April 5, 2019

Macro influences such as demographics, technology and social changes are transforming the way the workplace is viewed as well as what people expect from it. As the perception of facilities changes from “management” to brand extensions, it is creating immense potential for facilities managers to enhance their strategic value. Facilities managers are increasingly acting as brand custodians and are now more closely aligned to the core business strategy.

As a result, the FM or Property Management sector is undergoing a transformation, with new trends permeating every level of its functionalities. Consequently, there is a new risk potential at nearly every step; therefore, the Facilities Management sector will have to develop and implement innovative strategies to prevent these potential risks as well as their costs.

Emerging Trends in Facilities Management/ Property Management-Integration between Property and Facilities Management:

As the focus of FM diversifies from solely assets or buildings to include user experience and business outcomes, several organizations are bringing advisory and transaction services, facility management and project services under one-supplier and point of control. In the past, many companies worked with different providers, with each looking after a particular service offering. However, this practice resulted in complex and fragmented outsourcing models. Due to this, businesses are now realizing the importance of integrated processes wherein everything, from facilities management to advisory and transaction services, project management and energy consulting, has a single point of authority and control.

India is now fast picking up pace in adopting these integrated processes to ensure operational efficiency. As a result, most prominent real estate developers and occupiers now prefer experienced corporate FM professionals/service providers who meet international standards, leading to a surge in their demand.

Changing Supplier-Client Relationship:

The evolution of how people are communicating, increasing pressure on business transparency, and growing reliance on data are factors that are changingthe landscape of how customers are selecting and working with bespoke integrated facilities management solutions. Growing focus on user experience is altering the client-supplier relationship as clients are increasingly selecting suppliers with the intention of building partnerships and developing a platform for collaboration and innovation.

Nowadays, companies want to select the right partner to ensure cultural alignment from the start. Further, the move towards integration and greater alignment is lengthening the duration of contracts, which provide greater flexibility to suppliers to meet the changing priorities of their clients. While longer contract durations mean supply partners must be willing to take on more risk, they do allow greater investments and ability to drive cost-saving initiatives.

Adding “Agile” to the Workplace

Flexible working has become a widespread practice in modern workplaces. People’s expectations from the amenities and services that companies provide are increasing at a quick pace. Employees now want a high-quality workplace experience which makes their lives easier and is tailored to suit their needs. Technology now enables employees to work from anywhere, which has changed the way the workplace looks and feels as well as the way in which FM services are delivered.

There is also growing interest in managed workspace and co-working, whose use is expected to increase substantially in the next three years.

Technology Comes into Play

Technology is redefining the workplace; this includes changing how real estate and building facilities are being used. It has enabled companies to digitize processes and make data-driven decisions about how to manage and use space. Digital systems are now increasingly becoming embedded in organizations across the world, including in India, and helping companies revolutionize the way they manage and use offices, manufacturing sites, warehouses, etc. These digitized workspaces have provided FM service providers an opportunity to take on a more strategic role by enabling them to improve services and advise companies on creating spaces that can help them retain and attract the right talent.Mobility is a key determinant for how spaces are planned today, and the rise of smartphones and connected buildings brings great opportunity for efficiency, making it easier for employees to report faults and seek speedy resolution. Further, companies are increasingly using computers, sensors, and data to expand and streamline existing FM functions.

Thanks to technology, the role of facilities managers is now evolving from merely processing orders for desk moves or responding to complaints about faulty fittings, to using data and analytics to predict space demand, save energy, and keep the equipment running. This concept is expected to give way to IoT-connected smart buildings in the coming years.  The next step after the adoption of smart building technology is expected to be artificial intelligence (AI).

Focus on Employee Wellness Redefining Workplace Design

Wellness is particularly close to the hearts of millennials who have a high commitment to health and wellbeing. As a result, organizations are increasingly investing more in the health and well-being of their employees, with facilities managers being required to drive most of these wellness initiatives. These days, there is mounting pressure on FM professionals to provide wellness programmes that boost productivity, attract talent and reduce sickness and absenteeism.

It’s not hard to see why these programmes are growing in popularity. Apart from supporting the wellness of employees, they bring benefits for business. CBRE’s Healthy Offices research suggests that there is a direct relationship between wellness measures and the bottom line, as they can improve employee productivity by an average of 10 per cent, and as much as 45 per cent in certain cases.

In India now; slowly but steadily the role of FM providers is becoming more strategic and long term, driven by an increased focus on the user experience and business outcomes. As technology and changing attitudes drive an increased sophistication in facilities management, its people are playing a much more important role. The next generation of real estate professionals will be more attuned to a client’s overall needs, not just focused on managing assets or reducing costs. Real estate services are becoming increasingly integrated, and this, combined with advances in technology, is allowing a personalised, enhanced experience for the end user.

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