By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Because of their role in workplace design and governance, it’s essential that facilities managers are up-to-date on the newest trends and technologies. As we enter a transformative age in modern office design and management, continuing education for facility managers is of the utmost importance.

The workplace is changing

It’s no secret that the traditional workplace is evolving into something vastly different than what it once was (read modern workplace trends). Individual offices, cubicle clusters, and even relatively modern open-office environments are going the way of the dinosaur in favor of more efficient, versatile workplace layouts.

Facility managers need to keep up with the changing workplace environment. That means staying educated on trends in workplace design and layout, and understanding how new concepts impact traditional workplace obstacles.

What type of workspace design will best accommodate your business’ rapid growth? How can you make the most of unutilized square footage? What factors are influencing the need for better space planning? All are relevant questions in the modern work environment, and they need modern insights to answer them.

In addition to physical workplace changes, the concept of work itself is shifting. Remote working options are in vogue, the purpose of the physical office is changing, and the workforce is more diverse than ever. Facilities management continuing education brings these variables front and center and helps managers adapt at a time when change is critical.

Online course technology is getting smarter

Also growing in the wake of the changing workplace is a shift toward technology-enabled spaces. Many of today’s facilities management online courses focus specifically on technology: what’s available, how to utilize it, what it means for the workplace, and how to leverage it.

For example, today’s facility managers need to know how to effectively use an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or leverage Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software for space planning. Many of these tools are easy to learn, but a formal education enables facility managers to use them with purpose.

In addition to IWMS, CAFM, and other types of workplace management software, there’s the Internet of Things (IoT) to consider. Sensors, beacons, and other connected technologies are shaping the way we interact and make use of workspaces. Understanding these devices and their benefits gives facility managers a leg up in implementing them. And, as is the case with facility management software, knowing how to use these devices with purpose is key.

Facility manager and workplace expectations are growing

For decades, the workplace was simply a given cost. You needed office space so workers could power the business. It was akin to “You need to spend money to make money.” Today, companies are challenging this mantra by turning it into a sliding scale. The question today is, “How can I increase what I make, while decreasing what I spend on facilities?”

Doing more with less falls on a facility manager. Accommodating business growth without scaling up facilities—or in some cases, downsizing office space—is a monumental task best approached with formalized education. When you understand the variables and headwinds you’re up against, generating new ideas and solutions becomes much easier.

Say your company must decrease its total square footage without laying off employees. Trying to pack employees into a sardine can may seem the most immediate solution for a facility manager who doesn’t know any better. For a well-educated facilities manager, there are boundless modern tactics and trends to explore.

As the expectations for workplace adaptation change, facilities managers need a way to align their capabilities to meet those expectations. The answer is invariably better education. The more tools you give yourself, the more things you can create with them.

Where to find ongoing facilities management education?

The best place to explore up-to-date trends and modern education topics is the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA). Not only does IFMA have its finger on the pulse of the industry, its continuing education is recognized as the standard for facility management. The organization offers position-specific credentials that are widely recognized across industries.

IFMA training and education gives facility managers access to important information pertaining to current industry trends. Best of all, it offers online education spanning every level of facilities management, allowing new and experienced managers alike to stay current in their field.

One of the best investments a company can make is in its talent. When it comes to facility managers, continued investment in education and training is sure to result in rippling positives—namely in how your workplace is designed, allocated, and governed.

Keep reading: facilities management and millennials – the future of the workplace.