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Integrated FM A Trigger for Workplace Evolution in Developing Economies

Published on : 6/21/19
  • The world population is expected to exceed 8.6 billion people by 2030 with 59% of them residing in the APAC region. India, one of the most fastest-growing economies in APAC, is expected to have the world’s youngest population by 2020, and about 30% of the world’s workforce by 2030.

    The above projections clearly suggest that India is uniquely positioned in the APAC region, to formulate and shape the future workplace trends. It is already evident that in the face of fast-paced change, job profile scope and variety will undergo a sea change in the upcoming years. Many current job profiles will disappear and completely new and out-of-the-box professions will emerge that require new skill sets. Organisations can hire and retain the best talent only by keeping them engaged and motivating them to create, inspire, lead and develop. As such, workplaces must become more flexible and agile with a sufficiently encouraging workplace experience being the dominant requirement.

    In such a scenario, it is necessary to set the course that integrated facilities management (IFM) and quality of life (QOL) will play in shaping the workplaces of the future. This is where Sodexo’s Institute for Quality of Life comes into focus. This Institute is inspired by Sodexo’s conviction that providing an enhanced Quality of Life to each employee has a vital role in extracting the best performance from him. The Institute’s sustained research on evolving trends provides insight regarding ways and means of improving QOL at the workplace.

    Taking into consideration global workplace trends, insight on QOL around the world and the role of advanced technology in the workplace, the Institute convened workshops in India and Singapore for the APAC region, where Sodexo client organisations from various industry verticals were convened. They shared their thoughts regarding the enablers and barriers for QOL at workplaces, what could be the future workplace trends by 2023 and how IFM could contribute to enhancing QOL, thus enriching the employee experience.

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    Deliberation by these clients put the spotlight on four key trends that could help IFM positively influence QOL.

    The appetite for IFM-led innovation and disruption, even in industries that are thought to be ‘conservative’, should not be underestimated – Conventionally, manufacturing industries used robots to perform simple, repetitive and monotonous activities. These robots were mechanical in nature and were assigned solo jobs. However, with the advent of AI in robotics, conservative sectors like financial services are showing increased interest in incorporating robots to perform skilled activities that require intelligence - like visitor management, indoor mail delivery, and smart cleaning. Exploring this new clientele is imperative for IFM sector today.

    The door is wide open to engage with new technology, start-ups and strategic experimentation in collaboration with external IFM partners – The world abounds with creative and innovative ideas. Engaging with new-age entrepreneurs in the start-up ecosystem can help to invent futuristic solutions. The need is to float open innovation programs that enlist the help of these external partners to imbibe changing trends in IFM, thus enriching the workplace experience.

    In IFM, sustainability must stretch beyond environmental aspects to address social and governance challenges – Smart ways of consuming energy is fast becoming a key differentiator between organisations. Using energy efficient gadgets and technologies in IFM can lead to optimum usage of energy and consequently, monetary resources. Awareness regarding the necessity of energy management and the distressing repercussions of unnecessary consumption will go a long way in creating a sustainable universe.  At the same time, with greater diversity in the workplace - for example, more women forging career paths and more generations working together - Emotional Intelligence (EI) has become a core skill set for high-performing organizations and outstanding leaders of the future. To succeed in the emerging business world, organizations need to evolve beyond short-term scrutiny of bottom-line performance.  As agents of change, their governance must be informed by and sensitive to the unavoidable environmental and social imperatives that will underpin performance.

    Making sure that client organisations can concentrate on their core business without the need for large in-house support services teams must remain central to IFM partners’ mission – Keeping the workplace clean and hygienic is imperative but it can best be achieved by outsourcing it to the IFM experts, instead of recruiting an in-house team to do the job. Smart cleaning integrates management systems, communications, data analytics, and maintenance and provides a comprehensive solution. Data-based rather than purely schedule-based cleaning will also provide additional advantages of preventive maintenance, asset management and analysis of employee behaviour, leading to improved QOL at workplaces.

    Find out more by reading the full report ‘Workplace Futures in Asia-Pacific: what role for IFM in improving Quality of Life?’

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