Over the past two decades, globalisation has continued to define the business landscape by growing cross-border interconnectedness, reflected in the global flows of people, capital, products, services, knowledge, information, technologies and cultures.
Decreasing transportation costs, improved infrastructure along with new media and communication technologies have increased the opportunity to connect with anyone from anywhere to exchange knowledge, explore new cultures and discover new business opportunities.
In many instances, globalisation has unquestionably made us more alike; just as it has made us more aware of local differences. Differences that multinational companies try to navigate through, understand and in many cases adapt to.
The increasing pace of globalisation, combined with huge advances in technology, will be forcing a paradigm shift in facilities management in the coming years and here are the 3 main challenges, every facility manager at minimum needs to be prepared for:
1. Globalisation creates polarization
Due to increased competition between companies and worldwide markets, globalisation squeezes middle-skilled jobs, moves an increasing number of employees from fixed to variable employment contracts and places a downward pressure on employee benefits and wages. As a consequence, companies and their facility managers must balance the ability to attract workers while contending with these downward pressures on office amenities for the majority of its workers.
To overcome this challenge, Facility Managers will be forced to develop the workplace as a strategic tool to both attract and retain the best talents. This will require new ways to provide inspiring, engaging and motivating workspaces with up-to-date technologies that increase productivity, retain the best talents and at the same time reduce costs.
2. Challenge of managing diversity
Developing increasingly diverse teams that possess different cultural and work skills will become a strategic goal for more organizations that will use ethnic diversity to gain competitive advantage, understand the customer needs and to compensate for local talent shortages.
With a variety of employees with different cultures, races and ethnic backgrounds, companies and facility managers will be challenged to help facilitate the creation of customized workplaces that balance the needs of the worker and local workplace behaviors and customs, while supporting core business strategies and maintaining common corporate identity.
3. Making the virtual – real
Globalisation gives rise to culturally and geographically diverse project teams that must establish effective communication and collaboration, whether it is at the office or a third location. In many instances this will grow the need for effective virtual collaboration. Many companies are still unprepared to manage virtual workers and several researches show that virtual workers typically are passed over for promotion, generally receive lower employee evaluations and smaller wage increases. Therefore, facility managers will be required to create a working environment where virtual workers through collaboration platforms, video technologies and office design will maintain visibility in the workplace and feel included even though they physically are absent.
From the facility manager’s perspective, the emphasis also needs to be on development of new communication and leadership competencies that will make virtual worker management more effective and tangible.