3 Top Facility Management Trends to Watch in 2018

As we head into the final stretch of 2017, many facility managers are starting to set their sights on the year ahead. They are assessing the progress made throughout the year, the challenges that remain, and the areas they need to focus their attention on moving forward.

So what are some of those areas? What are the trends that will continue to gain steam in the coming year? Based on the way the winds are blowing in the industry right now, here are some aspects of facility management likely to gain increasing importance for FMs in 2018.

Key Facility Management Trends for 2018

Keep an eye on these trends in the coming year:

1. Wellness Focus

Something we’ve picked up on throughout the year is the increasing focus on improving the wellness of facilities. More and more FMs are being tasked with taking actions to make buildings healthier for their occupants by making changes to things like lighting, air, noise, cleaning, design, movement, and furniture. This is a trend gaining increasing steam across many different facility types.

According to this Buildings report on a recent industry study, “Wellness is a focus in facilities, as 80% of respondents consider employee wellness to be an important factor in recruitment and retention, and more than 50% reported that they plan to seek external expertise to incorporate wellness into their buildings.”

The general concept at play here is that the state of a facility can have a notable impact on employee wellness, increasing productivity and reducing sick days. For facility managers, this focus on wellness can mean different things—from improving indoor air quality to changing flooring to providing more natural lighting.

2. Evolving Spaces

The open workspace trend has taken hold. Now we’re seeing the next phase of it—which involves integrating more specific and mixed-use space into offices. According to a report from Ted Moudis Associates (an architecture and interior design firm), more companies are seeking “alternative spaces” like collaborative or private areas. They also note more clients are looking for “activity-based” workspaces.

And this trend is not just tied to the office environment. Many facilities across industries are evolving the way they look at their spaces—making changes and upgrades to both increase the function of specific areas and enhance employee/customer/client perceptions.

According to Jeff Rutherford, Senior Portfolio Manager at Meadows & Ohly, “The trend in healthcare continues to move towards higher end suites and finishes. Patient experiences are influenced by not only their physician visit, but by the condition of the suite and the overall look of the building/office.”

3. LEED Certification

Making buildings more “green”, efficient and sustainable remains a key area of focus for many facility managers across the board. When it comes to this concentration, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification remains the most recognized and widely used green building rating system.

A recent survey found 62% of respondents identified LEED as a valuable market differentiator (up 9% from last year). We saw a lot of talk about LEED certification for buildings in 2017—for example, Pfizer built the world’s first LEED-NC Platinum certified pharmaceutical factory this year—and LEED is likely to become an even more frequent topic of conversation for FMs in 2018.

As this FacilityManagement.com article states: “When a building decides to apply for LEED certification, the role of project manager often falls to the facility manager. Even if a designated project manager is hired, the facility manager is still relied upon to make recommendations for the project and facilitate ongoing communication with the building occupants.”

What’s the Biggest Facility Management Trend You’re Seeing Right Now?

In our “Meet The Manager” series, we asked the question above to several facilities managers we work with throughout the year. Here are some of their answers:

Diane Borgesen, Director of Asset Management for Highwoods Properties:

“I would say that utility conservation is big right now—LED retrofits, restroom upgrades to include water-saving fixtures. I am also seeing more customer requests for on-site food service.”

Brian Anderson, Senior Facility Manager at CBRE:

“The flexibility for where people can work—the impact of big data and electronic mobility is having a huge impact on every work environment.”

Frank Proctor, Property & Facilities Maintenance Manager at Pointe Property Group:

“More and more properties are utilizing digital climate control in their facilities.”

What do you think are the most significant trends in facility management right now? What do you think will be the top areas of focus in 2018? Share your thoughts and predictions by commenting below.