THE FOUR FACILITY MANAGEMENT TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018

From focusing on employee and customer wellness, to utilising the latest in innovative technologies, 2018 already looks to be one of the best yet for facility managers – read on to find out what are the biggest trends set to dominate the industry next year.

Customer and Employee Wellness

Following the news that BIFM – the professional body for facilities management - published a new guide earlier in the year outlining how facility managers can ensure that every client has a positive customer experience, it comes as no surprise that customer wellness is set to be one of the biggest trends of 2018.

BIFM's Good Practice Guide outlines the need for FMs to adopt a holistic approach to customer experience - providing a plethora of information and advice on how exactly to improve the customer journey from start to finish.

The focus on wellness is also associated with making improvements to facilities and internal environments, which is shown to have a positive effect on employee's health, wellbeing and general productivity. From making changes to light, to reducing the impact of noise, FMs are now increasingly being tasked with improving facilities, making them healthier and more comfortable workplaces.

Technology

Technology already plays a vital part in the world of facilities management, and is an area which continues to innovate and evolve; creating new opportunities for FMs to improve the efficiency of their services.

The following are just a few of the technology advances that FMs can expect to see in 2018:

  • Virtual Reality (VR): this will save time and reduce costly errors, helping FMs become more competitive by operating on tighter margins.
  • Flexible Displays: with further development, tablets or smartphones could be wrapped around an operative's arm to provide greater freedom and manoeuvrability.
  • Smart Wi-fi: this will allow a greater number of devices to use the network without losing speed, even in public areas like airports or stadiums.
  • IoT Data: as smart buildings transition towards smart cities, FMs must gain the maximum potential from the data gathered and use it not only to reduce costs but also to improve the user's experience in the building.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are always in demand, year in year out and it is vital that FMs realise the opportunities which come with teaching the next generation of workers; this includes not only improving productivity and profitability, but also filling skills gaps in the current and future workforce.

It is a well-known fact that there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK construction industry, and by investing in training programmes, as well as providing workers with the tools and resources needed to learn, FMs can not only help support the next generation, but also play a vital part in closing the gap.

Health and Safety

As mentioned in technology trends of 2018, IoT is a concept that enables a variety of different devices, users and systems to communicate and collaborate wirelessly via the internet, using just IP addresses. This system, however, can also be connected to related systems across the building it is placed in.

A sprinkler system, for example, can be linked to smoke detection and building access control systems. When the detector produces an alarm signal, it automatically communicates to the fire sprinkler system, which in turn, activates the building access control system. This then ensures a safe and quick exit for occupants of the building. Interconnected systems fitted by FMs like this will be vital in ensuring the safety of staff working in large and sprawling sites.

Increasing pressure from health and safety regulatory bodies will also ensure that FMs should undertake regular Health and Safety Summits. For example, IOSH creates safer and healthier working environments for employers and employees. Completing the IOSH course will improve productivity amongst teams, ensuring that managers, supervisors and staff understand and incorporate the latest health and safety guidance into business practices.