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yourself at the office in 2021, five short years from now. An app on your
smartphone reserves your favorite cubbyhole—you don’t have a fixed desk.
settle in, using a different app to set the lighting and temperature to your
liking, and play your favorite background music. A colleague comes by with a
question, so you wirelessly connect your laptop to a nearby whiteboard to share
Not for some corporations. Offices are evolving faster than at any time in
history, and becoming more accommodating of individual choice.
years from now, the office could be nearly unrecognizable—particularly to
today’s facility managers, according to Maureen
International Director of JLL’s Global Integrated Facilities Management
this era of smart building systems, people are becoming consumers of facilities
and the workplace,” says Ehrenberg. “The future facility manager will need to
like a concierge and a provider of high-performance, customizable spaces for
they are employees, shoppers, hotel guests or healthcare patients.”
close is your picture of the office of the future to reality?
Fact or science fiction? The sharing economy and on-demand workforce will be a
part of everyday life.
Fact. Mobile working and real-time access to
data and information on mobile devices is creating a new, more flexible way of
working. The project-focused “gig economy” means many companies increasingly
rely upon contingent workforces—in five years, you may have different coworkers
every day or on different projects. Your company may tap into on-demand,
pay-as-you-go offices, touchdown space, meeting rooms and drop-in business
centers for use by specific project teams, or creative configurations of
corporate office space to accommodate fluctuating requirements. All would be
delivered only when you need it, you’d pay as you go along, and you’d share
with other coworkers or even other companies.
assumptions comes with the territory when workplace strategies involve many
different options. “The facility manager role increasingly includes managing
workspaces within a company’s walls and beyond,” says Ehrenberg. “Already, the
focus in corporate offices is moving from square footage per person to
generating more revenue per person by enhancing the employee experience,
providing workspace options and using space more efficiently wherever employees
Fact or science fiction? Every corporate facility will have a hotel-like
of. You might not see a
human concierge in every building or corporate office—but you might find a
mobile app that provides a similar function. The growing adoption of smart
building technology is presenting many more opportunities for facility managers
to provide workplace
services that improve the employee experience in the facility and, ideally, boost productivity.
modern, flexible workplaces has become a competitive imperative for building
owners. Facility managers of the future will need to borrow a page from the
hospitality industry and think like concierges, responding to the needs of
employees. Smart building technology supports the use of mobile apps and wired
workspaces in which an employee can, for instance, reserve a desk or cubbyhole
for the day, and customize lighting, temperature and even background music.
many companies—including traditional professional and financial services
companies—are offering a range of workspace options, from collaboration lounges
to desks or work nooks or small meeting booths, to provide for different kinds
of work, observes Ehrenberg. Adding work-enabling facility services is the next
Fact or science fiction? Five years from now, we’ll be able to predict the
Fact. Predictive analytics in building
management are becoming the norm and, in five years, are likely to be
commonplace. Smart building technology generates data not only relating to
building operations, but also about how the space is being used. In an office
setting, for instance, an analysis of wireless sensor data can show when a
conference room is occupied and whether the meeting ended early or was
cancelled, enabling the building to make the most efficient use of lighting and
heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
managers and workplace strategists now can make occupancy plans based on
real-time space usage, rather than on surveys or educated guesswork.
Data-driven insights can spark new approaches to workplace layout, or give a
facility manager the information needed to help a tenant accommodate an influx
of new employees without increasing its square footage. Predictive modeling can
show ways to accommodate additional workers without necessarily increasing
facility management becomes increasingly data and analytics-focused, facility
management teams today include not only building engineers, but also IT
specialists, software programmers and data analysts. Such concepts as cloud
service management, intelligent infrastructure, integrated systems, data
analytics and 3D-simulated life cycle management are becoming an integral part
of the work behind the scenes, creating more comfortable, productive and
customizable experiences for employees.
smart building systems will allow for far more connectivity, enabling new ways of working, playing and
living. These advances are already emerging in properties from industrial
warehouses and store to corporate workplaces and hospital rooms.
fact, in the not-too-distant future, Ehrenberg suggests, facility managers may
not even be called facility managers, but become something more client-friendly
of Workplace Experience or Director of Business Productivity and Enablement.
This article originally
appeared on Real Views,
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its impact on the wider business world. Visit the Real Views site to subscribe
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