New challenges for facility managers: from green transition to hybrid work, here’s why Smart Lockers are an increasingly valuable resource
- 9 May 2023
- Elena Federici
There is growing importance in the company of this role, which now also has dedicated training paths and its own anniversary, which in 2023 falls on May 10.
The facility manager is an increasingly essential figure in many organizations because he or she is the person responsible for managing and optimizing space and resources within buildings.
This role involves a wide range of responsibilities, including planning and executing maintenance work, managing purchasing and contracts, ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants but also managing facilities and services in an efficient, safe, and sustainable manner.
At WIB, we often interface with the facility manager, who is increasingly the person in charge of evaluating the possibility of installing a Smart Locker in the company, choosing its intended use, configuration and all the other features that can be customized according to the needs of the organization in which he or she works.
World Facility Management Day
In recent years, the importance of Facility Management has been increasingly recognized, to the point that as of 2009 it has come to have a day all its own: in fact, on May 10, 2023, World Facility Management Day will be celebrated, an anniversary dedicated precisely to celebrating and recognizing the fundamental role that this figure plays in the healthy, safe and productive management of buildings and workplaces.
The celebration of Facility Management Day is therefore an extra opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of facility management and to thank facility management professionals for their vital work.
The day also provides an opportunity to promote innovation and development of this role but also to discuss current trends and challenges in the industry such as, for example, the green transition that companies face or the new ways of working that so many people have experienced due to the recent pandemic.
The role of the facility manager in the company
The day-to-day of the person in this role is made up of many commitments: from dealing with different types of suppliers to checking the needs of the staff in the company, from investment planning to emergency management, and much, much more.
The facility manager also plays a crucial role in promoting the environmental sustainability of buildings and workspaces: by adopting sustainable energy management practices, using environmentally friendly materials, and reducing the environmental impact of the day-to-day operations of their environments, their choices can really make a difference.
People engaged in this position are tasked with evaluating the benefits of introducing new technologies, such as IoT (Internet of Things) sensing and automation to improve the energy efficiency of buildings but also to optimize the use of resources and make various processes automatic.
Smart Lockers used as Parcel Lockers, for example, allow a company’s employees to receive parcels and online orders directly in the workplace without the need for dedicated staff to manage inbound or outbound flows: people can independently use the locker, every day and at any time, directly with their smartphones or company badges.
However, there is another transition, closely related to the economic one, that a Facility Manager can support with his choices: the transition to new work modes, such as hybrid work, agile work, telecommuting, or coworking.
These modes require greater flexibility and adaptability of workspaces, and the Facility Manager can provide technical and logistical solutions to support these new needs: Smart Lockers for Food Locker use, for example, allow people to book their meals from the app and have it conveniently delivered to the Locker-which keeps it at the appropriate temperature-so they can pick it up and have lunch at the times they are most comfortable, making the experience more flexible and enjoyable.
The rise of flexible work policies that allow employees to alternate between being in the office and being in other workplaces, such as home walls or alternative spaces, brings new challenges for facility managers, who on the one hand have the ability to optimize spaces for these new scenarios, even reducing them, and on the other hand, must ensure the best possible work experience even in the case of peak attendance.
Unassigned desks, and open spaces that can be easily reconfigured through the use of movable partitions and acoustic screens, meeting booths, and collaborative spaces are some of the resources available to manage this complexity. When you think about it, a modern workspace looks radically different from those of even just a few decades ago.
Spaces change, but processes change as well, as in the case of the use of Smart Lockers for asset management, which allow employees to exchange technology devices or documents securely (for example, if the IT department needs to deliver a device or pick up one for repair) with the peace of mind that they can always access tracking of interactions with the locker and with the flexibility of being able to deliver and pick up what they need at any time of the day.
Facility manager and corporate welfare
Having a holistic view of building and workspace management, the facility manager is also the person who, often in collaboration with human resources people, is able to identify corporate welfare opportunities offered by digital technologies and best implement them to improve employees’ quality of life.
Some of the most popular corporate welfare initiatives include Smart Lockers for employee Daily Locker use – lockers that allow people to have a personal space in which to store items they do not strictly need during the workday – but also refrigerated Smart Lockers that act as delivery point for external food suppliers, as in the case of the Data4Group company that chose OP Joinfruit Fresh service: fruits and vegetables sourced directly from the producer that are delivered to employees in refrigerated cells.
Facility manager, an increasingly strategic role
The strategic importance of facility management is increasingly recognized by companies, which over the years have increased the presence of this role in their workforces and increased the resources available to those involved in these activities.
The academic world has also grasped this need, introducing in recent years master’s degree programs specifically dedicated to this professional figure.
In fact, specific training for facility managers is essential to be able to effectively and efficiently manage spaces and resources, as well as to ensure the safety and sustainability of the working environment. In addition, facility managers must be able to adapt to changes in the organization of the work environment and to integrate new technologies in a profitable way, while complying with the many rules that note on these fronts.
Celebrating the commitment and recognizing the importance of this figure is important, and we therefore gladly relaunch the May 10 anniversary, which joins others of a long tradition, such as System Administrator Day, first celebrated on July 28, 2000.
To all facility managers, happy Facility Management Day!