Workforce diversity and globalisation – the impact on FM
Organisations will have to balance the needs of more diverse and individual-oriented workforces. Workers will demand increasingly mobile working environments, they will retire later, and the workforce as a whole will be more globally oriented. In this article, ISS look at how individualisation and workforce diversity will impact FM. One of the most important tasks of facilities managers of the future will be to develop intelligent strategies, designs and practices that reflect an increasing number of workers’ needs.
Why? Well, a central goal of modern life is to distinguish oneself from others and promote individual over collective goals. We see this in the way customers increasingly expect tailored products and services but also in the way workers increasingly demand customised and personalised workplaces.
Alongside increasing individualisation – workplaces become more and more diverse. Employees and customers from different cultures, who possess different values and needs, will require workplaces, services and products that are customised to their individual demands.
Managing workplaces across generations
Organisations and future offices will have to balance the needs and requirements of four generations. Generation Y (Millennials) will represent the largest new talent pool that companies will recruit from. These will work side by side with new workers over the age of 45 and baby boomers, of which 40 percent expect to work until they die.
Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School says that in countries including Australia, there has been an increasing amount of media coverage on the importance of achieving a healthy work/life balance. Employers acknowledge that supporting wellbeing in the workplace is a vital means of attracting talent – especially younger people, for whom the ability to take regular exercise, have a good night’s sleep and eat a balanced diet are all high priorities as they enter a working life that could well stretch into their 80s.
FM providers and workplace strategies will have to make strategic choices in workplace design, as young and older workers tend to be attracted to different working environments. Older workers often demand flexible working arrangements, part-time employments and office designs that complement their increasing acoustic, heat, cold and light sensitiveness. The Generation Y on the other hand, will expect workplaces to be technologically up-to-date, emphasise healthy work-life balance and create a sense of belonging that offer long-term relationship and a professional development opportunity.
All in all, identifying and implementing the right workplace amenities strategy will challenge FM providers and workplace strategies, as different generations bring different values, needs, degrees of familiarity with technology, and expectations to the workplace.
The workforce will become even more global
Globalisation of markets has caused global mobility and this in return has resulted in the emergence of new talent pools from low and middle-income countries. Global companies are increasingly focusing to attract local employees in foreign markets to gain a better understanding of local customs and to better serve the customers needs.
Growth of virtual work, global nomads, and one-way relocations will challenge organisations on how to attract, motivate and communicate to their employees with different cultural backgrounds and expectations.
To create a motivating and engaging workplace for more globally connected, but still culturally diverse employees, FM providers will be called upon to help facilitate the creation of customised workplaces that balance the individual needs of the worker and local workplace behaviours, while supporting core business strategies and maintaining a common corporate identity.
Intel Security’s report ‘Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025’ discusses possible scenarios in the near future and the changes we can expect:
- Going global: It is not just knowledge work that is being performed remotely and this will create both challenges and opportunities for Australians.
- Machines will destroy and create jobs: Surging capabilities of robots and artificial intelligence will see a range of jobs supplanted. New jobs however will rapidly emerge and will focus on skills that machines lack.
- Offices transform: There will still be offices where people work together, designed to facilitate face-to-face communication and collaboration.
- Coworking everywhere: Co-working spaces will not just be for the self-employed and entrepreneurs.
- Economy of individuals: A rapidly increasing proportion of the population will be self-employed and organisations will reshape themselves to draw on extended rather than permanent workforces.
- Polarisation of work opportunities: Globalised work and increased automation will drive a polarisation of work, with exceptional possibilities for those with in-demand skills.
- Longer working lives: The current idea of retirement at 65 or earlier will fade for many, driven by financial need and a more flexible economy.
- Value driven through customer data: Organisations’ success will be based on the quality of their customer service, driven by rich customer data.
Opportunity for FM providers
The increasing workforce diversity and focus on individualisation, puts organisations and facility managers in a challenging situation. In the nearest future, both parties need to put efforts in developing processes, designs and strategies where individualised mass customisation will be more a norm than exception.
There is an opportunity for FM providers, to help organisations attract, retain and motivate a more diverse employee base in organisations as well as create, adapt and implement workplace strategies to different local needs and cultural requirements.
In order to assist core organisations in aligning workplace strategies, FM providers can:
- Monitor a company’s performance requirements, employee profile, and organisational culture in order to select the most relevant amenities for employees
- Amplify companies’ strategic agility by differentiating between office in-house amenities and the ones provided by external partners and the local community
- Differentiate office amenities depending on local context and infrastructure needs. For example, office-provided daycare is important in Germany, but not important across the border in Denmark, where government provided daycare is the norm.
This blog was originally published by ISS and contains insights from reports from Intel Security and CEDA. Learn more about, which megatrends will influence our workplaces towards 2020 here or expand your insights even more by downloading the ISS New Ways of Working whitebook.