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The Latest Trends In Facilities Management For 2022

by James McDonald on November 24, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work as much as the Industrial Revolution or the advent of the Internet. It accelerated the increase in remote work and the gig economy while elevating the emphasis on flexibility, the employee experience, and physical and mental health. The latest trends in facilities management reflect these changing priorities and the need to adopt new policies and technology to support them. 

See how the latest workplace technology trends will impact your organization.

Here are 10 facility management trends you need to know to prepare for the coming year. 

The latest trends in facility management

1. An increasingly distributed workforce

Just two years ago, teams of a dozen people might meet in the same room several times a week. Now, entirely in-person meetings are becoming a lot less common as work becomes more distributed across different locations and time zones.  CBRE research shows 87% of large companies are adopting a hybrid work strategy where employees work remotely at least part of the time. This means facilities managers need to rethink how much office space they really need and be more strategic about space management. They also need to invest in technology that supports hybrid collaboration. 

2. A growing reliance on flexible office space 

In a January PwC survey, 31% of business leaders said they anticipate reducing their office space, while 56% actually plan to increase it.  However, that doesn't mean they're necessarily expanding their corporate headquarters. In the same survey, 58% said they planned to open more locations, such as satellite offices in suburbs that are closer to where people live to encourage more in-person collaboration. 

Adam Stoltz, firmwide director of consulting at HOK, says the "hub-home-spoke" model is a good way to think about flexible office space. The central office remains the "hub" for team building activities, training, and mentorship opportunities that support a strong company culture, while coworking spaces can serve as "spokes" that help employees connect in smaller groups between home and the office. 

“Access is the new ownership,” Stoltz said. “If you don’t need to own it, then don’t. Consider leveraging the community, shared economy, or emerging membership models to meet your needs.”

3. Increased adoption of office hoteling

A September 2020 CBRE survey found that although 57% of workplaces had assigned seating prior to the pandemic, only 10% plan to continue assigned seating in the future. Instead, many are embracing hot desking or office hoteling. While hot desking allows employees to claim any available seat, hoteling offers more certainty by requiring reservations. Employees can make reservations on an as-needed basis, which may be a few times a week, month, or quarter.

This improves space utilization and offers the potential to reduce real estate costs by consolidating office space. 

4. A more personalized employee experience

Employees have grown accustomed to the flexibility of working remotely with all the comforts of home or their favorite cafe. They've been able to structure their day in the way that works best for them. As they return to the office, they want an environment that supports their personal work style, rather than having to adjust their habits to fit the workplace. They want to connect with their colleagues in meaningful ways while still having access to quiet places where they can concentrate. To keep up with this emerging facilities management trend, workplace leaders need to adopt a hospitality mindset and think about how they can provide the technology, services, and amenities each individual needs to do their best work. 

Many workplaces are beginning to address this need with employee experience apps that allow people to stay connected to their workplace and find people, reserve spaces, request service and receive mail or visitors.

“Increasingly people want to choose where and when they work and they look to the workplace – wherever that may be – to deliver much more in the way of service and amenities…All of which means that facilities management is transforming from an asset, building, and plant-centered activity to one which focuses on end-users and outcomes.”

--Ian Entwisle, CEO, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions

5. A greater emphasis on employee health and wellness

Health and wellness programs are evolving from a “nice to have” perk to an essential employee benefit. The pandemic reinforced the need to limit the spread of viruses through social distancing, wellness screenings, and contact tracing, as well as the need to increase cleaning and sanitation

We're also seeing an increased focus on employee mental health. 

Workplace leaders should consider expanding benefits and employee assistance programs if they haven't already and make sure their team knows how to access them. 

Employee wellness programs increase productivity by 10 percent on average and as much as 45 percent in some cases. (CBRE’s Healthy Offices research)

6. Investing in smart building technology

The use of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to increase, with IDC predicting there will be over 41.6 billion connected devices by 2025.  In the workplace, smart building technology is already helping facilities managers create a more comfortable, energy-efficient environment, manage building systems and assets, and plan for future needs. 

For instance, the global headquarters of Johnson Controls, a strategic partner for CBRE, integrates the control and optimization of building functions ranging from fire protection, security, and asset tracking systems, as well as lighting management, HVAC maintenance, and smart parking.

Occupancy sensors also help facilities leaders gather real-time data on which rooms and desks are available and make it easier to forecast future space needs.

workplace technology maturity

7. Increased use of building information modeling 

Building information modeling (BIM) software maps the physical aspects of a building throughout its life cycle, from design and construction to ongoing maintenance. This allows architects and facilities leaders to plan smarter buildings from the ground up and take a more proactive approach to repairs. With data from BIM software, they can reduce costs, improve efficiency, reduce safety risks, and enhance facilities management.  BIM is now required for all public sector projects in the UK, and we can expect more organizations to adopt it globally in the coming year. 

8. Data analytics will drive decisions

As smart building technology rises to the forefront of the latest trends in facilities management,  data analytics will play a larger role in decision-making. 

With more accurate data about average occupancy, peak occupancy, and which spaces employees use, corporate real estate executives and workplace leaders can make more strategic decisions about how much space to lease and how to adjust their floor plans to support different scenarios.  

“By 2025 data analytics will be critical for addressing costs and performance. 75% of occupiers cite data as key to achieving strategic real estate goals.”     --CBRE, Top trends in facilities management

See how space management software makes this easy.

 

9. Emerging technologies will enhance productivity and collaboration

In the metaverse, technologies that use artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality will help to bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical workplace.

Instead of talking to their colleagues on a two-dimensional screen, employees could interact with three-dimensional avatars in a shared space that more closely resembles the physical office. They could shake hands with a haptic glove or tour a facility with a VR headset that gives them a more immersive experience. While we're still years away from this reality, companies are already investing in the technologies that will make it possible — and smart leaders are paying attention.

10. The consolidation of workplace technology

Companies will continue to simplify their software and technology as mergers and acquisitions occur. This consolidation will streamline processes and reduce the size of workplace technology stacks. 

Rather than implementing dozens of single solutions, workplace leaders will look for integrated workplace experience management systems that connect many different technologies and data sources for a more seamless employee experience and more holistic reporting. 

To learn more about how the changing workplace technology landscape will impact your organization, check out this webinar featuring Verdantix research director Susan Clarke. 

How these facility management trends will impact your workplace 

In the coming year, we'll see the acceleration of facility management trends that have been slowly building over the past several years.

Nearly every aspect of facilities management is shifting to have a greater focus on connecting the people who work in the industry and those who are impacted by it. What these facility management trends demonstrate is both employers and service providers are transitioning from prioritizing the transactional to the experiential. 

As new partnerships, technology, and other facility management trends continue to reshape the workforce, facility managers will be expected to take on more strategic roles. They will need to consider how these elements can be best utilized to bring the greatest value to the workplace. And they will need to find a balance between the seemingly conflicting priorities of managing costs while prioritizing the employee experience. 

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