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Facilities Management White Paper 2024 - Workplace Futures Conference

Wf24 Frontcover  

People & Technology: a symbiotic relationship

Start a conversation about important issues in FM and two subjects are guaranteed to be at the top of the list – people and technology.

FM is fundamentally a people business. We have moved steadily away from the early focus on buildings and physical assets. They are still vitally important, of course; but increasingly we have shifted our concern to that true critical asset – people. Our own people, those of our customers and those who live and work in the communities in which we operate. Spurred on by the impacts of the Covid period, trends that were already evident have moved up the agenda. Wellbeing, the workplace experience, sustainability in its broadest sense, along with the elements – and often requirements – of ESG performance.

This is an area that is critically important for FM, but equally so for HR and IT. FM can be a pioneer here, helping to build the collaboration so much in need.

Workplace Futures 2024 set out to to challenge perceptions and provide essential take-aways and plenty of valuable insights, all freely available to share with colleagues.

The conference explored the symbiotic relationship between people and technology in FM – a relationship that is becoming increasingly important day by day and one that, if we get it right, bring substantial benefits to service providers, their employees and their customers.  If we get it wrong, however, there will be substantial costs.

Workplace Futures 2024 brought together a strong panel of speakers to offer valuable, knowledgeable, practical information and insights – from the big trends in the technology world, the commercial world and into FM, through current challenges and opportunities around both technology and people development, to case studies of implementation and successful outcomes.

Click to view - WF24 - People & Technology: a symbiotic relationship


White Paper Archive

Whitepaper 23

Technology in the workplace: beyond the information age

The Information Age has seen us embrace technology and the resulting data – collecting it, analysing it and converting it (with greater or lesser success) into strategies and decisions that deliver real benefits. In part, this is why the era we are currently living in is defined as the ‘Information Age’. 

In facilities management, for several years the discussion has been around the opportunities that the power of technology offers to change much of what we do for the better – more of the right information faster, more insight into problems and solutions, more efficient use of resources, better outcomes, better personal experiences.

Technology that already exists, appropriately specified and integrated, gives us the power to provide workplaces that meet the need for a better experience for users in an environment that is efficient, cost-effective and supportive of sustainability goals. But what’s often missing before the Information Age can deliver on its full promise is that top-level strategy, the integration of all elements into a single system that provides a coherent, comprehensive source of accurate, usable information – one truth in one place, with easily defined ways to respond to it.

But, of course, not every organisation moves at the same pace, whether client or service provider. There’s the issue of change itself, which is not always easy. There may be issues around costs of implementing new technologies, even if only in the short-term; and in many cases there may be a need for new skills to successfully deploy and manage new systems. Probably the greatest challenge, however, is simply to understand – to understand what a particular piece of new technology means, what it offers, what its real benefits and costs might be, whether it is the right choice for a particular situation.

Click to view - WF23 - Technology in the workplace: beyond the information age

Whitepaper 22

FM & sustainability: the social, environmental and commercial challenge

Sustainability is a huge topic – broad in scope, critical in importance, and replete with both opportunity and risk. The programme for Workplace Futures 2022 was structured around the three key aspects of this topic: social, environmental and commercial – all three representing both opportunities and challenges.

This, in turn, represents a complex challenge for strategists and decision-makers. And for facilities management, there is an added layer of challenge. FM service providers have the opportunity to advise, guide and support their customers on sustainability strategy and tactics. This means that service providers themselves must be seen to be knowledgeable and effective leaders in this area. That means our own strategies and tactics must be demonstrably on-target and equal to or even more advanced than those of our customers.

So, what does FM need to know and do now? What can we learn from companies and individuals taking a lead? This white paper captures the content of the day, driven by an exceptional panel of speakers, with the focus on hands-on experience, practical advice and useful take-aways.

Click to view - WF22 - FM & sustainability: the social, environmental and commercial challenge

Return to the Workplace

WF21 Whitepaper

Getting back to normal – whatever form that takes for individual organisations – looks like being a growing trend. That means investigation, planning and strategy development all need to be underway in good time ahead of decision-making and action. But none of this is easy in a climate where the moving parts are still moving and the wider context is subject to more change. Every organisation needs clearer, more concise, more usable information – the best available on those ‘moving parts’: health & safety responsibilities and obligations, work and the workplace, service design and delivery, people and their needs and expectations.

