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6 Facilities Management Challenges Enterprises Face This Year

by James McDonald on March 24, 2022
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The past few years have brought immense challenges, but also growth opportunities for many organizations.  

Companies found new ways to serve customers, created new product lines, and discovered ways to save by consolidating office space and rethinking traditional approaches to facilities management. 

As we move into the recovery phase, here are six facilities management challenges we expect to see in the months ahead. 

6 facilities management challenges companies face this year

1. Managing a safe return to the office

The CDC has relaxed its guidelines for COVID-19 protocols, but the World Health Organization reported in February there are still significant COVID-related deaths occurring globally. And new variants continue to emerge even as people return to the office. 

That means implementing safety protocols — including social distancing, wellness checks, contact tracing,  and increased sanitization measures — are still an important part of facilities management. 

Facilities managers are looking for return to office solutions that enable safe collaboration. 

2. Optimizing space utilization in the hybrid workplace

While the latest CBRE research shows demand for office space is improving following the pandemic, the organization predicts the average employee will spend 24% less time in the office. To account for changes in demand, 87% of large companies plan to adopt a hybrid workplace model.

That means making a significant shift in space planning. Instead of having one desk for each employee, facilities managers need to embrace more flexible strategies like hot desking or office hoteling, where employees reserve desks as needed.  

If they don't adapt quickly, they risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year due to poor space utilization. 

Without a single platform, it’s impossible to see the full picture of your real estate portfolio and identify opportunities for cost savings.

3. Planning office moves and consolidations

The move to hybrid work could reduce the overall need for office space by 15%, according to a recent CBRE analysis.

However, working with less space requires more strategic planning. As a result, more leaders are investing in software that helps them plan office moves and make adjustments as needed.

Consider what moving was like for one massive healthcare organization responsible for managing 165 hospitals and 115 surgery centers. Before implementing space and move management software, this organization worked with a drawing management company that would come to their offices once a year to map their facilities for move and space management purposes. 

The healthcare enterprise’s space consultant and facilities management team worked for 18 months to renovate and rebrand the workplace, but ultimately, the drawing management company couldn’t keep up with the healthcare organization’s expansion.

4. Managing workplace technology

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation for companies of all sizes.

It revealed the need for cloud-based solutions that help teams collaborate more efficiently, bridge the gap between remote and in-person employees, and consolidate multiple legacy systems into more unified platforms. 

Gartner predicts an 8% increase in IT spending globally in 2021 and 2022, compared to 2020.

As facilities managers implement new workplace technology, they'll continue to face challenges when it comes to integrating those solutions with their existing platforms and determining ROI.

5. Managing facility maintenance

Managing facility maintenance for multiple properties is difficult enough. It’s even more challenging if you have numerous ticketing systems for different types of service requests and different buildings. Add on the need for increased cleaning and more variable occupancy, and it becomes

The right facility management software makes this easy. Enterprise facilities managers can see all service requests from a single, mobile-friendly platform. They can also assign actions to their team, check the status, and receive automatic alerts when it’s time for preventative maintenance.

Facility management software that integrates with sensors also allows maintenance professionals to generate daily occupancy reports for more efficient cleaning. 

Facility Management Metrics

6. Rethinking the employee experience

Attracting and retaining top talent is becoming more difficult as we continue to adjust to a more distributed workforce and changes in employee expectations that brought on the "Great Recession." 

While many report high productivity working remotely, the lack of in-person interactions has weakened their relationships with colleagues. At a broader level, this has negatively impacted company culture for many organizations. When employees don’t feel strongly connected to their coworkers and their company at large, they often become disengaged and look for other opportunities. 

This was one unfortunate consequence of the pandemic. Verdantix noted nearly 3.4 million U.S. employees voluntarily left their jobs in July 2020. 

Many organizations are rethinking their employee experience to account for these challenges. They're spending more time thinking about how to create an environment that supports individual needs and preferences, whether employees work in the office daily or only on occasion. Instead of focusing only on office amenities, they're investing in broader initiatives that support employee wellness and mental health. 

How to rethink facilities management with a focus on employees

Ramzah Khan, a studio manager at Ware Malcomb in Washington, DC, discussed how these challenging are impacting workplace design and facilities management in a recent episode of The Workplace Innovator Podcast. 

The biggest trend to come out of the past few years is the fact that company leaders are finally approaching the workplace from an employee-centric perspective, she said. 

“At the end of the day, flexibility is not linear," she said. "It is personal to everyone and it continuously evolves." 

Technology that offers flexibility and empowers employees helps to solve new facilities management challenges as they emerge. With integrated workplace management software driving your decision-making and employee apps that make it easy for everyone to find the spaces and resources they need to be productive, you can set the foundation for smarter facilities management that puts your people first. 

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

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