Organizations prefer to hire professional and trained facility managers to successfully make all the necessary adjustments. The role of facilities management (FM) service providers can and will also become more strategic and long-term. We are already seeing how the role of facility management is evolving from just being a service provider to promoting an anchored culture of safe work practices, quality, data-based technology, and analysis.

Digital technologies are changing the way facilities are used as the pandemic has redefined work and life. As digital systems become stronger and more deeply embedded in organizations' processes and procedures, the way companies manage and use offices, residential properties, product sites, or warehouses will continue to evolve. Digitized processes allow companies to make data-driven decisions and manage properties efficiently.

Digitization of facility management processes

As organizations prepare to reopen their jobs, occupants should be prepared to update their policies for welcoming employees, customers, and visitors. People's expectations of the facilities and services offered by FM companies are growing rapidly, with more emphasis on health and wellbeing at work. By implementing the latest technologies, FM providers need to work with customers to improve the occupant experience when they are at work.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to pay increasing attention to automating FM processes, from moving planning, service and maintenance requests, to energy management or workspace customization. Facility managers need to use the data for better decision making, capital planning, and improving the work experience for employees and customers.

Smart buildings and artificial intelligence

Smart technologies accelerate almost every aspect of building automation. Through the use of technology, the day-to-day work of FM service providers will become digitized and more efficient. There are a variety of smart technologies available to automate industrial parks, office spaces, shopping malls, apartment complexes, warehouses, and other public spaces. With the help of these technologies, facility managers have the opportunity to optimize their working time and create a better environment for occupants.

In the pandemic, smart technologies have become more important, given that facilities need better control to operate in a highly dynamic environment with a varied occupancy pattern. Rapid changes, remote monitoring, and forecasting of operations through data analysis will bring efficiency in this rapidly digitizing field.

The concept of smart buildings challenges facility managers to rediscover the use and integration of buildings into a single ecosystem. Each element or device in the building, such as lights, sensors, windows, HVAC units, doors, and CCTV, has a unique identity but they are all fully integrated into a network. Artificial intelligence and IoT technologies can increase operational efficiency and improve building management, enabling remote monitoring and control of facilities.

Wellness and wellbeing

Organizations are investing more and more in the health and wellbeing of their employees. The pandemic has completely redefined the experience and expectations of employees. As organizations adapt better and better to the new context, there is a growing need for employers to assure employers that they are working safely in the workplace and that they can provide this security in the long run. The main goal of FM professionals is to provide wellness programs that boost productivity, attract talent, and reduce occupancy rates. FM providers need to balance the needs of different age groups, taking into account the wellbeing of all.

In conclusion

Due to the increased emphasis on user experience, the role of FM service providers is becoming increasingly strategic in the long run. FM service providers work in partnership with customers to help them achieve their goals. As changing technology and requirements lead to increased sophistication in facility management, people on FM teams play a much more important role.

FM service providers, owners, and occupants must work together to establish a balanced approach that leads to the introduction of a range of physical and digital solutions to effectively meet the needs of business continuity and development.

Author: Lucian Anghel, Founder and CEO, Timepal Romania and Facilities Management Services