The first mid-year event in the highly successful, long-running Workplace Futures series was designed specifically to cover all this and more, drawing on information, guidance and insights from a carefully selected expert panel of speakers.

FM has both the opportunity and the obligation to play a full, critical role in many of the vital decisions necessary to getting buildings back into operation in ways that make sense for the organisations involved. This paper explores the implications of that challenge.

Click to view - WF July 21 - Return to the Workplace Whitepaper

Impact, Challenges & Opportunities

WF21 Whitepaper

Our first online event, Workplace Futures 2021 took on the impact, challenges and opportunities presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. As this extraordinary situation moved towards its first anniversary, the conference drew together a range of experts to look at the business climate facing FM and the wider economy – followed by a number of senior decision-makers who talked about what it has meant for their organisations and how they are responding.

Many of the trends we’ve seen in recent years – changing work, technology, workplaces, service requirements and more - have been greatly accelerated by the pandemic.  One consequence of that is more change, in the way we design, operate and support facilities and the organisations that FMs serve.

Many these changes are both challenges and opportunities. Fundamentally, the opportunity lies within our grasp to re-engineer FM, to reimagine real estate and to finally say goodbye to all the worst aspects of price-driven outsourcing and the market’s race to the bottom.

Click to view - WF21 - Impact, Challenges & Opportunities Whitepaper

The 20:20 FM Vision of Wellness

We live in a time of remarkable change – as new technologies, new commercial realities, new social and economic conditions all combine to shift our views of work: what it is, how it is done, where and when. An important part of this is a new focus on responsible business, sustainability for our communities, buildings that work, and health & wellbeing for individuals: all factors in the concept of wellness. In both public and private sector organisations, facilities management is the common thread underpinning this critical idea.

FM has the opportunity and the obligation to play a full role in many of these important areas and to take a positive lead in some. FM can be the discipline known for its reliable support for these new realities, pioneering in areas such as service quality, wellbeing and sustainability, to meet needs and raise the standard of response even further.

People, organisations and buildings all need to work towards the same aim, an aim expressed in the idea of wellness and the benefits this brings to both people and the organisations they work for. FM needs to move quickly to a more holistic offer that spans the crucial interactions between people and their buildings to ensure optimal efficiency, effectiveness, comfort, productivity, safety and health. 

Click to view - WF20 - The 20:20 FM Vision of Wellness 


Surviving FM: Making tomorrow a better place

The landmark failure of Carillion at the beginning of 2018 continues to ripple through the industry, adding to a sense of concern - or at the least, a sense of caution – together with other big issues such as Brexit and a more general political and economic uncertainty in the UK and beyond. And at the same time the facilities management sector continues to be a busy place characterised by growth and change even as it remains a highly competitive, low-margin industry.

Service providers have responded to the mixed conditions we’ve seen in recent years in very different ways. There has been positive, steady growth often bolstered by acquisition; and there have also been profit warnings, falling revenue and the introduction of hard-nosed transformation strategies.

What is it about the FM industry that gives rise to experiences at opposite ends of the spectrum? What can we learn from companies who are pursuing transformation successfully? And what about the ones who appear to go from strength to strength – are there insights or lessons that can be applied elsewhere?

If facilities management is to continue on its broad track of successful development, we need to know more about the business of FM, its challenges and opportunities, what works and what doesn’t. This was the goal of Workplace Futures 2019.

Click to view - WF19 - Surviving FM: Making tomorrow a better place


FM: Adding Value

The ability to add value is an absolute necessity if the facilities management sector is to be sustainable, profitable and ‘a good place to be’.

So how does FM add value to clients and the wider community? How do we define it, measure it, report it, demonstrate it?

Workplace Futures 2018 took delegates on a joined-up journey, exploring the theme of adding value, not just as a theoretical model but in real-life experience. The programme provided delegates with insights from leading thinkers and doers, highlighting where the sector is and where it needs to get to. The focus was on practical elements in terms of critical factors that need to be deployed, backed up with selected case studies to demonstrate what success can look like.

Click to view - WF18 - FM: Adding Value


Facilities Management: Challenging Conventions

‘Work’, ‘workplace’, even ‘facilities management’ – most of us automatically think in terms of offices when we hear those words. And that’s not surprising: so much of the shared experience, discussion, research and published knowledge in our sector is drawn from this type of environment.

