As 2019 draws to a close, we look ahead to what trends lay ahead. What global economic, societal and cultural forces are shaping the future of the facility management industry? Let’s look at what you need to consider to future-proof your businesses and secure long-term success.
1. Outsourcing and rising employment costs
First off, outsourcing of facilities management continues to increase in popularity. This trend is largely driven by the demand for both high-quality workplace experiences and reduced operating costs. This trend is further fuelled by the increased cost of employing in-house FM teams and the complex task of managing a large suite of services.
There is a lot of pressure on companies in the modern world to offer value to their customers, forcing them to constantly innovate and expand their core services to deliver more and more value. The consequence of this is often a reduction in their non-core FM budget, at the exact same time as employees and clients expect better workplaces experiences. Which is exactly what makes outsourcing such an attractive proposition.
2. Revolutionising technology and digitisation
Further to the previous point made about the rising cost of employment is the modern paradigm of technology, which is increasingly being used to improve efficiency and drive down costs. The first is Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, which are being adopted more and more in computing, internal building lighting and climate control.
The second aspect of technology that’s being employed by companies to reduce FM costs is that of robotics. Robotic automation is well-suited to both hazardous and repetitive tasks, with some FM executives choosing robots to fulfil cleaning and security roles. The operational savings that technology offers will likely see widespread adoption of IoT and robotic hardware in the coming decade.
3. Workplace personalisation and wellbeing
The productivity and wellbeing of employees have taken centre stage in recent years, with the value of happy, engaged staff being fully recognised. This has led to a trend in FM managers focusing on the creation of workplace strategies that actively promote the engagement, wellbeing and ultimately, the productivity of their staff.
These workplace strategies must adapt to an increasingly diverse workforce, personalising services to their distinct needs. A major part of the personalisation of the workspace is adapting to the priorities of a younger generation, with modern workers demanding climate-friendly food services, sustainable workplace designs and events that cater to a blurring of the home/work-life boundaries. What workers expect from their workplace has changed much in the past 20 years – and will continue to change rapidly. The facilities management sector will need to continue to evolve to meet tomorrow’s trends.
Essentially, outsourcing will continue to increase across all areas of industry, including aviation, banking, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing and the tech sector. The only point of uncertainty is where exactly the priorities of outsourcing customers will lie, as they seek to add value to their services.
Of course, cost is always going to be one of the main deciding factors, as this is usually what prompts companies to outsource their services in the first place. However, companies will also likely invest in premium services, as they see the competitive advantage of leading their industry in talent attraction and retention – and as studies provide more and more evidence for workplace experience impacting health, wellbeing and productivity.