Peter Ankerstjerne is the CMO Group Marketing at ISS A/S. Through his more than 20 years with the ISS Group, Peter has been involved in most aspects of Service Management, Facility Management, Outsourcing, Marketing and Strategy Development. Peter is a fellow at the IFMA Foundation and he is actively involved in the Industry as both speaker and debater. He is member of IFMA, CoreNet, IAOP and is the ISS representative at GlobalFM and EuroFM. In 2015, Peter was appointed Fellow of RICS (FRICS) and was also voted one of the five best CMO’s in Denmark by Berlingske Nyhedsmagasin.
The workforce has changed dramatically – and the workplace needs to catch up. Today, Facility Management professionals and organizations are faced with managing a more technologically savvy and diverse workforce, which elicits a whole new set of challenges.
Working from any location other than the office was unheard of when I began my career 20 years ago – today, my office can be accessed almost anywhere, even 30,000 feet up in the air. But it isn’t just my office that has changed, the people that fill up my office and my email inbox have also changed.
Two factors are primarily responsible for the disruption – or evolution, as I like to call it – of what I have considered to be my office over the lifetime of my career: Technology and Globalization.
This shift towards a labor force that is more technologically savvy and diverse has already occurred, yet many organizations have struggled to evolve the workplace alongside a rapidly changing labor force. After all, it wasn’t long ago that having a physical presence in the office was a prerequisite – from both a technological and corporate policy perspective – in order to: connect with colleagues, participate in meetings and work in general.
Trying to transform the workplace in conjunction with the evolution of the labor force has left facility managers and organizations with a whole new set of questions around the role of the workplace: What is the function of the office when the majority of the workforce works remotely? How can collaboration between employees from across the world be enhanced through technology? Etc.
But one thing is certain: The labor force and their needs have evolved. Now, as facility managers and organizations we must understand how to transform the workplace in order to meet a changing labor force’s demands, both today and in the future.
A workplace that’s built around the worker
As the trend of globalization continues, diversity in the workplace will only continue to increase.
When facing a workforce that is more multi-national and multi-generation, organizations and their subsequent facility mangers are tasked with creating a workplace that engages a more diverse group of workers. For facility managers, meeting the needs of this diverse workforce will involve focusing less on servicing the building and more on servicing the individuals occupying the building space.
This will result in offices that suit different user needs, user journeys and more flexible working patterns. These workplaces will offer a variety of work environments that can be adapted to the completion of different tasks: spaces for brainstorming sessions, spaces for individual work, spaces for networking, spaces for collaborating, and spaces for private meetings.
Today, when knowledge workers have the ability to customize their work environment to suit their needs, by choosing whether or not they work from the office or the nearby coffee shop, it is essential that organizations are able to motivate knowledge workers to come to the actual office. Providing a workplace environment that allows employees to fully focus on their work, release their creativity and realize their potential is the best place to start.
But this can’t be achieved without data that provides a deeper understanding of different user needs, user journeys and more flexible working patterns…
A workplace that is empowered by data
In order to create workplaces that cater to a diverse workforce, data is needed to inform facility managers’ and organizations’ understanding of user behaviour – providing insights that can improve the office experience, one touchpoint at a time.
Without data only assumptions can be made about how an end-user arrives at the office, moves through the office or interacts with various services. These actions are hard to truly comprehend unless data that can inform facility managers and organization’ about the true needs and behaviours of the people within the workplace.
The best employers will be the ones that excel in using the data and services to create better employee experiences and create a people-centred workplace culture that accommodates different worker needs, patterns and not least different lifestyles.
In other words, to win the war for talent in a world biased toward intellectual outputs, the facilities management profession needs to prove itself as one that can foster collaboration, enable smarter and more efficient work processes, and create a workplace environment where employees do not only come because they have to be there – but because they want to be there.