Over the last few years, the shape of the workplace has drastically changed. Previous to the pandemic, remote or hybrid working was relatively uncommon with only 12% of adults working in a hybrid role. However, data from ONS shows that in 2023, levels of hybrid working have risen to 40% and with no clear sign of this declining facilities managers must plan for this new future.
After a year with few COVID restrictions, many employees have started to return to the office, but now begins the challenge of creating a more desirable workplace and an incentive for staff to embrace the office environment, and facilities managers have a part to play.
Insights to Enhance Employee Experience
A new report conducted by CBRE draws on a survey of 20,000 people worldwide, looking at consumer influence and future trends within the built environment. The results emphasise wellbeing, hybrid working, location and ESG (environmental, social and governance) as four overarching themes believed to significantly influence how consumers live and work, and how this will impact the buildings they use.
The working environment is more important than ever before, as hybrid workers become increasingly more focused on the quality of a workplace (even more so than full time office workers). The report indicates that a greater weight is placed on wellbeing and the working environment when it comes to workplace decision making, whether that’s choosing how often to frequent an office or even in the job selection process, leaving organisations with an increased responsibility of providing a higher standard of facilities and space in order to keep offices/workplaces occupied and retain staff long-term.
One way that FMs can help contribute to maintaining and improving a workplace can be through the use of technology such as IWMS software. Not only does IWMS software, like QFM, enable the efficient operation of a building, but it’s ability to integrate into smart building and BIM technology allows FMs to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to building performance. Access to real time data can provide FMs with a greater understanding of how a building is being used and make data driven decisions to improve and update it.
The Rise of Hybrid Working
Another key finding from the survey was the popularity of hybrid working. Although remote working has been discussed at large since the pandemic, with companies such as AirBnB and Twitter planning to permanently have a remote workforce, it is clear the office still has a pull. When asked about their ideal future work schedule, 90% of respondents wished to still be in the workplace at least some of the time. The office is being seen more as a place to collaborate and connect than for siloed work. Therefore, the layouts of many offices are changing, with more collaborative space such as meeting rooms, conference rooms, breakout areas and café areas, becoming a priority. When asked what specifically makes a high-quality work environment, the availability of separate quiet, availability of social space (62%) and better quality of workplace design (63%) were noteworthy answers, only coming below environmental features.
As a large number of organisations adapt to hybrid working, effectively managing the workplace can become a challenge. Making these kinds of changes to improve workspaces can be made easier by using a space management system like QFM Space. Whether expanding or refurbishing, it enables you to maximize space utilization, analyze space requirements and create detailed occupancy reports. The hotdesking feature also provides clear visibility of availability and allows staff to select a workspace directly from a floorplan giving workers more control and the ability to effectively manage flexible workspaces. More information around best practice for space and move management is provided in our complimentary white paper, A Strategic Approach to Space Management.
Making Sustainable Decisions
A key factor in strategic space management is having accurate data on which to base decision-making and the software tools to make the process easier. As mentioned earlier, smart buidling technology has a significant role to play, not just in ensuring the quality of a workspace but in maximizing efficiencies. Sensor integration, for example, can gather data about office usage allowing FMs to make smarter and more sustainable decisions about workspaces. Data collected by the sensors could guide strategies around lighting, cleaning or heating to ensure utilities are only used when needed and eliminating energy waste.
Overall, it is clear that technology has had a major role to play in transforming the post-pandemic workplace and can help provide better workspaces through streamlining assets and facilities, delivering crucial insights across estates. Without a clear downward trend, hybrid working has proved its resilience and durability. It is now up to facilities managers to improve the quality of workspaces to keep offices desirable to the modern workforce.
For more information about how Service Works Global can help you with your space management needs, contact us here.
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