Facilities management in a new world of work

Depending on your source of news, employees are either coming back to the office in their droves or working from home is working out just fine. Either way, what’s certain is that hybrid working is here to stay, a trend that can create significant uncertainty for the facilities management sector.

Hybrid working wasn’t invented during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it certainly necessitated its adoption. Intuitive and accessible technologies quickly helped office-based businesses to pivot to keeping the lights on, and services running, remotely. And as restrictions eased, some offices continued their evolution of becoming centres for enhancing corporate culture through training, networking and socialising, as opposed to simply being places of work.

According to a 2023 Buffer survey, 98% of respondents would like the option to work remotely at least some of the time. Ultimately this sentiment translates into unpredictable working patterns – meaning facilities management strategies need more flexibility and resilience than ever before. Here are four of the main challenges:

Layout

Office spaces need to retain the capacity to accommodate busy periods but remain flexible and efficient enough to downscale for quieter days when fewer people commute in. Maximum capacity, in many cases, no longer needs to equate to company headcount. Working spaces are increasingly oriented around a hotdesking culture, whilst ensuring communal spaces remain comfortable and welcoming.

Cost structures

Traditional office budgeting is no longer fit for purpose if working patterns have significantly altered. Utility consumption and other related expenses will follow new cycles which can be tracked with smart roster software through to motion sensors to control light and heating.

Technology and security

When employees are working remotely they’re essentially taking a portion of the organisation’s network and data infrastructure away with them, so cyber security measures become more important than ever. Additionally, physical security of the business premises is more complex when people expect access at different times and to different areas.

Culture

Underlining all these challenges is a duty of care to employees. This ranges from having comfortable and safe workstations at home through to personal wellbeing and an increased emphasis on ensuring the company’s culture and a sense of belonging is maintained wherever people choose to work.

The office is not going anywhere, but its function is changing. This can make it hard for facilities managers to predict requirements, manage demand and maintain efficient service levels. There can be pressure to renegotiate contracts or adopt more flexible scheduling.

Managing contractors such as cleaners becomes more complex and even coordinating deliveries and maintenance requires a new approach to planning. It’s vital that decision makers stay informed and feel confident that they’re equipped for a whole range of scenarios. Communication is key, as is collaboration.

And that’s where Contego comes in. We understand that the landscape in which your operatives are working has changed dramatically in the last few years. From heightened health and safety standards through to an ongoing sustainability and green credentials drive – our expert team is placed to provide the experienced consultancy you need. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or sales@contegosafety.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

Published on 5 December 2023

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