How the Changing Work Environment is Affecting Facility Management

T-Mobile’s !Creation Center

              T-Mobile’s !Creation Center


The work environment as we know it is changing by the day. The disappearance of isolated cubicles and the “lone wolf” mentality of the 80’s are ushering in a new office environment with fewer partitions, open collaboration areas, and engagement with employees to drive productivity while reducing costs.


In lieu of these changes, facility managers are searching for ways to engage their employees in this changing work atmosphere. This has developed the need for workplace strategy, which is the dynamic alignment of an organization’s work patterns with its work environment to enable peak performance and cost reductions.


What’s trending in the work environment? From a design perspective, many progressive companies are shifting to more vibrant and stimulating workplaces that offer employees flexibility on how, when, and where they work.


This includes increased open collaboration areas, high end finishes, increased use of mobile technologies and new and innovative furniture systems such as treadmill desks and systems with IT/AV-connectivity.


The ability to work remotely has also affected the layout and design of work spaces. At any given time, as much as 1/3 of the work force is working remotely. Therefore, designers and facility managers are opting for more hoteling stations and flexible space in lieu of assigned desks.


Other trends include a balance of natural and artificial lighting which, if designed correctly, can have a positive impact on employee productivity. Even in buildings with few windows, office spaces can access natural light through the use of solar tubes which channel daylight throughout the building in a series of tubular mirrors. Solar tubes can work in conjunction with lighting sensors to shut off artificial lights on sunny days thereby reducing energy costs.


With these changing trends occurring in the workplace, how do facility managers efficiently engage their employees to understand this dynamic?


The simplest and easiest way is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing allows you to obtain the collective expertise of your employees which can be used in key decisions throughout the office space. It empowers employees to be strategic partners in the workplace and shows that their opinion matters. Crowdsourcing also eliminates the perception that key decision makers are acting on their own behalf – and data from crowdsourcing can be disclosed as back up.


Facility managers can also use social media in conjunction with crowdsourcing to extract creative and innovative ideas from employees. Social media platforms such as Facebook allow for like-minded people to voice and share their opinions. The ubiquitous nature of social media makes it a great communication tool inside and outside of the company.


Ideas and concepts can easily be exchanged and combined with the power of crowdsourcing, facility managers can keep workplaces fun, productive, and cost effective while keeping pace with the ever-changing work environment.


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