacting environmental sustainability, employee health and employee productivity is a major undertaking. But workplace leaders don’t have to undergo several rounds of trial and error in order to accomplish these goals. Instead of trying to make changes using assumptions about the workplace and the workforce, they can take advantage of powerful employee experience solutions that help employees find people, places and information, reserve rooms or equipment, request service and receive visitors or mail. And the most powerful of these solutions is iOFFICE Hummingbird. See how iOFFICE Hummingbird can help you adopt each of these workplace trends.
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