Key Trends for 2022 in Facilities Management
Since the beginning of 2020, external factors have compounded the difficulty of maximising the efficiency of a complex estate. With ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, Facilities Managers have had to be adaptable and flexible in their approach to make their estate compliant with restrictions. Additional regulations limiting carbon emissions and changing attitudes towards hybrid working have resulted in a tumultuous two years in the industry.
This adaptability will be an important trait as we move into 2022, with the rapid changes that have taken place over the past two years beginning to settle in and a longer-term picture emerging.
As a leading Facilities Management organisation, Bellrock has been at the forefront of these industry changes, working closely with organisations across multiple sectors, gaining an intimate understanding of the variety of pain points they experience when planning their estates strategy.
Here are eight key trends we predict will impact the industry in 2022:
Focus on Health & Wellness
Although a focus on mental health and well-being was already gathering momentum pre-pandemic, the initial lockdown in 2020 saw this become a prime focus. With employees continuing to work from home to varying degrees, organisations have introduced vital measures to maintain the mental health of their staff. Employees have been encouraged to have clear work-life boundaries and schedule regular 1-2-1 sessions with colleagues and managers. Businesses have made great efforts to raise awareness of pre-existing mental health and well-being resources to try and curtail the negative side effects caused by lockdown.
Creating an environment where employees feel they can express their feelings is one of the biggest challenges that organisations have had to face. Ultimately, the struggle against deteriorating mental health is one that is fought internally. However, providing staff with the tools and resources to fight their own fight is an important part of creating a culture that is mental health positive. Senior staff must show a willingness to listen and be open to suggestions from staff about ways of reducing stress.
The Employee Experience
The hybrid working model is a product of communication with staff and is likely here to stay. Remaining connected with colleagues via video conferencing software is set to stay as well, and with so much of modern life now being reliant on staying connected to the internet, maintaining a stable internet connection in your estate is as important as ever. Stable, speedy internet can empower new ways of working that initially started during lockdown and have stayed throughout.
Workplaces are being re-imagined to provide collaborative workspaces where teams can come together to share ideas and interact with one another. Work booths are popular when in the office as online meetings continue, irrespective of location, and conference facilities have needed investment to support online meetings.
Adapting to new ways of working will be key to providing a high-quality employee experience. It is vital that employee development is not hindered by new working arrangements. By using engaging and intelligent e-learning and video training courses, employees can continue to develop and have career progression opportunities. Platforms such as Workplace by Meta and Teams will help to ensure employees stay connected with colleagues when they are not working in the same location, so they still feel part of the team and feel engaged in their work.
The Occupier Experience
To support changes in requirements, it will be essential to provide flexible office space, to enable organisations to downsize and remodel the physical and technological aspects of the working environment.
Facilities Managers will be looking for methods to improve ways of working, such as providing hot-desking for employees, and offering easy to use tenant engagement apps that allow occupants to book rooms and desks in advance.
From a health and safety perspective, many tenants will be asking for better air quality through upgraded HVAC systems that help to reduce the chance of infections in the workplace. Renovations based around occupier safety such as segregating communal areas and providing more space between desks will also be a key priority.
Streamlining Workplace Technology
As well as helping to ensure employees stay connected from a well-being and a learning & development perspective, there will be an increased reliance on technology solutions to streamline processes and workflows to gain efficiencies. More organisations will be utilising integrated workplace management systems to deliver benefits such as improved productivity, cost efficiency, better time management and transparency.
The use of proactive FM and smart technology will be more prevalent in 2022 than previous years, helping to provide improved maintenance efficiency and to identify and implement improvements to energy efficiency. Increased accuracy in data analysis will also be at the forefront of the FM industry, enabling data-driven strategic and tactical decision making.
Using Data Analytics to Drive Smart Decisions and Fuel Growth
The depth of data being used to make key facilities management decisions is increasing in scope. A data-rich approach is key in modern facilities management, as it allows you to address cost and performance issues that can be combated through strategic decisions. Using IoT (Internet of Things) technology, data can be collected from multiple sources, aggregated, and consolidated into a centralised facilities management software like Concerto. Utilising the power of Concerto enables facilities managers to make more informed and proactive decisions to help them achieve a fully optimised and digitalised estate.
The ability to access this data enables facilities managers to take a long-term view of their estate and to pre-emptively schedule maintenance. This can be done in several different ways, such as condition-based maintenance linked to sensor technology. The sensors constantly assesses the assets performance indicating when servicing and repair is needed without human intervention. This approach enables an asset to be maintained based on usage and prevents asset failure limiting the impact on the building users.
Not only does it help facilities managers be more organised, but it can reduce costs and damage. The previous couple of years have underlined the importance of reducing costs across the board, with disruption to business increasing the necessity for facilities managers to evaluate their cost base. A forward-thinking approach to scheduling repairs leads to reduced costs due to repairs not being done as urgently, avoiding the need for costly last-minute call out charges or urgent delivery of equipment.
Another way to reduce costs is through making strategic long-term decisions. Using IoT technology, you can monitor consumption of electricity and gas, and can look at ways that you can reduce both usage and costs.
Preparing For and Addressing New Fire Safety Regulations
Post Grenfell, the government is continuing its efforts to reform the building sector and the code of practice for assessors when examining external walls and cladding. 2022 is seeing significant changes in building safety regulations and fire safety, specifically following the passing of the Fire Safety Act 2021. The act applies to all commercial and multi-occupied residential buildings and requires all Responsible Persons to assess, manage and reduce fire risk posed by the structure and any common parts of the building in accordance with The British Standards Institution’s (BSI) code of practice PAS9980:2022. This will make immense changes to how countless buildings across the UK are managed in that these buildings will now require a “holistic view” of fire safety which considers an FRAEW (Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls). PAS9980:2022 sets a standard methodology which will enable those receiving the assessments to understand the findings, which in turn, will help guide decisions as to, due to the circumstances surrounding the specific building, the necessity to put in place remediation or other mitigating measures to help lower risk.
It is predicted there will be an increase in cost for building owners in order to comply with the regulations.
Fire Safety Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)
Mapping the Building Lifecycle
BIM (Building Information Modelling) software will be integral in mapping a building’s lifecycle and constructing smarter buildings. As well as delivering efficiencies, BIM software is now required for all public sector estates in the UK, to improve standards and compliance.
Concerto’s IoT technology offers an ability to predict asset failure with the IoT interpretation layer. It allows the user to monitor temperature, vibration, flow, volume and oxygen levels, and measure and track them within the software. This information can then be used to create analytical reports and raise alerts, which are then pushed through a series of workflows that inform either internal staff or external supply chain partners.
Energy Management, Sustainability & Carbon Net Zero
Building owners, Facilities Managers and the tenants occupying their buildings will have an increased focus on reducing environmental impact and making big progress towards the carbon net zero target. Solutions that improve energy efficiency and carbon reduction, waste reduction and recycling, and water preservation will be high on the agenda in 2022 and beyond. The starting point is to establish a baseline of data to demonstrate future reductions and savings. Data from 2020/2021 may not be the best baseline due to the limited use of buildings during the pandemic.
Digital technology solutions are going to be fundamental in the Facilities Management sector for measuring and creating operational efficiencies with minimal environmental impact in 2022 and for many years to come. Forward thinking organisations will be looking to equip themselves with the right technology solution that will give them a data-rich environment to drive their business forward and revolutionise the way that they work.