How the Changing Nature of the Workplace Affects Facility Managers

The Conclusion of a Remarkable Year

The year 2020 is now in the history books, and it would be an understatement to say that it unfolded very differently than most of us foresaw.  For facility managers, the disruption was particularly acute.  Almost overnight, companies were scrambling to deal with the changing nature of facility management and to facilitate remote work for anyone whose physical presence was not essential to performing their jobs.  Tenants and landlords dusted off copies of their leases to see whether a global pandemic qualified as a force majeure event and who would bear the brunt of the financial impact.  All of this disruption was superimposed on changes that were already underway, caused by changing demographics and evolving ideas about the nature and purpose of the workplace.

Today, our blog looks at how these dynamics are affecting facility managers, including the creation of new opportunities that can help create differentiation in the marketplace.    

Trends in Office Design

In the 1980’s, “cubicle farms” were widely adopted as a replacement for traditional private offices.  While this change lowered costs by fitting more people into the same space, companies also found that it harmed employee engagement and fostered isolation.  In response, the pendulum swung towards open office design in the 1990’s.  While this layout had greater appeal to a younger generation of workers, it also was widely criticized for a lack of privacy.  

All of this experience led companies to realize that employees need different types of settings for different types of work.  They need spaces to collaborate with their colleagues when it is time to do so.  They also need spaces to perform focused heads-down work.  They need the ability to reconfigure their workspace as the balance of those needs change.  And they need the ability to perform their work seamlessly from locations other than the office when appropriate.  

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the adoption of remote work (how many of you had a virtual doctor’s office visit before 2020?) and forced landlords and tenants to take a hard look at their space requirements with a new lens.

Implications for Facility Managers

All of this disruption is a two-edged sword for facility managers – it creates challenges, but also big opportunities.  Tenants need guidance in understanding how this shifting landscape affects them.  Facility managers who get ahead of the curve by providing their tenants value in the following ways will stand out in the crowd and have a competitive advantage:

  • Helping tenants understand how their space is being used with quantitative data
  • Offering suggestions on how tenants can reduce waste and lower cost associated with underutilized space 
  • Proactively suggesting ways to repurpose, reconfigure, or optimize space 
  • Making it easier for remote workers to collaborate with people in the office

Let Trillium be your Facility Maintenance Department

Trillium’s software and experienced team help organizations manage, monitor, and control maintenance including: equipment, resources, and regulatory compliance. Let us handle the blocking and tackling of facility management to free up your time and attention to focus on how you can help your tenants navigate the rapidly changing nature of the workplace. 

Interested to see how easy facilities can be?  Sign up for a Demo or email us at

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