It’s 2024, and as we reflect on the challenges of the last 12 months, here’s our look at some key FM trends that could shape your business decisions in the coming year.
1. Time to face down the recruitment crisis
There is a well-documented shortage of skilled labour and talent in the FM market right now. In 2023, we talked on LinkedIn about challenges in recruitment and retention. An older generation is on the cusp of retirement, and it’s getting more difficult to recruit and retain the brightest and best of the next generation.
Gen Z and millennials are looking to join organisations that are embracing technology and change, from a greater emphasis on ESG to the transformative use of AI. However, many Facilities Management teams are still lagging in their approach to diversity and digital transformation.
One of the biggest challenges in 2024 will surely be to persuade a new generation of talent that facilities management should be their future.
2. Reaping the benefits of the AI revolution
2023 has seen peak excitement about AI. But how many FM teams are actually seeing the full power of its benefits roll out in their working lives? Companies who are still managing FM with Excel sheets and email aren’t going to be well placed to integrate advanced AI tools into their manual practice beyond some use of ChatGPT. In 2024, FM software powered by exponential leaps in generative AI and machine learning is going to drive the revolution in personalised data analytics and FM service automation.
But companies have to be in it to win it.
3. Facility management will become facility transformation
The debate has raged this year about the ‘return to the office’. Is the workplace increasingly redundant in the age of hybrid? By the end of 2023, though, many bosses were calling for workers to come back to the office full-time.
The recent KPMG CEO Outlook survey found that 64% of leaders globally and 63% of those in the UK predicted a full return to in-office working by 2026.
Many employers now believe real-world collaboration is the bedrock of creativity and productivity, so they are actively thinking about how to make the workplace more ‘commute worthy’. The talk now is of building ‘the destination office’, the workplace packed with amenities and opportunities for engagement, where people don’t have to come but where they actively want to come
2024 may become the year not just of facility management but facility transformation - as FMs are tasked with building more engaging, tech-driven and agile workplaces that can flex with the needs of a more demanding workforce.
4. Helping Facilities become a focus for growth
In 2023, we saw companies like Cazoo and Pets at Home invest in new CAFM software to support a fresh focus on ‘bricks and mortar’ as an integral part of their value offering. Many retail and entertainment businesses are now looking to manage their teams and buildings more efficiently to deliver more tailored and engaging customer experiences. But they realise they can’t do this without accessing high-quality data and automating their process. The right digital tools will need to support facilities' growth, or it will become ever more costly and inefficient to deliver.
5. Don’t let compliance crush your business
In 2023, RaaC reared its ugly head, and building compliance once again rose to the top of the agenda for many businesses. FMs were suddenly in the spotlight, and their expertise called upon to manage the crisis. For some organisations, the long-term effects of budgetary neglect around building compliance quickly became apparent. In 2023, we interviewed one Head of FM who warned big organisations were likely to face more challenges in these areas if they didn’t get a grip on their long-term compliance data and strategies.
Our FM contact called on senior management to invest in the digital tools that could prevent crises like these from blowing up in the future:
Right now, it’s just fix and repair rather than strategise. You know, they’re not looking at data to help them think about the future or where new technology and new building concepts could help them improve performance.
6. Energy and sustainability remain top of the agenda
In 2023, the news of the energy crisis and calls for more sustainable business practices continued apace. We pointed out that the government's energy bill support for businesses ends in March 2024. And only 44% of businesses expect to meet their decarbonisation targets by 2030. In 2024, the pressure will be on for Facilities Management to become more transparent and effective in their energy, waste and carbon footprint management. But, it will not be easy for some FMs to extract this data and deliver on their environmental goals with their current tech set-up.
Read our blog about managing the ESG revolution in Facilities Management.
7. Asset Management is the new efficiency battleground
According to one piece of research we featured this year, maintenance work orders increased by 20% in 2023. Why? FM budgets have been squeezed, and Capex on new equipment is harder to justify. FMs are being asked to maintain rather than replace. This pressure is set to continue in 2024 and we predict that Asset Management is going to be a hot topic in FM circles as a result. The challenge of accessing real-time equipment data and managing asset lifecycle sustainably and cost-effectively will become increasingly important. Have you got the tools you need to control costs and manage your assets proactively and predictably?
What did 2023 mean for FM?
In some ways 2023 was a year of uncertainty in Facilities Management. Many companies were downsizing premises to reflect changing working patterns, while others were doubling down on the growth of facilities and services to bring new value to customers and staff.
For some, more complex facilities and more demanding ESG and compliance requirements require more focused and expert Facilities Management than ever before.
Just think about the incredible Citigroup HQ in Canary Wharf designed to entice workers back to the office - or the flourishing experience economy bringing customers flocking to companies like Team Sport and Flight Club.
What will 2024 bring?
As 2024 dawns, FM are still tasked with doing more with less. But there is a growing acknowledgement that FM teams can’t do this alone. Senior management are becoming more aware of facilities' vital importance to their continued growth and success - but they also realise FM gaps in their digital transformation plans desperately need to be plugged.
We believe Facility Managers who can persuade their senior management teams to invest in the right technology to support their work will begin to see real dividends in cost control and performance that will unlock more long term opportunity and budget for their teams.
Whatever happens, as we head into a new year, Expansive will be here to help you make your case for more strategic, data-driven facility management.