Brave new world

The 2021 Workplace Future Conference delivered a confident message that FM is within an exceptional position to greatly help shape the post pandemic working world

T he first big FM conference of the growing season marks per year since Workplace Futures 2020, the final live FM event prior to the pandemic hit. Introducing the web conference, Chair Martin Pickard said there is never more important an occasion to share what we’ve all learnt over the past year, and poignantly, held a minute’s silence for the front-line FM people lost to COVID-19.

The overriding theme of the conference however, was of positivity, with a concentrate on the way the sector can build on its enhanced credibility and continue steadily to demonstrate the worthiness FM increases client organisations and the wider economy and society.

In his keynote address Simon Titchener, CCO at ISS urged delegates to remain flexible and embrace the uncertainty which will continue to dog people on the coming months. He noted that while working at home remains a hot topic, employers have to recognize that collaborative work will demand an work place still. The workplace has been recast he said, as “anyplace rather than four walls just. It’s not just a physical asset but a bubble around a person to greatly help them meet their goals.”

Probably the most attractive employers would be the most flexible he concluded and there’s never been an improved chance of FM companies to provide this and help drive client businesses forward.


In his summary of the economy appearing out of lockdown Ian Marson from EY warned of an insolvency dam. Over 30 % of property firms issued a profit warning this past year and many will battle to continue after the furlough scheme concludes. However, the noticeable changes wrought by COVID have observed the expectations of employees change, which might benefit the FM sector in the long run, as clients draw on FM expertise to greatly help attract staff into offices back.

THE UNITED KINGDOM FM market will dsicover a drop in revenues of -5.8 % in 2020, due to COVID-19 and can not go back to 2019 levels until 2022 said John Raspin of Frost & Sullivan. More he predicted future steady growth encouragingly, fuelled by the convergence of digital services and technology that enhance organisational productivity and an individual experience. Partnership and the co-creation of services are fundamental. “It’s tough to alone undertake the future, which explains why collaboration will undoubtedly be important in the foreseeable future extremely.”

The huge disruption in a shift to home working brings a chance to change how exactly we look at property, argued Rob Harris, Principal of Ramidus Consulting. We have to move from building more to building better, as operational resources where customer needs are to the fore. The true estate sector he said, must be a realtor of change in this; focusing in the foreseeable future on service, environment, social justice and business performance.

Digital technology has advanced exponentially within the last year and Mark Miller, Workplace Technology Strategist at Cisco believes technology will undoubtedly be needed to support an extremely dispersed workforce in the a long time while supporting people heading back into work to be making use of their colleagues, socialise and learn.


What into the future of any office amidst all of this disruption? It had been comforting to listen to Marie Puybaraud, Global Head of Research at JLL reassure us that the crisis has given us a distinctive possibility to realign the workplace and pilot new concepts to greatly help create the continuing future of work. In accordance with JLL research nearly all employees want to go back to work, with nearly 25 % (24 %) opting to stay the office constantly, and 66 % preferring to alternate between different places to work. 2020 she added, was a wake-up contact terms of sustainability, moving it to the very best of the incorporating and agenda areas such as for example health and wellness.

Baskar Sundaram of, consultancy & strategy advisors Baachu advised we’re all reacting to the shock of COVID and you can find so many moving parts, the complete market is in reaction. You can find seismic changes ahead he believes on the next a decade, but, “the way you behaved in times of crisis” will stick in people’s minds.

Following pandemic said Peter Ankerstjerne of Planon Group and IFMA we should ensure we’ve sufficient business continuity processes set up and FMs have to embrace the brand new reality of supporting home working, flexible offices, and third places like a coffee lounge or shop, whichever makes more sense for an individual to work. Flexibility is paramount to help build collaborative ecosystems at work using FM because the facilitator.

The conference organisers delivered a fantastic case study. AstraZeneca’s Head of FM Dan Julie and Rogers Ennis, CEO Corporate Services for Sodexo described the delivery of services to AZ’s giant Macclesfield campus through the development of the vaccine. Their presentation was an excellent reminder that the very best FM helps organisations achieve their overall objectives, which in this full case was giving science the proper surroundings and services to meet up their goals.


Simon Venn, Chief Government & Year strategy Officer for Mitie reflected on the societal role FM has had over the last, specifically in partnering with traditional competitors to perform in record times the Nightingale and Dragons Heart hospitals and the creation of a huge selection of COVID 19 test centres. He said: “I was so impressed in the manner our sector stepped around help the nation. The capability to rapidly adapt is really a hallmark of the FM something and sector we’ve shown throughout this crisis.”

At another end of the scale from Mitie, Andrew Hulbert, Managing Director of Pareto FM argued that SME’s show they’re best served to respond quickly to customer demands in these unprecedented circumstances. He echoed other speaker’s praise for the FM heroes who for “the entirety of the pandemic returned into buildings to completely clean, secure or checks assets”.

This thought was echoed by CEO of CityFM Paul Bean who reflecting on the ways his organisation met the challenges of the final year, said: “this pandemic shows we are able to utilise technology better, what realy works well, and what doesn’t and the worthiness of human contact.”

Summing up your day in her usual incisive way, Lucy Jeynes of Larch Consulting asked how FM can build on the recognition it’s won in playing this type of key role keeping in mind the economy moving and contribution of frontline workers? “We realize it’s challenging so we have to imagine the answer and lead not follow. It’s longer about plodding by way of a contract no, but leading clients in new directions with the addition of value and upping our game.”

If the sector manages to look at are just some of the suggestions made at Workplace Futures 2021 it’ll be in a stronger position to navigate the post pandemic world.