IWFM anniversary research sets out ‘mega’ opportunity for ‘lynchpin’ sector

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) has marked the 30th anniversary of its founding with the release of new research, ’30 years back, 3 trends for the future’, which says three ‘megatrends’ will affect workplaces ‘for years to come’.

Developed with sector experts, the work traces the progress of workplace and facilities management (WFM)’ from the evolution of offices to the rise of digital innovation’, which the Institute says  has ‘changed workspace objectives to a focus on sustainability and employee experience’. Today, ‘post-Brexit, post-pandemic, and in increasingly competitive conditions’, the report stresses, ‘workplace and facilities professionals are lynchpin players in organisations.’ 

The three ‘megatrends’ the IWFM says will affect workplaces for years to come are ‘embedding workplace strategy as a service’; ‘putting people, planet, and profits on the same footing’, and ‘the relationship between smart buildings and WFMs’.  The report says workplace strategy will ‘become mainstream in demand and supply’ – presenting a huge opportunity for WFMs and FM service providers, who its says need to ‘grasp the opportunity early, evidence their value, and secure their seat before others fill it’. 

On the second, the report says that ‘while many organisations have taken positive steps, few have embedded sustainability as core strategic outcomes’. However, this will change, ‘not simply due to political and societal pressures, but from the tangible benefit action delivers in terms of profits’.

Thirdly, the report notes that while smart buildings are increasingly advocated as a driver for automating and supporting maintenance and security, improving workplace and customer experience, and delivering sustainability outcomes, experts agree smart buildings and their ecosystems remain ‘in the earliest stages of development, and the concept lacks a clear definition and an underpinning specification’. As the research details, however, this presents both a challenge and opportunity for WFM. 

IWFM CEO, Linda Hausmanis, said: “After 30 remarkable years, it’s important to appreciate the scale of change over that time, and the ‘lynchpin’ contribution of workplace and facilities management to organisations. To serve our members best and advance this critical profession as a whole it is vital to look to the future, identify forthcoming megatrends, and address potential effects. This research shares expert perspectives and actionable information to influence strategy and practices and unlock the profession’s potential to transform organisations. By doing so, we can better equip professionals and organisations with the tools they need to succeed in the time ahead.” 

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