We have seen tremendous transformation in the facilities management function in recent years. While consistent BAU delivery is still important, FM today is hardly just a backend function anymore, having gradually transitioned to a strategic lever for driving productivity, reducing risk, workplace experience, talent attraction and even retention.
With thousands of employees in various outposts, organisations today face a huge challenge of managing risk. A robust FM function can improve compliance and reduce risk, both statutory as well as operational. The perception of the function among end-users is evolving as larger corporate strategies like employee engagement and technology adoption are being integrated into the role.
According to JLL’s India Future of Work 2019 global survey findings, India is home to the highest proportion of “future fit” enterprises, which leverage high-performing CRE functions to drive broader business goals and increased profitability.
Future of Work driving organisational behaviour
With more and more forward looking enterprises increasingly outsourcing their facility and property management functions, according to the JLL Global Survey, there is greater scope for FM companies to drive productivity and efficiency at workplaces. Nearly 57% of surveyed participants in India took the outsourcing route, while 28% said they follow a half-and-half ratio of in-house functions and outsourcing. About 60% interviewees foresee an increase in outsourcing their functions in the next three years.
Organisations across the board today have started to realise that real estate has gone beyond bricks and mortar and is a strategic lever that drives organisational and workforce behaviour. In this scenario, the Corporate Real Estate leaders are increasingly finding a seat in the boardroom amongst the peer C-suite. Going forward, I expect the CRE to forge stronger ties with the IT, Finance and HR functions in future. Other emerging trends like flexspaces and technology provide further confidence in the FM function to forge ahead as a game changer in CRE.
Innovations in FM Services
In this scenario, C-suite leaders are increasingly looking up to the Corporate Real Estate Leaders (CRE) to deliver much more than operational metrics. This function has become the custodian of workplace experience and innovation. Consequently, metrics such as talent acquisition and retention, which used to be core HR domain, have started appearing on a CRE’s scorecard.
More often than not, new processes involve shifting to automated facility management processes or ‘digital FM’. Today’s smart building technology also allows facilities managers to create energy efficient and sustainable functions. Compliance with regulatory standards of safety and security at work are other areas that FM services have to focus on. A key factor that has brought FM to the forefront of change is Sustainability. Buildings contribute to 40% of the global carbon emission. With nearly 90% of time spent indoors, including 40% at workplaces, wellness in the built environment is becoming increasingly critical for FM, as it directly impacts sustainability initiatives on energy and water conservation. From smart buildings to green workspaces that foster wellbeing, the industry has seen a tremendous shift. In 2019, JLL launched India’s biggest PropTech accelerator programme – JLL IDEAs to discover exciting technologies. About 100 out of the 740+ technology submissions were sustainable.
Creating better workplaces involves creating more effective, pleasant and personal experiences for people at work. As the world shifts from workplaces to ‘places to work’, I foresee FM increasingly creating new workspace solutions that respond to the needs of tomorrow’s world.