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Facilities and Workplace Management Trends for 2024

Facilities and Workplace Management Trends for 2024
20 December 2023
 

As 2023 draws to a close, ThisWeekinFM reveals the facilities and workplace management industry’s trend predictions for next year.

 

Watch the Video

 


 

'Commute-Worthy’ Spaces

 

Simi Gandhi-Whitaker, Strategic Workplace and Technology Director, Mitie feels that given hybrid working has become the new norm, one of the biggest trends she’s seen over the past year has been the demand from customers to create “commute-worthy” spaces. 

“Customers are increasingly wanting to understand how occupiers are using their spaces to ensure they are great places to work with human-centric designs, under the mantra of ‘half the space, double the experience’. 

“Innovative technology has already been deployed to meet this challenge. Remote digital maintenance involves the collation of data from building equipment, like lighting and water, air quality and heating and ventilation systems, so that engineers can understand the performance of this equipment and pinpoint malfunctions, in real time, and from afar. This means they can prevent issues that could deter people from making full use of workspaces, before they arise.

“We are now taking this even further, with ‘digital twins’ - a technology which is still fairly new to the facilities management industry, but is set to gain momentum and transform the way that customers think about workspace design in 2024. Using the sensors in place around our customers’ buildings, we’re able to collate data and insights. Based on this insight, alongside input from colleagues, customers can now visualise and reimagine spaces in real time, in virtual reality. This immersive approach to designing forward-thinking workspaces enables increasingly intelligent decision-making and will ensure customers create the right types of spaces for the people using them – continuing to attract people back into the workplace.

 

"Facilities management is no longer enough to meet evolving customer needs. 2024 is brimming with opportunities to embrace technology that will lead the industry to shift from facilities management to facilities transformation and deliver safer, cleaner, more sustainable and more productive workspaces worth commuting to."

–Simi Gandhi-Whitaker

Strategic Workplace and Technology Director, Mitie

 

This is just one example of how technology will drive the industry to transform how it delivers its services over the coming year. Facilities management is no longer enough to meet evolving customer needs. 2024 is brimming with opportunities to embrace technology that will lead the industry to shift from facilities management to facilities transformation and deliver safer, cleaner, more sustainable and more productive workspaces worth commuting to. It’s definitely an exciting time for the sector.”

 

Housing – Regulations for Better Living Conditions

 

Looking at the UK housing landscape, David Webb, Managing Director of Property & FM at Totalmobile says that tenant satisfaction, housing conditions, fire safety, and carbon emissions targets will be centre stage in 2024, cumulating in a host of complex challenges for landlords and housing providers to tackle:

“Given the multitude of changes in this already challenging environment, it is imperative to explore new solutions that can effectively manage demands and facilitate a meaningful transformation of an already exceedingly stretched sector and workforce.

“The introduction of the Social Housing Bill in 2023 has ushered in an era of proactive regulation aimed at ensuring improved living conditions for tenants. Landlords are now under increased scrutiny for issues such as safety, transparency, and tenant engagement. In a sector where the burden of regulatory compliance is ever mounting, streamlined operations can be a real game-changer. Housing providers and landlords should look to achieve regulatory requirements by facilitating regular, direct communication with tenants and utilise innovative tools that can help transform how inspections, repairs, and maintenance operations are carried out. This will not only encourage engagement and transparency but also improve the living experience of those in social housing 

“It is worth noting that the link between tenant satisfaction and provider success should not be overlooked. The dual role of managing needs effectively– meeting regulatory demands while enriching social housing communities - can be both used as a measure of success and a catalyst for continual improvement.

 

Indoor Air Quality

 

Previously a lesser-known part of the conversation surrounding air pollution, general awareness of indoor air quality has been increasing and is set to continue this upward trend in 2024. 

Giles Morgan, Senior Category Engineer – RDD Design Engineering at Dyson said: “Dyson’s Air Purity Pulse Check survey shows that nearly half of people polled think that indoor air quality is more important than that outdoors. In addition, over half of those surveyed say that they are concerned about poor air quality impacting their health with the majority having become more concerned about this in the past three years. This topic is increasingly at the forefront of people’s minds, paired with increased reporting of it in the current news cycle. 

“As consumers become more concerned about the air they breathe, businesses need to ensure that they are making a concerted effort to improve it in the shared spaces they are providing and are creating not only a better working environment for all, but also improving productivity of those in the space.”

“Over the last year, we have seen major air pollution events such as the wildfires in North America. These made what is usually an invisible threat, visible and demonstrated the dangers of air pollution. This has contributed to an increased awareness on the topic, as guidance included installing air purifiers and avoiding going outside. There is a continued risk of pollution events, and businesses need to increase their understanding and awareness of this problem and have response plans in place to safeguard their indoor air quality.

“By investing in better indoor air quality all-year round, despite major pollution events, businesses take an ‘always on’ approach to protecting staff wellbeing and productivity.”

 

Smart Lighting/Smart Everything

 

Dan Hollenkamp, COO of building technology solutions provider Toggled, predicts that public sector buildings will be forced to do more to get buildings operating more efficiently to take pressure off the grid. He explained: “The challenge isn’t about generating the energy, it’s about managing the loads. The threat of blackouts when extreme weather hits, such as the ice storm that hit Texas in January 2021, is keeping officials and utility executives up at night. An effective way to get buildings energy smart is to make it financially smart to do so. We expect the public sector to make a big push toward getting buildings to at least take the first, easy steps towards energy efficiency by offering more widespread and significant rebates and tax credits on installing LED lighting, networked lighting controls, and other connected devices.

“In the year ahead, more building owners and managers will wake up to the reality that the most sustainable building is the one that already exists. Even if a new structure is built with the most energy-efficient technology, it will likely never be able to offset the waste and carbon emissions that come with tearing down and rebuilding in its lifetime. Instead, more organisations will come to terms with the common sense practice of retrofitting their existing real estate with more efficient lighting and smart building management software to optimise their energy efficiency for future needs and requirements.”

Picture: a photograph of a desktop screen of a PC, showing two folders: one labelled with 2023 and the other labelled with 2024 Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 December 2023

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