Changes in multiple domains are combining to fundamentally influence the workplace. You can expect this trend to gain momentum as fiscal health strengthens and companies begin to deploy capital on projects that they see as positioning themselves for the future. While not all organizations will deal with all of these factors, rare will be the one that escapes change.
Factors Driving Workplace Changes
Recent economic experience has increased the already existing emphasis on improving process outcomes. As momentum shifts to a broader recovery companies will increase the flow of capital to projects and initiatives in this domain. Attention to service delivery processes, supply chain management, and increasing customer satisfaction are high on the list. The Quality – Cost – Time mantra of process improvement will be exercised in every nook and cranny of operations.
The expanding influence of technology growth in FM is being felt as interoperability between disparate systems allows FM’s to collect, analyze and act on increasing amounts of data. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) are now linked hand in hand with more traditional FM technologies such as CAFM, Building Automation Systems (BAS) and others.
The well documented generational shift continues as Millennials now make up 34% of the American work force, moving beyond 50% within the next five years. With these new workers come new desires, values and needs. They have leverage and they know it, and are not afraid to use it. They care more about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and work life balance, and less about the normal rules and trappings of the traditional workplace than their older coworkers, and are voting these values with their employer choices.
Finally, office space is shrinking as described in recent independent CoreNet and JLL studies. Again, multiple forces are at work here. Financial constraints, the effects of a virtual and mobile work force, increased use of collaboration technology, and different value sets of the aforementioned younger work force are all contributing to this shift.
What Should FM’s be Doing?
The demands on FM to adapt to the increased speed, complexity, flexibility and innovation of today’s workplace are as numerous and pressing as the factors driving the changes. There is much to do and it must be done in an era of fiscal constraint where dollars, people and other resources are usually far less than we might suspect we need. That means we must find a way and that we must help lead the dialogue that will result in resource decisions.
Actions that support strategic change in both FM internal operations and in support of other business units include,
- Deploy technologies that streamline 24/7 work globally
- Stay informed on the growing body of “evidence based design” knowledge
- Modify space entitlement policies to reflect changing fiscal and work style realities
- Deliver work spaces that meet new needs and expectations
- Manage real estate portfolios to limit financial risk
- Envision, promote and implement FM productivity and quality improvements
- Utilize best practices in re-designing work processes (Lean, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement)
- Understand corporate KPI’s and develop direct linkages using the language of the business
- Recruit, train and mentor the next generation of FM professionals
And oh yeah…keep the boiler room running at higher efficiency and lower cost.
How Do We Do All of That?
First and foremost we do it by investing in ourselves. We find ways to increase the knowledge and skill sets of FM staff from the bottom to the top of the organization; providing challenges, education and training. We do it by expecting the best of our people and supporting them as they reach to meet the expectations.
We do it by increasing our business sophistication and credibility, leading to enhanced opportunities to dialogue with and influence executive leadership. We do it by being objective in our analysis of capabilities and needs, and in taking necessary steps to improve the overall performance and value of FM.
We do it by being aware of the changes around us and ahead of us, by translating them into FM risks and opportunities, and by creating solutions that improve not only the FM domain but which also serve to improve the enterprise.
We do it by leading.