IEC Article: How ‘New Ways of Working’ affect our use of facilities.

112By Morten Kamp Andersen (Aspector) & Peter Ankerstjerne (ISS)

How we work has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. This has impacted our use of facilities, as they support how we work. The effect on facilities, CRE and FM will be equally significant. Customers must understand these changes, and together with their external suppliers, be ready to adapt to New Ways of Working.

The workspace has undergone dramatic change during the last decade, but this is as nothing compared to how ‘New Ways of Working’, new organisational structures and telecommuting will impact the work environment as we know it in the near future.

This dramatic change will significantly impact the demand for new workspaces and hence it will impact the Facility Management industry. Four mega-trends are the primary drivers behind this change: the rise of knowledge workers; the burst of new technology; Generation Y entering the job market; and globalisation.

The New Ways of Working are characterised by being creative project-based work, group- and team-based, conducted in multiple locations, including home and local coffee shops, and with communication tools playing a significant role. This means that offices will be built with shared workstations and drop-desks, and as flexible rooms with multiple functions.

One of the major questions in the FM industry today is how the Facility Manager will seize this opportunity and support the organisations in unleashing the potential that New Ways of Working have to offer. Will the FM organisations respond by working more strategically, focusing on added value instead of playing a pure cost-savings game, and how will they leverage technology? The function of FM must grow into information provision, focus on space utilisation and support the core business of the c-suite with a unique and compelling value proposition.

These demands can only be met by FM through careful selection of, and strategic alignment with, external suppliers who can access the latest developments and international best practices, as well as utilising resources to focus on what is core for the company, including how to attract and retain talent for the future – outsourcing will naturally play a key role in realising the full potential of FM.

Our workplaces will change

Work is what you do – it is not a place you go to. This may seem obvious, but historically, work and the workplace have been tied so closely together that the two have seemed to be the same thing.

Workplaces will move from being ‘big dumb buildings’ to being active elements in companies’ strategy around people, performance and sustainability. Paradoxically, although technology makes it possible to work from anywhere, workplaces (and workspaces) will become far more important than they are today. This is precisely because many employees are working across spatial and temporal boundaries, which makes the availability of intelligent and responsive services so important (Duffy, 2008). This will be the case regardless of industry, organisational structure or culture.

The changes in how we work and where we carry out our work are bound to have significant effects on corporate real estate strategies, facility management and what customers are looking for from their service providers. Corporate real estate will become more strategic in the future and  customers will demand more strategic approaches from their services providers, not just to deliver what customers are demanding but increasingly to help them understand how they should meet the challenge of their workforce. FM is – to borrow an old phrase – moving out of the basement and into the boardroom; or, at least, it has the opportunity to do so.

Published by EuroFM

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