Facility Management Trends to Watch in 2017

In our recent post, Top Facility Maintenance Tips from 2016, we looked back on the year behind us to uncover some insightful maintenance lessons for facility managers. Now it’s time to look ahead to the facility management trends of 2017.

When it comes to trends in facility management, what should be on your radar for next year? What kind of shifts can facility managers expect to see? How will things change in the profession, and where will FMs be directing their attention?   

While we can’t look into our crystal ball and predict the future, we can look at what’s currently happening in the industry to get a pretty good idea of where we’re headed.

3 Key Trends for Facility Managers to Watch in 2017

Using insights from the FMs we’ve worked with and talked with this year, along with a handful of top industry resources, we’ve identified a few key areas where FMs will see the most change in the coming year:

1. FMs will be challenged to manage new environments.

This is a trend we’ve been seeing over the past several years with the emergence of open office spaces. As companies continue to look for ways to attract millennial employees and compete with non-traditional work environments, more innovative workplace designs are likely on the horizon.

Along with creating office spaces to encourage collaboration and build a sense of community, FMs may also be tasked with managing and maintaining new and unique spaces. That can range from purpose-driven conference rooms to open-seated areas to quiet/”contemplative” spaces to workstations with modern furniture like sit/stand desks.

In addition to office spaces, building exteriors and common areas are also changing to meet the needs of today’s companies and employees. Whether driven by retention efforts, wellness initiatives, or practices to improve sustainability, many facilities are getting a facelift to better reflect the desired image of the owner or tenant.

Companies are adding building features like concierge desks and creating spaces like cafes and workout facilities to drive employee satisfaction and improve work/life balance. Such spaces, with their unique functionality, create new challenges that many FMs will have to tackle in 2017.

2. New technology will change the way facility managers work.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and it’s important for today’s FMs to keep up. From wearables to artificial intelligence, new tools are emerging every day to help facility managers more effectively and efficiently manage their responsibilities.

One key aspect of new FM technology: Everything is now connected. The increase in internet- and cloud-connected devices has led to tools like mobile apps that enable FMs to see what’s happening with different systems in a building from anywhere (on- or off-site), and take actions or make changes with the press of a button.

Increased connectivity is also providing FMs the ability to quickly collect and analyze all sorts of building data. This data can be used to show what equipment will need proactive maintenance and when, or to predict and manage energy consumption in different parts of a facility.

And that’s all just technology already bubbling on the surface. There are also a slew of other innovative tech tools that will make their way into more FM hands in 2017, including:

  • Li-Fi – Providing high-speed wireless internet through LED lighting
  • Virtual reality – Allowing FMs to simulate an environment for design or maintenance purposes
  • Machine Learning – Enabling computer systems to do more with less management
  • Drones – Offering a safer way to monitor or make repairs to building exteriors

3. FM roles and responsibilities will continue to expand and evolve.

As we’ve seen for the past few years, the job of facility manager is changing. This is no longer a position in charge of simply “maintaining a building”. For better or worse (depending on your perspective and workload), there’s a lot more to the job now.

The list of FM responsibilities has grown to entail everything from construction planning, data reporting, carpet maintenance, managing vendor relationships, energy management, and even cybersecurity. Within any given company, the role of the facility manager today can look significantly different than it did just five years ago.

That’s a trend we’ll most likely see continue in 2017. FMs will be playing greater roles in making spending decisions, findings ways to increase workforce efficiency, and incorporating new technology to provide better long-term ROI. FMs will also be working more collaboratively with personnel at all different levels to create better, smarter work environments.

In 2017, facility management will be a job as much about strategy as it is about maintenance. According to the 2017 PRSM Trends Report, “The FM executive of the future will be less of a trades expert and more of a well-versed business manager who evolves with the changing landscape.”  

Wishing all the FMs out there a fun, successful and rewarding 2017. You’ve got a tough job, but we know you’re always up to the challenge!