The workforce is undergoing massive changes. Trends such as globalization and automation continue to squeeze middle-skills jobs and increase the number of temporary workers. But what impact will this have on facility management?
Technological development and globalization are putting a downward pressure on employee benefits, wages and contractual agreements. Progressively, companies transfer employees from fixed to variable employment contracts to grow their flexibility and decrease their sensitivity to outward pressures. According to a McKinsey survey among US employers, more than one third plan to increase the use of contingent labor and part-time workers in the years ahead. McKinsey also see a range of new intermediaries emerging to supply high-skill and low-skill talent for short-term assignments. Many of these assignments will be sourced virtually.
The consequences of temporary workers
The growth of temporary workers has both positive and negative consequences as visualized in the illustration below.
In many cases, both companies and workers benefit from increased flexibility. While companies gain agility, cost control as well as decrease their sensitivity towards external market pressures, workers including seniors aged 60+ and those with young children tend to enjoy flexible working arrangements.
For middle-skill knowledge workers, economic- and job-related security are becoming important psychological factors in the workplace and according to a recent global workforce survey four out of ten employees were willing to accept wage reductions in return for a defined retirement package.
Balancing managing talent and motivating the disengaged
The future of work will hold both opportunities and challenges for office designs and facility management providers. They will be asked to develop new ways to provide inspiring and motivating workspaces that both promote productivity and save money.
Studies by BCG and IBM show that the war for talent, managing talent, improving leadership development, and strategically enhancing the current capabilities of workforces are the areas with the greatest importance in the future. The Facility Management industry expect steep increases in users’ expectations for design quality and up-to-date technology to continue, with focus on providing the absolute best workplace amenities for the best talents towards 2020.
The impacts of the future of work on facility management
Office designers and facility mangers will need to be innovative to offer motivating solutions at reduced costs. They will need to balance between the quantity of office environment (m2 per employee) and the quality of the experience. As workers increasingly are asked to work harder, workspaces must be maintained as a critical element in helping employees feel engaged at work. This will imply finding the correct balance between standardization and individualization in the workplace. Once this has been identified, Facility Managers need to facilitate and secure the desired level of individualization.
Finally, it will be more and more important to balance the requirements of employees with the organization’s strategic ambitions and culture. With a focus on cost reductions this balance will be placed between the quantity and the quality of the workplace experience.
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