It’s the end of January 2022 and there’s good reason for optimism. We seem to have been spared the worst of Omicron. The economic outlook is brighter for many. Over the last two years businesses have learnt to become more agile and ingenious in the way they adjust to change - and FM have been leading the charge. But what changes will the rest of 2022 bring that FM will need to keep pace with? What are the trends that will shape the way we work this year?

Sustainability is top of the agenda

In 2021 COP 26 and Insulate Britain were both reminders of the pressures that businesses are under from government and the general public to become greener in everything they do. From the sustainability of the cleaning products they buy, to the way they light and heat their buildings, businesses are having to think more carefully about their environmental impact.

Targets for energy use, emission levels, carbon footprint and landfill targets are being enshrined in new regulation and FM will need the formal tools to:

  • improve their environmental performance
  • avoid fines and penalties
  • lever access to government incentives 

But the pay-off for taking action isn’t just a clean conscience and regulatory compliance. According to McKinsey, implementing ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategies can improve operating profits by as much as 60%.

Are your FM tools helping you deliver the environmental benefits and savings your business expects? 

Integration of business management systems and IOT

With more integration between BMS and Facilities Management software systems, businesses can close the process gap between data gathering and action.

Can your FM software:

  • Flow energy usage data automatically to FM teams’ dashboards?
  • Trigger workflows for routine energy conservation procedures?
  • Automatically flag and correct detected energy waste across your estate?

Fixed asset management

With better asset management software business can ensure assets are more energy efficient and reduce their overall impact on the environment. The right digital asset register will help you:

  • Monitor and increase the lifespan of assets
  • Make more sustainable procurement decisions based on performance data
  • Reducing landfill through better lifecycle management
  • Maintaining efficient performance through more planned, preventive maintenance

H&S compliance

More regulation means more liability.​ The legacy of Grenfell still haunts landlords and building managers as they try to keep compliant with the regulation and ensure the safety of their colleagues and tenants. The recent Fire Safety Act 2021 and the Building Safety Bill 2021 both bring with them increased need for risk analysis, inspection and reporting. Facilities Management need the digital tools to implement required regimes and provide evidence to regulators that necessary fire safety measures have been taken. 

The great resignation is here - but don’t panic

After 24 months of stasis, teams are changing at a faster pace than normal. There may be people departing, but there is new blood arriving, as well as opportunities to do things differently. There may be more outsourcing necessary to keep your business serviced. You may be looking to optimise performance of a smaller or reconfigured team through better resource management. 

Are your FM tools making training and task management easier through better digital documentation, automation and communication tools? If budgets are tight and staffing unpredictable, now’s the time to make the business case for better digital tools to improve control you have over teams and budget and increase your productivity?

Real estate use is evolving

Some companies real estate is contracting, others are expanding. Google recently upped the ante by announcing they were purchasing their central London offices, rejecting the move towards ‘virtual first’ that other tech giants (like Dropbox) had adopted. Their plans include more outside space equipped for working and socialising:

“The 11-storey “groundscraper” has been designed by the prestigious Heatherwick Studios and Bjarke Ingels Group. The plans show a 25-meter swimming pool, a 200-meter rooftop running trail, and a large sports hall with views over London. It will accommodate up to 4,000 Googlers when it’s completed.”

There are big FM challenges ahead for Google, but workers and managers in all kinds of businesses are expecting more of their environments than ever before, too. Offices now need to be equipped and maintained for Hybrid working. Workplaces and retail spaces are becoming ‘destinations’ for creative collaboration and important meetings, rather than simply places we ‘have to be’.  Are your FM tools up to the challenges of serving spaces characterised by rapidly changing use, more moveable/configurable assets and nomadic occupants?

More planned preventative maintenance needed

There are tighter budgets and more limited resources available for FM teams. But there are also stiffer performance and compliance targets than ever. As a result, the way FM manage buildings and assets needs more careful planning to:

  • Optimise use of engineering resource
  • Prevent downtime and expensive failure
  • Extend the lifetime of the asset

Organisations need to move away from a reactive approach, but that’s easier said than done. 

Does your FM software help you spot spending trends in maintenance vs replacement costs? Can you make decisions based on that data? Have you got the tools to impose and optimise planned preventive maintenance schedules? 

Getting it just right. Discover the pros and cons of preventative maintenance

The end of unstructured data

“It won’t be a surprise to see unstructured data continue to be a focus of enterprises’ data management efforts as we roll into 2022.” 

Krishna Subramanian, Data Knowledge Centre

One common theme with these FM trends is the need for data to drive decision making. Without generating and analysing data effectively you can’t make the changes that will move the needle. 

But right now, 41% of businesses are frustrated that they have not yet been able to use data to drive decisions, while Gartner states that every year, poor data quality costs organisations an average of £9.6 million.

The FM space is no different and has been historically slow to digitise, so the data available to most FM teams is even scanter than in other departments. 

But unstructured FM data is everywhere in the emails, spreadsheets, and apps we use to record our activity and share information with each other. It can show us:

  • How long maintenance jobs take to complete
  • How many problems we encountered
  • How much each client invoices and how frequently
  • How contractor performance varies 

And much more.

It’s one of the major challenges of FM to realise the value of this unstructured information to an organisation and start harnessing and using it to make a difference to our bottom line.

Implementing a CAFM system where everyone in your business can communicate and record maintenance/asset data as they work is one way to start doing this. 

With the right CAFM platform you can easily start gathering and structuring the performance data that is turned into the tables, charts and graphs you need to visualise and track your KPIs.

The good news is, it doesn't have to cost a fortune and it doesn’t have to start with complex IoT integrations. Choosing a CAFM that can help you rapidly set up and automate a work order and contractor management process can form the foundation of a central hub of all your FM activity in the future.

Look for a scalable solution that can help you address your data challenges over time - and you’ll be sorted well beyond 2022.

Winning the battle for budget

Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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