IWFM chief executive Linda Hausmanis used the Workplace Design Show in London on Thursday 4th November to argue that the workplace and facilities management profession will be front and centre as the hybrid working debate continues.
Presenting the event’s keynote speech, Hausmanis spoke of the pandemic having “brought us closer to workplace than we have yet been”.
“As we move into new modes of working, we are seeing organisations adapt physical spaces, working culture and technologies. In many organisations the workplace and facilities teams are leading this change. It has confirmed them as the department of enablement.
“This is a moment for the workplace,” she continued. “Adapting workspaces, culture and technology to empower people to work wherever they are most productive should be the goal because fundamentally workplace is driven by how people work, not where people work. That is workplace in action.”
Nevertheless, key questions remain. “Can we know how more distributed working patterns will affect us in the longer term? Can one size fit all? Is it good for our wellbeing? Where does the workspace and responsibility for it begin and end? How will organisations manage their property portfolios?
“In our 2021 Outlook Report, 84 per cent of client-side respondents had changed their flexible working strategies and nearly six in 10 said they would be reducing the amount of space they occupy. What will happen to our town centres? How will these changes influence our carbon and climate goals? Many unknowns. Much to learn.”
IWFM expects to see “more skilled facilities professionals… using the experience of the pandemic to devise integrated property or workplace user strategies that can blend a number of factors. These include the future demands of a (probable) smaller office footprint, the impacts of businesses rationalising and refocusing service requirements and the changing expectations of the physical workspace as somewhere to bring people together differently than before; underpinned, of course, by a clear purpose. And organisations must use these departments of enablement to develop and review their workplace strategies with learning and meaningful engagement.”
The Workplace Design show took place at London’s Business Design Centre in Islington. For more details, click here.