By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

As the workplace evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the job of a facility manager becomes more robust. Each year there are new facility management trends to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the top facility management trends of 2020:

1. The expanding IoT

It’s no secret that the number of connected workplace devices is growing. If you’ve been paying attention to facilities management trends over the past few years, you’ll know that the office Internet of Things (IoT) seems to have unlimited potential. And, as more devices come to market and brands begin to distinguish themselves, these devices are being picked up at a faster rate than ever before.

Companies big and small are building out their IoT ecosystems to varying degrees of sophistication. A smaller office may only have something like an Amazon Echo unit and a couple of smart outlets with basic synergies. Larger offices may have a complete array of connected devices powering their IoT.

Regardless of a company’s involvement with the IoT, it’s a sure bet these technologies will grow to new levels of importance in 2019. Soon enough, an office without an integrated IoT will be the anomaly.

2. Data-driven decision-making

Most trends in facilities management tie back to this one: Emphasis on quantification of the workplace. Data from IoT devices and facility management software helps facilities managers understand more about how their workplace functions and what employees need to do their best work. They’re taking data and breaking it down to recognize trends, then using those insights to affect change.

Data-driven decision-making is leading to revolutionary changes in facilities management—from optimizing available office space to changing the way a work environment is managed. The result is savings on overhead costs and smarter space utilization.

3. Integrated facilities management

With the new age of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) comes emphasis on integrated facilities management. Facilities data has traditionally been siloed, allowing managers to focus on a single aspect of the workplace. Today, workplaces are the sum of their parts, which requires managing everything as a whole.

An integrated approach to facilities management means looking at how one aspect of work affects another. For example, understanding how an open office floor plan affects space utilization is one thing; understanding how it impacts employee productivity is another. Looking at the workplace through various lenses spotlights how one variable affects another.

As workplaces become more complex, integrated facilities management is more important than ever. Taking data and decision-making out of silos and approaching it holistically is more than a trend: it’s the new standard.

4. Emphasis on employee experience

The workplace needs to not only support employees, it should invigorate them. Inspire them. Accommodate them. Even excite them. A chief trend this year is the transition to experiential workplaces. From workstations to collaborative spaces, personal areas to recreational spaces, every part of the workplace should address the question: “How does this space benefit employees?”

This trend is borne on the idea that employees who feel valued and accommodated will produce their best work and develop a connection to their employer. Moreover, an employee-centric workspace helps attract and retain top talent.

By recognizing the importance of employee experience, facilities managers can unlock new purpose and capabilities from their workplaces. Everything from the décor to the physical layout of a space matters, and everything from mood to productivity can be influenced by good facilities management.

5. Focus on flexible workspaces

Commercial real estate costs are on the rise, with no signs of stopping. This upward trend is driving more companies toward flexible workspaces. But such moves requires more oversight from facilities managers.

Hot desks, agile spaces, and activity-based workstations make up the flexible workspace movement, including coworking spaces outside of the central office. Each space enables better utilization of workplace square footage, but comes at the price of centralized management. As facility managers adapt to their role as workspace administrators, modern IWMS platforms are fast-becoming key tools for success.

Flexibility goes beyond just the physical workspace. Facilities managers now oversee hot desks, nap rooms, phone booths, and other functional areas that make the most of the workplace. It’s a trend that’s only going to grow as the workplace continues to evolve.

Stay ahead of the curve

Continuing education and awareness about key trends help facilities managers stay on top of workplace needs. Industry publications and associations are great informational resources. Networking with peers at conferences and events also opens doors to new ideas and solutions. Regardless, the workplace learning curve continues to steepen. Staying ahead of the curve requires staying up on the trends that impact your workplace the most. Read next, why facility management is important for productivity.