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FEATURE


different conversation. More people are beginning to tune into that conversation, particularly the role the workplace plays in attracting, engaging and unleashing the potential of employees. In the face of even fiercer competition, the war for talent shows no sign of abating and the workplace plays a vital role in this pursuit – and the idea of ‘employee experience’ has tap-danced itself into the limelight as a result. We’ve reached a place where FM isn’t alone in viewing the workplace as a tool to attract and retain talent, break silos and increase performance – the c-suite is slowly buying into its potential too.


By its very nature ‘workplace management’ requires a broader understanding and set of skills. There is a new chief workplace experience officer role emerging that sits in the space between technology, behavioural science and strategic management. These much-needed roles promise to offer an interesting and worthy career to those who decide to embark on the adventure, because workplace professionals are not only responsible for ensuring people live healthy and happy work lives, but they’re also a key contributing factor of an organisation’s success. Over the next 12 months, we should start to see interest from talent at the top end of the FM spectrum. And maybe more universities will capitalise on the need and the demand for a different, more diverse discipline by offering more workplace design and change management courses.


“Organisations adopt certain systems or initiatives because they ‘think they should’ rather than how they will benefit the organisation and its people.”


Finally, predictions about the future wouldn’t be complete without a mention of technology. In 1966, English architect Cedric Price pondered: “Technology is the answer, but what is the question?” It is a musing that has lost none of its significance in the 52 years since because technology largely remains a symbol of the intangible – the future, imagination and potential. Very little discourse about the subject is grounded in reality and its necessary practical application. That, however, will soon have to change.


“Senior workplace professionals see the potential for a purpose which embraces a holistic


vision for the management of the workplace.”


Since Price’s words, technology has become a critical component of workplace infrastructure, particularly with the emergence of new ways of working. As a result of tech’s subsequent proliferation, there has been a wide and significant push to invest in technology and data, with many anxious not to fall behind the curve. But this leads to an all-too-common problem: organisations adopt certain systems or initiatives because they ‘think they should’ rather than a genuine consideration of how they will benefit the organisation and its people.


Tech touches every facet of a business. Within a productivity improvement strategy, for example, which FM and workplace professionals are becoming increasingly accountable for, collaboration software like Slack and Microsoft Teams can help organisations become more efficient. In addition to running a building, FM teams must create a work environment that encourages social cohesion so people will be more comfortable sharing their ideas and knowledge. This is tough enough when everyone is in the office, but when everyone’s dispersed – working in different locations and time zones – there are some new challenges which these tools can help to overcome.


It’s also important to highlight the emergence of mini global companies thanks to all this tech. Ten years ago, a small business couldn’t hope to operate outside of the UK, because there wasn’t the capital or the resource to conduct business abroad. Now, however, small businesses can enter new markets, build relationships and increase their profile overseas without jumping on a plane. That’s important for FM because, as leaders in the UK, we should jump at the chance to apply the learning to other parts of the world.


The world of FM has the potential to evolve into a more widely understood strategic discipline called workplace management. The latter addresses the total workplace experience, and directly links to what the business needs. A lot of FM companies know they have to up their game in order to create frictionless environments that omit personality, drive culture and encourage people to work in a way that yields a better outcome. The events of 2018 have certainly paved the way for a more active future where FM can proudly take the reins and declare ‘march on’.


www.advanced-workplace.com 08 Tomorrow’s FM Yearbook 2018/19


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