Publication: Leesman Review

If workplaces are to become sophisticated networks of intelligent items, all gathering and processing vast amounts of data, how is that going to impact the FM profession?

Will FM rise to the challenge or are they in danger of being marginalised by data driven tech teams who already have the ear of their senior leaders?
Leesman spoke with some of the leading thinkers in and around this space to see what they thought the future could look like and here is what Condeco’s Debra Ward and David Howorth had to say:

“Most FMs have a professional intuition about the utilisation of their workspace, meeting rooms, floors, and desks but they struggle to quantify either their defence to “I can never find a room” or their proposal for “we can add an additional 30% of people into the building(s) without altering our property cost.” Robust, meaningful, and relevant data can help with these challenges.

However, simply believing and acting on a single set of data could result in the wrong implications. We see this time and time again with our room booking systems which can highlight, for example, a 12 person meeting room will be booked 90% of the time but that on average only 60% of those meetings will actually take place and 40% of those meetings will only have 6 or less attendees. The savvy FM professional can then propose new meeting room fit making better use of the defined space in a way that organisations want and need to use them.

So IT and FM merge ever closer, reacting to the growing demand for collaborative workspace with flexible connectivity to meet the work and personal needs of our workforce. Most of us work from a variety of locations, differing time zones and outside the classic 9-5 hours of work. If this is the norm, then it is reasonable that today’s workers expect access to keep in touch with the outside world via their devices. Turning a blind eye to what is now being dubbed as “Weisure” (work and leisure), companies risk not attracting and retaining high quality talent who are hyper-connected. FM, IT and HR have a pivotal role in this.

Data is one thing but the interpretation of it, creating insight, is crucial. Without the human element knowledge does not exist. Experience, emotion, perception, opinion, wisdom are the sum total of what makes up knowledge and is often the differentiator between a measured and successful decision and one made purely on data.

FMs have a greater opportunity today to contribute to the overall success of a business than ever before. Yes – technology has transformed and continues to evolve facilities management and workplaces but it is the expertise, knowledge and experience of FMs and workplace professionals that really bring innovative solutions and opportunities to our workspaces, and by extension our working lives.

By combining data, knowledge, insight and innovative thinking we can create a workplace that is flexible to the needs of the people and its business. Embracing data and making it work for you, challenging your software providers and asking the FM leaders for their input will most definitely help you make the argument for change in your organisation.”

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