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the next generation of fm

10 November 2016 | Martin Read


Demographic data is curious, not least because of our tendency to understand the message they convey while almost immediately putting it to the back of our minds. 


We know, for example, that the nation’s green belt cannot survive the need for new housing that dramatically shifts in the population make-up demand, yet spend huge amounts of time and money pretending other solutions are viable. 


Similarly, we know way in advance about the change in age make-up of the typical workforce, yet all too often we wait until way after the fact to address the issues and service requirements raised. 


Or how about this one: Life no longer has three ages, but four. Average life expectancy for men and women has increased by two years since 2005. Think about what that means if trends continue.


From an FM perspective it’s clear that workplaces need to meet the requirements of these four generations in the same space – a workspace catering for these groups’ differing accessibility, nutritional and cultural requirements. 


The need for flexible workspaces to adapt to accommodate multiple generations is as much a driver of the wellness agenda as the need to address more immediate well-being requirements.


A CBRE report on all of this – ‘Wellness in the workplace: Unlocking future performance’ – feeds in to all of these. The global property consultancy makes the link between an organisation’s wellness offering and its influence on staff recruitment and retention. If the report is to be believed, workplaces will increasingly need to assist individual users with their personal health management regimes, aided by the devices we’ll all be using as a result of a wearable health tech revolution projected to be a market worth $70 billion by 2025. 


Developing and maintaining the corporate Internet of Things infrastructure to support all of this will be vital; that’s where the FM profession comes in. The state of our individual health, performance and productivity will be something we each have far greater personal control over in future – and the most attractive facilities will be those that help us in maintaining that control.


Martin Read is editor of FM World