Workplace wellness is currently high on the FM agenda, with many organisations now increasing their investment in the health and wellbeing of employees, as well as their physical comfort and the efficiency of the building as a whole. While this strategy requires an empathetic approach, the real driving force behind the ability to achieve results is technology, automation and data – which is a vital partnership already propelling the profession to greater heights.
The rise of mobile in FM has provided a precedent for increased productivity and work accuracy through improved communication, information and simplification, and has paved the way for an increased uptake in wearable technology. An operative only has to launch an app to see their day’s work, colour coded by priority, fully optimised for the mobile handset for ease of use in a busy environment. Smartwatches or hearable devices are the next extension, providing hands-free access to a live stream of information and further increasing job rectification times and customer satisfaction.
Wearable technology, like smartwatches and fitness trackers, are seeing the greatest take-up in the area of workplace wellbeing. Employers are investing greater resources into the health of the workforce, not only as a way of showing their commitment to employee welfare but also in order to improve their engagement and productivity to produce better results. At one end of the scale, fitness trackers (like Fitbit) are used to help monitor and reward exercise, but technology can also allow for monitoring of stress, sleep and even location – the data from which can be used to create a more supportive and desirable working environment. Of course, this leads to data protection questions, so any company looking to start a programme of this type must ensure full compliance with data protection laws.
More accurate data
Sensors are also playing a big part in workplace wellness, providing great insight into how the workplace is being using by collecting occupancy and activity data. FMs can then translate this data into actions, for example changing cleaning schedules in line with busy periods, installing a bank of hot desks instead of unused allocated seating, or repurposing frequently idle areas of the building. The fluidity expected of the modern workplace means that the emphasis on maintenance must be proactive rather than reactive in order to provide a seamless service. Sensors placed on assets like boilers or air conditioning units collect performance data and create an alert when a potential problem is identified. By integrating this data with a computer aided facilities management (CAFM) system such as Service Works’ QFM, the most suitable engineer will be automatically called out (identified through integrated resourcing functionality) and the necessary parts and asset location accessible via a mobile app. In this way, problems can be rectified before breakage and the data captured across all assets provides a mine of information on which to base future decision making.
According to Service Works’ FM Software Survey 2016 in the UK and in 2017 across Asia Pacific, FMs are taking greater control of systems across their organisations to help them optimise their service and increase customer satisfaction. By integrating CAFM with other systems, such as BMS, finance software or BIM, a central hub of data and actions is created, eliminating duplication across the systems and enabling some processes to be automated. For example when a specialist system raises an alarm, this is recorded automatically by the CAFM software against a specific asset or location. A work request is then generated automatically, assigned an appropriate timeframe for resolution, and then passed to an operative. Response times, and therefore potential downtime, are reduced as all alerts are managed and resolved centrally and duplicated requests are eliminated.
In this way, FM has lost some processes to machine-to-machine interaction, but the benefits gained are great. Potential asset problems are identified and dealt with before breakdown occurs, reducing downtime and customer inconvenience; calls to help desk can be reduced, allowing staff to focus on managing contracts and ensuring task completion in line with SLAs.
While sensational headlines are predicting 5 million job losses to automation and robotics by 2020 across every country, this rapid progression in technology is ultimately improving service and reducing costs and the FM industry must continue to evolve in order to take maximum advantage of this.
Learn more about how CAFM can transform your organisation by requesting a complimentary white paper such as ‘Integrating CAFM With Other Organisational Systems’ or ‘Mobile Technology – A Global Facilities Trend’.
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