What a year it has been for facility managers and building operators. These positions have had the task of completely transforming their facilities and workspaces to ensure safety protocols are always followed. In the past, energy efficiency and asset life cycle management were the top priorities of a Facilities Manager. But we are experiencing a transformation, where employee safety, disinfection, and workspace management are now at the forefront. Of course, energy efficiency and asset life cycle management are still important, but they will need to be more aligned with safety protocols and building occupation. For example, you may want to increase filtration and maintenance in highly occupied areas. Likewise, you may want to turn off the power in currently unoccupied spaces due to social distancing guidelines.
Today, I will discuss 4 Facilities Management trends that organizations can expect to see in 2021.
A Greater Emphasis on Optimizing Space Management
Space Management is becoming a top priority as employees slowly start returning to the workplace. The new goal for Facilities Managers is to find a way to maximize space, while still providing a safe and clean working environment.
The best way to manage your space is to understand how it is being utilized. Sensor technology and space monitoring will become essential in 2021 for Facilities Managers all over the globe. Today, organizations are already leveraging sensors to monitor occupancy, social distancing, cleaning regimes, traffic flow, and space utilization. As both interest and investment in IoT technology continue to grow, sensors are becoming more accurate, affordable, obtainable.
While sensors can benefit every organization, it crucial to understand how your specific environment can optimize sensor utilization. A great place to start would be reaching out to a Sensor Expert who can identify a strategy that works best for your specific environment. Even if you have already implemented sensor technology, it may be beneficial to speak with an expert to optimize your plan.
Sustainable & Resilient Buildings
The initiative to design Smart Green buildings is nothing new. However, COVID-19 exposed the reality that Green Design is only half of the sustainability effort. The other half is resilience, or how well your environment responds to shock.
Organizations that prioritize resilient strategies will help their stakeholders, vendors, managers, and employees mitigate damage and adequately adapt to serve events. Here are some steps organizations can take to improve resiliency:
- Identify and characterize current assets
- Assess current and emerging vulnerabilities and hazards
- Perform cost-benefit studies and establish a mitigation timeline
- Incorporate resiliency from the start
The decision to design Green & Resilient facilities has never been more important as it represents a crucial step in future-proofing assets against unexpected events. For this reason, it should be imperative for every Facilities Manager to begin their Green & Resilient transformation.
Digitization of Maintenance Processes
Similar to sustainable buildings, the digitization of maintenance processes is not a new concept. However, as a response to COVID-19, this has become more than an efficiency imperative and has transformed into a critical safety initiative.
We are experiencing an evolution in how maintenance and cleaning protocols are managed. An increasing number of organizations are adopting intelligent, need-based cleaning schedules. Facilities Managers need to directly align current occupancy and space utilization with their cleaning schedules. This allows them to rapidly clean spaces, as soon as they become unoccupied.
Digitization of all maintenance processes is not an easy task. But it is an inevitable task that can add tremendous long-term value to your organization. Organizations should seek out Facilities Management Solutions that offer both sensor technology and integrative dashboards for comprehensive management of all environments.
Outsourcing Facilities Management Services
Times of crisis and adversity will exacerbate vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Many organizations now recognize the importance of proper Facilities Management and the value that it can deliver to the workplace. Because of this, many organizations have begun looking at outsourcing to a professional Facilities Management company. This allows organizations to increase business productivity, optimize asset performance, and ensure all health and safety guidelines are met.
Many organizations can gain a strategic advantage by outsourcing Facilities Management. Here are some questions to ask as you consider outsourcing Facilities Management:
- Is there a competitive advantage of doing the task in-house?
- Does the task represent a temporary or recurring need?
- Can the task be handled more efficiently (concerning knowledge & costs) externally?
- Are the costs of the service lower than what it would cost in time and manpower to do in-house?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to create more value within your organization by outsourcing Facilities Management.