6 Trends in Facility Management, part 2


Thanks for stopping by in my 2nd blog post in the “Facility Management Blog Series.” 

My name is Pieter Hendrikx and I am the Industry Lead Professional Services & Utilities at Nextview.  

What trends will impact the future of Facility Management? Last week I introduced the first 3 out of 6 trends that are going on in Facility Management. In this second blog, I will discuss the “Greater emphasis on employee experience and wellness,” “Growing capabilities of AI & Robotics,” and “Future proof property management.”

Please read on and let me know your thoughts!

Greater emphasis on employee experience and wellness

In the past, an office was a place where you would enter at 9 AM and leave at 5 PM. As long as there was a desk and a coffee vending machine, the employees would be satisfied. The typical cubicle or closed office environment would apply. 

Nowadays, the general trend which has already started years and years ago is to have the overall employee experience as a strategic differentiator as part of the employer and company branding. In the past, only the “cool” Google or Facebook type of companies would need to provide such a working environment with facilities like in-house gyms, soccer tables, or video game rooms to relax your employees’ minds for a moment. Today, the expectations for such experiences are commoditizing at a rapid pace. 

Employees more and more expect this kind of facility and will take them into serious consideration when evaluating their next employer. This trend opens up opportunities (and challenges, of course) for FM companies that have to be able to adapt to this trend and to deliver the continually changing and evolving expectations around employee workplaces. 

Where it began with fast wifi and maybe an in-house Starbucks, the modern FM concept will have to stretch this to the next level. Think about bringing it from a premium physical environment to further shaping and supporting physical and mental wellness. This could include FM programs and facilities around (healthy) nutrition or, relaxation and meditation. 

Growing capabilities of AI & Robotics

With the increasing volume and diversity of available data on the one hand and the decreasing cost of high-tech capabilities like AI & robotics on the other, new opportunities and expectations arise to further shape a premium experience for people visiting and working at your offices.

Imagine you’re driving towards your weekly sales meeting at your distribution partners’ office, and you enter the parking lot. AI technology in the camera recognizes your license plate and connects this data to your guest registration. Your host at the company could be notified fully automatically via the internal messaging platform about your estimated arrival even before you have parked your car. 

Automations like that will result in not having to wait at the reception desk but being welcomed in a friendly way by your host, once you enter the building. Your host is even holding your favorite Double Chocolaty Chippy Creme Triple Flavor Frappuccino because the smart coffee vending machine has your coffee profile stored and is connected to the integrated FM system platform. Trends like these are no longer the future but already possible today. 

Other examples of using AI & Robotics might be to use image recognition capabilities in cleaning robots. They will clean your office overnight, utilizing office-building data about what specific parts of the building have been used the most over the past 24 hours, integrating data from your meeting room booking system and catering booking systems. These systems can identify, for example, cake delivery, which might result in messy meeting rooms, guiding your cleaning focus in the right direction to ensure that your building is top-notch and all set for the next day again. 

Safety is another critical aspect. Think about AI-enabled robots or drones that can inspect or even clean your building at dangerous heights instead of your valued employees. 

In general, we can state that with the growing capabilities of AI and robotic technologies, the FM service providers can provide the same services against lower cost, lower risk for employees, and design new services leveraging these new technologies. 

Future proof property management

This trend is all about flexibility. How flexible does your property management need to be when employee expectations about workspaces are changing, shifting and evolving constantly. 

And how do you manage to meet evolving requirements about office and legislation about building sustainability scores?

Some years ago, the trend was that people would want to work from home more often. At that time, costly square meters were not used. A flexible FM organization would be able to create co-working spaces for other companies within the same building, to lower cost and to utilize available square meters and turn them into rental income. 

Today, this again seems to be shifting towards people who want to spend more time in the office and will visit your premises more frequently. How to deal with this unpredictability about working culture? Concrete buildings are not so flexible that they can be stretched up and down or left and right to shift and meet your employee expectations. 

For Facility Management, it is essential to have a clear property management strategy that supports changing requirements. Property management is no longer about owning a building. It is about the ability to support employee flexibility & sustainability and to incorporate this into the property management strategy.

Closing words

Knowing what trends are going on in the FM market, it would be interesting to better understand what challenges actual FM companies are facing today. That will be the main subject of my next blog! 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next blog in the “Facility Management Blog Series.”

If you would like to discuss these trends and how these trends impact your company. Feel free to send an email to Pieter via pieter.hendrikx@nextview.nl