An important influence on future growth for the FM Outsourcing market is the potential return of employees to their offices after long periods working from home during lockdowns due to the Coivd-19 pandemic. In the future we are likely to witness the emergence of more ‘hybrid’ workplaces incorporating the needs of people working both remotely and in the office.
Any long-term shift in the number of people commuting to work would probably have a serious impact upon the FM industry. Not only would demand for FM services be negatively impacted within the large commercial offices sector, but reduced demand would also likely result for urban retail outlets, pubs, gyms, etc., thereby further hindering growth.
Demand for FM services over the next few years is likely to be strongly influenced by the trend towards working from home and to what degree this will be sustained. Even after previous lockdowns were eased, many workers expressed a preference for home working, for reasons such as saving time and money by not commuting to offices. It should be noted that average office space in many sectors was already shrinking prior to the pandemic. Over the next few years, it seems likely that Covid-19 will merely accelerate the existing trend of making better use of existing space, as well as developing ‘hybrid’ workplace models capable of accommodating both home and office-based working. Buildings featuring a significant percentage of under-utilised space are likely to become fewer in number.
This trend is likely to stimulate demand for less well-developed FM services such as workspace management and technological connectivity as clients come to expect more holistic solutions as part of their contracts. The changing role of workplaces is also expected to contribute towards the growth of strategic partnering within the FM industry and will certainly be a part of the sector to watch.