Top Facility Management Trends for 2019

Being a successful facility management professional requires staying up-to-date on current trends. Often, these are things you might notice over the course of a year. But some are harder than others to spot.

Here are three trends we believe will be important to facility management professionals in 2019.

1. Real-Time Work Order Management Software

Managing paper work orders is a hassle. They’re easy to lose and make it difficult for all involved parties to be on the same page (no pun intended).

Real-time work order management software, also called CMMS (computerized maintenance management systems), can be a huge asset to facility managers by helping them accurately keep track of work orders and even manage them in real time.

Nick Lemm of U.S. Xpress noted this trend in his Meet the Manager interview when we asked him about the biggest facility management trend he was seeing at the moment. His response was clear:

“Real-time work order management.”

According to the Plant Engineering 2018 Maintenance Study:
“The most common technologies facilities use to monitor/manage maintenance are in-house spreadsheets/schedules (55%), computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS, 53%), and paper records of maintenance reports (44%).”

That means that, while some facility managers are taking advantage of CMMS technology, many are still opting for spreadsheets or paper reporting.

Our prediction is that the percentage of facility managers using CMMS technology will continue to increase in 2019. This will make the maintenance burden lighter for both vendors and facility managers alike.

2. Internet of Things and Building Automation

It is estimated that there are more than 8.4 billion connected devices in the world and Gartner predicts that number will grow to more than 20 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) trend has been growing steadily for the past several years and our homes are more connected than ever. Now businesses are starting to follow suit and are becoming the next frontier for IoT and automation.

Although consumers have more connected devices, businesses spend significantly more.  That’s likely why buildings are slower to adopt this technology – it takes some investment to install business automation systems into commercial buildings.

However, it’s easy to see why more commercial buildings will start adopting this technology. For one, it’s a time-saver for staff. Smart building technology can eliminate the need to manually adjust the temperature, turn off the lights or activate security alarms. Plus, building automation systems can integrate disparate systems – such as HVAC, lighting, security, access control, and video surveillance – into one set of controls making it easier for your team to manage.

Another benefit to business automation is the cost savings. Using sensors for lighting and automatic controls for your HVAC system can help reduce energy costs. Plus, building automation systems also offer predictive analytics to help you better identify when your systems need maintenance. This can help you manage the cost of repairs and the replacement of your building’s key systems.

As our homes become more and more connected, businesses will come to expect that same level of technology and connectedness at the workplace. Although it may take some time for building automation to become mainstream, we believe we will see big advances in this area in the coming year.

3. Flexible Work Space

More and more organizations are adopting a “work when you want, where you want” mentality. This was something Shawn Marks of JLL noted in his Meet the Manager interview when asked about the biggest facility management trend he’d been seeing:

“Open office plans with the flexibility to work anywhere in or out of the facility.”

In some cases, these companies have even foregone traditional vacation time in favor of an “unlimited vacation” approach.

While these might seem counterintuitive to good business, employees may actually end up taking less vacation time, which could be either a good or bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it.

Beyond that, according to Justworks, “68% of employees believe flexible hours have a positive effect on their teams” and “60% of employees believe remote work has a positive impact on their teams.”

Facility managers now have to realize it’s more important than ever to create a welcoming work environment that focuses not just on productivity or efficiency, but on employee happiness and comfort as well.

A Focus on Energy Efficiency Continues

In our prediction of 2018 trends we published around this time last year, one trend we noted was an emphasis on LEED certification in line with the goal to make “buildings more ‘green,’ efficient and sustainable…”

We were happy to see Holly Sparks of Realty Trust Group confirm this emphasis on energy efficiency in her interview for our Meet the Manager series:

“We recently built a new medical office building and we made sure to put more energy efficient products into our facility, i.e. all LED lighting, solar panels on the roof, electric charging stations in the parking lot, etc. Buildings are moving forward with these and more energy efficiencies in order to keep the operating expenses lower for the building owners.”

Unsurprisingly, the facility management field continues to change. That’s what keeps it exciting! Staying on top of trends like these is what separates high-quality facility managers from those who simply check items off a to-do list.

Our hope is that, by keeping you aware of these trends, we can help you stay ahead of the curve, decrease stress for yourself and the vendors with whom you work, and maintain the best possible experience for employees in your facilities.