But FM is far more diverse. Facilities management is just as crucial a function in museums, leisure sites, retail centres, healthcare, manufacturing, military installations, prisons – the list is virtually endless.

And in each unique environment there are valuable insights to be gained and important lessons to learn that bridge the specialisations and inform the wider practice of FM. The common themes in all these environments – in all of FM – include operational efficiency and effectiveness, customer knowledge and service quality, corporate responsibility and sustainability, market positioning and brand development.

Workplace Futures 2017 challenged the prevailing ‘think office’ convention to explore the state of the discipline from a range of less common perspectives.

Click to view - Facilities Management - FM: Challenging Conventions


Facilities Management: Agent of Change

The world we live and work in today is drastically different to the one we knew 20, 10 or even 5 years ago – and the speed of change is increasing all the time. 

Nowhere is this truer than in the workplace.  Complex factors and emerging trends – from the social to the technological – are reshaping the way we work and the environments in which we work.

Facilities management can take the lead here, ensuring all this change produces positive outcomes for both people and organisations. But is FM ready for that? How well do we understand and manage change now? What will be the defining issues of the 21st century workplace? What does FM need to do to become a true agent of change?

By bringing together a panel of carefully selected expert speakers and an audience of FM leaders, Workplace Futures 2016 made a significant contribution to answering questions such as these – the same questions that are shaping the future of both the industry and the profession.

Click to view - Facilities Management - FM: Agent of Change


Facilities Management: Convergence in the Workplace

Convergence is a key issue for facilities management. As organisations, work and the workplace change at ever-increasing rates, FM must more and more work in concert with the other key support disciplines: CRE, HR, IT, finance, procurement – even marketing. What does this mean for the future of FM?

The big areas of potential convergence are property, place and people. Traditionally, there have been some serious gaps, conflicts and overlaps between disciplines – so, how are we doing in breaking down the silos? Are we communicating effectively? Is collaboration delivering? Where and how are these diverse professions working together efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the organisation?

And critically – how far will convergence go, and what do we need to do to ensure we get the best possible results?

Workplace Futures 2015 tackled the big issues here, bringing together a panel of carefully selected expert speakers and facilitating discussion to produce interesting, timely and practical information and insights. Learn more in our post-conference White Paper.

Click to view - Facilities Management: Convergence in the Workplace

Watch a short summary of i-FM's Workplace Futures conference
which took place at The Crystal, London in February 2015.


Facilities Management: Making Innovation Work

Innovation is a big topic in FM. Clients asks for it, and providers promise it – often in a seemingly unending cycle. But what is innovation? How do you identify it, how do you measure it, how do you assess the benefits?

This key concept in facilities management – increasingly central in recent years as both clients and providers have felt the pressure to sharpen their performance – remains elusive. Innovation is easy to talk about but much harder to deliver. Yet when truly innovative ideas emerge and are put into practice, the benefits are clear – whether they are measured in terms of lower costs, greater efficiency, improved employee well-being, reduced impact on the environment, or in some other value-adding way.

Click to view - Facilities Management: Making Innovation Work


Facilities Management: Securing the future for FM

We need to move on. That was the starting point for Workplace Futures 2013 - we need to take FM theory and practice to the next level. We need to stop thinking about service delivery in the old ‘tried & tested’ ways and start thinking in terms of true alignment with business objectives and real customer experience.

The programme brought together some of the trail-blazers working on the key issues to offer insights, experience and guidance - all captured in this White Paper.

Click to view - Facilities Management: Securing the future for FM


Facilities Management: New needs. New solutions?

Under the theme 'new needs; new solutions?', the 2012 Workplace Futures conference was shaped around some of the central challenges facing UK FM as it begins to reach some maturity. 

A carefully selected expert panel of speakers shared their own experiences, views and insights on a range of topics around this theme in February. This White Paper captures that invaluable material.

Click to view - Facilities Management: New needs. New Solutions?


Facilities Management: realising the value of the investment

Facilities management is a critical business discipline. It’s also a big, dynamic and often confusing marketplace. How do service managers and service buyers develop an understanding of what they need and then make sense of what’s on offer? How do service providers explain what they can do in ways that managers and buyers can relate to comfortably?

Inspired by the expert contributors to the Workplace Futures conference 2011 – and the invaluable discussions that followed – we have produced a unique industry White Paper, tackling just these issues.

Click to view - Facilities Management: realising the value of the investment