What’s the future of the workplace and how can FM play a role in transforming it?

What’s the future of the workplace and how can FM play a role in transforming it?

Sodexo’s Simon Seaton weighs in on a few interesting trends that were published by global FM company

Simon Seaton, CEO - onshore energy. Sodexo
Simon Seaton, CEO - onshore energy. Sodexo

How can we create emotionally intelligent workplaces and why is it important?
With the immense, emergent capabilities of technology — the people on the job bring the greatest value to in their profession, when their most human of attributes are allowed to come forward. This is a key factor in shaping experiences, increasing levels of engagement and realising human potential. On average, people have 500 emotional experiences per day, and the nature of those experiences are critical in determining perception of everything from how much we value our jobs, to how well we perceive a facility is managed, thus determining the quality of life.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is no longer a nice-to-have but a must have. Actively prioritising emotional intelligence is critical to remaining competitive in today’s economy. And that means everything from recruiting the right talent, to better assessing and coaching talent on EI on an ongoing basis. 

Tell us about the impact of automation, does it impact jobs?

Automation is happening. As business leaders today, we are at a unique threshold with the ability and — indeed — the responsibility to shape the coming advancement and work now to ensure these changes come into reality to not only add significant economic benefit, but fundamentally underpin quality of life for billions of workers across the globe.
If you look at the technology trends highlighted in this year’s report, automation comes into play significantly in the emergence of chatbot programmes, and the immense capabilities of IoT in streamlining integrated facilities services — aggregating inventory, facility and equipment data into a single user-friendly interface.

Both these examples of technology illustrate a future where new automation technologies occupy the redundant, less enjoyable aspects of FM work. On the other side of this year’s trends, we see human capital is more important than ever. As automation takes up the “boring” aspects of work, employee innovation, emotional intelligence and knowhow — those uniquely human traits — become more important than ever before.

In other words, it’s not a question of boon or bane, it’s a matter of responsibility to shape the future we want to see, one that will be best for employees, facilities, customers and the industry as a whole. 

What’s the future of the workplace and how can FM play a role in transforming it?
If we are to have a future, that future must be green. That’s why green buildings are a core trend we are highlighting this year, and one that reflects broader shifts in the workplace at large. Soon, we will see living buildings become an affordable reality — facilities that are 100% supported by their own solar panels and windmills. This will be followed by waste-free buildings, in which FM teams recycle and reuse the majority of paper, food and trash entirely onsite.

Finally, we will see buildings that are not only sustainable for the environments, but for their occupants. Structures that are low on volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, furnishings and carpets made from natural, non-toxic materials. Designs that seek to maximise the natural light employees and residents experience each day.
As sustainability becomes an increasing priority for facility occupants and has a major role to play in improving their quality of life, FM has a true leadership role to play in realizing a green future.

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