It’s that time of the year again… our annual round-up of what comes next! After a year of enormous challenges and adapting to a “new normal”, our team reunited again to predict the biggest trends and challenges for Facility Management in 2022. Will we be back to business as usual after COVID-19? Or should facility managers invest in long-term solutions, instead of last year’s “make dos”?
Hybrid work and space usage
It’s fair to say we’re no longer the same after the COVID-19 pandemic. Workdays will probably never go back to what they were, and all signs point towards hybrid work. Workers will come to work a few times a week, and work remotely for the remainder of the time. Since people stop coming to work everyday, companies will require less office space and may adopt a “hot-desk” policy.
In fact, workers are not the only ones who may benefit from these changes. A recent report by Deloitte points out that reducing real estate footprints has several benefits, including cutting travel costs, energy consumption, and the carbon footprint. However, optimising these limited work spaces is a challenge for Facility Managers. There’s only one way around it: monitoring how space is used.
This brings us to a new trend: location awareness and sensor technology. Sensors, which should be unnoticeable, can be used to monitor occupancy, room temperature and humidity, etc. That data allows facility managers to adjust to real space usage, optimise space and provide comfort at all times. We further explored what Facility Management will look like after COVID-19 here.
Digital workplace services
Data from sensors can be collected directly onto the building management system or facility management software. But that’s not the only digital trend Facility Managers will need to contend with. User experience is the greatest trend of the last decade, and human-centric FM and Maintenance will grow even more with Industry 5.0. The question is, how can you provide a great experience in hybrid workplaces?
First, we recommend integrating facility management software with other tools or apps the company uses regularly. For example, integrate your FM software with apps to book conference or meeting rooms, use communication tools to receive feedback, and so on. You should also streamline service requests (e.g. reports about printers, broken coffee machines and other communal equipment).
Sustainability and building efficiency
Another hot topic for 2022 is sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic put into evidence how much pollution is generated by other day to day activities. This prompted several organisations, including the OECD, to call for a “sustainable post-COVID recovery”. But, for facility managers, sustainability hides several challenges: paperless operations, building efficiency, and better waste management.
The good news is that sensors help with this task too. Sensor data can be used to optimise operations and save costs – for example, you detect when and where you’re wasting the most energy. But you can also use motion sensors to connect and disconnect lights, which is one of the simplest ways to save energy and electricity.
But, of course, cost-saving based on optimisation and appropriate maintenance only goes so far. If your reports show there’s nothing else where you can cut without compromising comfort, it’s time to benchmark your building’s energy consumption. You can then use that data and reports to justify retrofitting the building’s thermal envelope and improve its insulation.
The benefits of proactive maintenance (either preventive or predictive) are clear. There’s no other way to solve issues before your clients become aware of them! But easier said than done, right? As incredible as it sounds, proactive maintenance may finally come as a byproduct of all the trends we’ve seen so far. If facility managers give in to the latest technology and start collecting data, they can achieve some kind of predictability.
Once you have that predictability, your maintenance plan can become more proactive and even more incisive. There’s less overmaintenance and fewer repairs. As we’ve recently talked about with Cláudio Celino, an engineer who specialises in building maintenance, you need to use data and software to “finally stabilise the amount of preventive maintenance” and “reduce the number of repairs” at the same time.
However, those are not the only advantages. Companies are still recovering from the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. And, as we all know, in times of crisis, facility management may be one of the first departments to suffer a budget cut. That means it’s more important than ever to have predictability and find out which maintenance tasks can be deferred until the budget allows.
Wherever you look, it seems like “data” is the key. It’s what allows managers to adjust to hybrid work and optimise resources – or, in more managerial words, cut costs. Operational changes may have started out of need during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it looks like most of them are here to stay. So a last word of advice: make sure you’re prepared for 2022 with the right technology!
Remote & Automated: What’s Next for Facility Management?
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