With the arrival of 2022, the world has begun to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and many things have changed about the way we live. This sweeping change has clearly created challenges in virtually every industry and every workplace, and this is certainly true for facilities managers.
Of course, it is worth pointing out that the last couple of years have been extremely turbulent when it comes to all things relating to facilities and building operations. Various lockdowns and government advice have led more people to work from home than ever before. And even now as we come out of the worst of the pandemic, many people are still choosing to work a mix of in-office and at-home.
It is certainly the case that this “new normal” has created challenges for facilities managers. And these challenges will need to be overcome for buildings to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Here we take a look at some of the biggest challenges for facilities managers in 2022, and what can be done to manage them.
The Ongoing Aspects of the Pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 is still being felt. While the worst of the pandemic may be behind us, there is always the possibility of new variants. As such, 2022 is shaping up to be a continuously unpredictable year. This in itself is likely to be one of the most significant challenges from the perspective of any facilities manager.
It should also be noted that there are other impacts from the pandemic that are likely to negatively affect the job of facilities managers. Challenges such as supply chain issues have the potential to cause major disruption. It will be up to facilities managers to plan for these potential issues and factor them into any work or projects that are being carried out.
Hybrid Working Environment
If there is something that we can take as a certainty from the pandemic, it is that remote working is here to stay. In a recent survey, an incredible 98% of participants said that they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their career. And another revealed that hybrid working is not only the most popular form of working, but that younger generations prefer it even more than older generations.
While some have argued that this means it is likely that the amount of commercial space required for working will shrink, this seems unlikely to be the case. It becomes a case more that facilities managers need to focus on how to most effectively and efficiently use buildings that are not fully occupied.
There is no doubt that one issue that continues to cause challenges for facilities management is compliance. Facilities managers are responsible for various aspects of the property, and need to ensure that it remains in full compliance with all relevant regulations at all times.
A good example of this comes in the form of asbestos. Those managing a building have a duty of care to ensure that anyone working at or entering the property does not have a risk of being exposed to asbestos.
“An asbestos survey is valuable for a number of reasons,” said David Hanley, Director at asbestos specialists Crucial Environmental. “In non-domestic premises, there must be a plan in place to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure to employees. When you have a survey carried out it can identify any asbestos currently on your premises and provide details on where the ACMs (asbestos-containing materials) are located and their current condition. From these details you will be able to create your asbestos management plan.”
Internet of Things
A major challenge for facilities managers comes in the form of a potential positive. With the rising number of connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT), facilities managers must work to understand the most effective ways to integrate them into their buildings.
IoT has the potential to revolutionize how facilities managers operate. For example, many smart devices can provide reports in their operation and let you know when they need any kind of maintenance or repairs.
Issues like sustainability and anything revolving around eco-friendly thinking have become a hot topic in the world of facilities management. Businesses and their customers expect buildings to be doing everything that they can to minimize their carbon footprint and invest in green solutions wherever possible.
“When it comes to the environment, decisions we make today have a long-term impact on the health of our planet,” said Jane Young of Smart Way 2. “No longer are environmental issues something for future generations to solve; instead they are urgent matters which we need to solve today. Decisions that facilities managers make can have a tremendous impact as long as they choose to embrace sustainability.”
The Importance of Maintenance
One of the major challenges for facilities managers is balancing the maintenance work that is carried out. In theory, as spaces are used less extensively by a partly remote workforce, less maintenance will be required. However, this potentially presents a slippery slope that some facilities managers could easily fall down.
Maintenance is an absolutely essential part of good facilities management. But it is the proactive and preventive forms of maintenance that are the most vital. While arising standard maintenance issues are more visible, far more important is the work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything continues to run as smoothly as possible.
How Can Facilities Managers Be More Effective in 2022?
There are many challenges facing facilities managers, but it is by facing them head-on that FM professionals can actually do their job more effectively. Many of the challenges that facilities managers face in 2022 revolve around finding the most effective ways to operate and integrate new technology.
Chester Avey has over a decade of experience in business growth management and cybersecurity. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other like-minded professionals through his writing. You can connect with Chester by following him on Twitter @ChesterAvey