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IWFM anniversary research identifies three megatrends that will affect workplaces for years to come

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’.

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, changing workspace objectives to a focus on sustainability and employee experience. Today – post-Brexit, post-pandemic and in increasingly competitive conditions – workplace and facilities professionals are “lynchpin” players in organisations, says IWFM.

In ‘30 years back, 3 trends for the future’, IWFM articulates the foundations on which to build the profession’s future, aided by the insight of experts from its community. The report identifies three “megatrends” affecting professionals, the sector and the wider business world today: embedding workplace strategy as a service; putting people, planet and profits on the same footing; and the relationship between smart buildings and WFMs.

Workplace strategy, the first megatrend, is set to become mainstream in demand and supply. This will present a huge opportunity for WFMs and FM service providers in years to come, and it is important that they grasp the opportunity early, evidence their value and secure their seat before others fill it.

On the second, progress in ESG and sustainability is uneven at best. While many organisations have taken positive steps, few have embedded sustainability as core strategic outcomes. That will change, not simply due to political and societal pressures, but from the tangible benefits that action delivers in terms of profits. Those companies that put people, planet and (still, much needed) profits on the same footing will be best positioned to achieve all three.

Thirdly, smart buildings are increasingly advocated as a driver for automating and supporting maintenance and security, improving workplace and customer experience, and delivering sustainability outcomes. And yet, despite incredible advances, experts agree that smart buildings and their ecosystems remain in 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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