Facilities management is one of those professions that has undergone more than its fair share of changes over the years. This is mainly thanks to new technologies that change how facilities management is performed, but it’s also the way workforce expectations have changed over this time as well. This means that the evolution of facilities management has gone through a number of different stages to where it is today — and where it’s going in the future.
Facility Management From Its Origins to Today
Facilities management as a distinct role can be traced back to the 1970s. At this point, working as a facilities manager was often literal, in that it meant taking an active role in preventive and on-demand maintenance needs.
This, in turn, would help in maintaining and increasing worksite efficiency. Yet as the position evolved, so did its duties; over the next 20 to 30 years, facilities management came to mean more than just making sure a company’s physical equipment assets were in good shape.
In time, facility managers saw their responsibilities expand to more than just tools and equipment. Individual personnel and other assets also soon came under their purview. Additionally, contracts and leasing also became part and parcel of facilities management, including payroll, human resources, and other specifics.
In other words, the evolution of facilities management has come to encompass everything that goes into keeping a worksite running smoothly — including taking care of a company’s human capital.
What the Future Evolution of Facilities Management Has In Store
Just as older facilities management requirements have changed to incorporate new technologies and responsibilities, tomorrow’s modern workplaces will need additional support in new and exciting ways. With modern working methods leaning towards agility and flexibility due to high levels of connectivity and mobile technologies, facilities management positions will need to reflect these future trends as well.
Some of these trends have already begun to take hold. Mobile connectivity makes collecting a multitude of data points much easier and more manageable, and that means using data analysis as a management tool is becoming much more prevalent in environments requiring facilities management. So-called “soft” data such as employee engagement and morale can be gathered and parsed alongside inventory and productivity data, and it’s up to a modern facility manager to take these issues into account and adjust accordingly.
The Last Word on the Evolution of Facilities Management
Facilities management has a major responsibility to have a positive impact on not just the physical workspace of a business and the tools and technologies provided to workers to complete their tasks successfully. It’s also about managing and supporting human capital, as without your workers you’ll have no facility to manage.
This is exactly the path that the evolution of facilities management is likely to take in the future. The importance of physical building, tool, and equipment maintenance will always be important, but maintaining the productivity of your workforce through positive action will be, undoubtedly, the next evolution in the practice.