Get to know the four workplace archetypes in an FM’s future

The FM industry’s role varies across organisational environments. Discover the four workplace archetypes: Hierarchy, Marketplace, Adhocracy and Clan Village rule.

Driven by the introduction of disruptive technologies, intensifying battle of talents, fierce global competition, and a greater focus on sustainability - CEOs, workplace designers, and architects are changing the way they plan for and develop workplace strategies. Workplaces of the future will be increasingly global, smart, collaborative and sustainable. Yet, most workplaces today however, are not designed to efficiently or effectively evolve as the dynamics of core organizations’ businesses change. In order to help customers and FM providers assess FM’s role in future workplace strategies, four future workplace archetypes have been developed on varying dimensions of centralisation, partnership willingness and orientation which will dictate the kind of role the FM will play in the organization.


Hierarchy’s “ability to solve”

Centralised stability, order and control with low willingness to partner and internally oriented.

A formalized and structured workplace environment, where the workplace leader is a manager who focuses efficiently running their unit. Risk willingness is relatively low, and there must be a well-defined business case prior to taking major initiatives. The manager seeks tried and tested solutions. Success is measured in terms of: dependable delivery, smooth structured scheduling, and low cost.

The FM providers’ role in the Hierarchy’s ability to solve will be to:

  • Remain in line with the strategic considerations of the core organization via leadership interviews
  • Participate in the organizational workplace analysis of existing units
  • Participate in space analyses and develop goals and objectives... and more

Market place’s “cluster node”

Centralised stability, order and control with high willingness to partner and externally oriented.

The workplace that in the “cluster node” is a highly competitive one, led by a leader who is results-oriented. The leader is a person willing to take risks, establish goals and measures, and who is willing to take decisive action if the organization is falling short. The organization is driven by developing its reputation and success, and is constantly looking for competitive advantages. The organization seeks to locate itself in areas that are most attractive to talents. They seek locations that have a good combination of amenities and where there are other, equally talented, organizations.

The FM providers’ role in the cluster node will be to:

  • Assist the core organization in controlling who has access to resources among an increasingly complex network of full-time and part-time workers, suppliers, customers, etc.
  • Manage access to co-working, co-housing, and collaborative infrastructures including shared workspaces, cars, canteens and health facilities
  • Manage the smart building’s inputs to smart neighbourhood concepts... and more

Adhocracy’s “distributed office”

Decentralised, flexible and dynamic with high willingness to partner and externally oriented.

The organization that operates in this very unpredictable strategic environment values flexibility, adaptability, and thrives in chaos. This organization will be more likely to make a trade-off between operational efficiency in favour of maximum strategic flexibility. The workplace in an adhocracy organization is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and creative. Profit lies in finding opportunities to develop new products, services, and relationships. There is little expectation that these advantages will last.

The FM providers’ role in the distributed office will be to:

  • Assist the core organization in rapidly adjusting its physical footprint as competitive demands require
  • Manage space optimization tools of all leased or rented resources, including office hotels
  • Provide service concepts that assist employees as they move between offices and third workspaces... and more

Clan’s “village” rule

Decentralised, flexible and dynamic with low willingness to partner and internally oriented.

This organization is highly adaptive, and the office environment is friendly and family-like. Employees are mentored by the workplace manager who acts as a parental-figure. The workplace values commitment, loyalty, flexibility and sacrifice. The organization also strives to build strong relationships based on trust with suppliers, customers and the local community. Relationships with suppliers are not entered into lightly as they are built up over a long period of time and often include ethical codes of conduct.

The FM providers’ role in the Clan’s village rules will be to:

  • Remain attuned to the strategic considerations of the core organization
  • Develop formalized structures for employee input and participation into workplace design and maintenance
  • Develop and maintain office designs that enhance employee collaboration and enhance opportunities for meetings with other units (clans) in the organization... and more

As you can see, the FM industry’s role is qualitatively different in each of the four archetypes. Although differences arise, the FM providers should provide anticipatory customer services to be successful beyond 2020. And in order to do so, the role of the FM should be to become proactively engaged with their customers and remain in tune with the strategy of the core organizations. Active engagement with creative and innovative resourcefulness will be the key to delivering new service concepts that help companies fulfil their brand promises and create internal gains for the FM provider.

“They will have to begin managing the workplace as an experience and not just as a facility.” -- ISS Vision 2020, New Ways of Working

What do you think of the four workplace archetypes? Do you see your clients fitting into each of the workplace environments, and if so - have you considered what the FM function’s role in each workplace strategy should be? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This blog post is based on the ISS 2020 Vision: New Ways of Working whitebook.