What defined it?
It is an understatement to say that 2021 has been a year of ups and downs. Lockdowns are no fun, but booster vaccines are providing some reassurance. Looking back on 2021, global issues and how we react to them continue to shape our lives. Remote working, health and safety and managing our lives around the pandemic continue to affect us all. 2021 saw more changes to the workplace including an acceleration of the Great Resignation, an increasing awareness of the need to take mental health at work more seriously and the overwhelming need to address the climate crisis.
How have these affected facilities management?
Working from home has continued to be a feature of 2021. It has been challenging. Pandemic and digital fatigue are real, in addition to an increase in burnout in many organisations. The increased awareness of the need to create a safe remote working environment has presented challenges for employers as they encouraged their employees to work remotely. The result of mass remote working meant that we continue to support our clients adapt their workforce to remote working safely through remote digital screen equipment assessments (DSE.)
The last two years have been transformative, and flexibility has been key. Maintaining or adapting workplaces to maximise safety for returning employees has resulted in an increased interest in ventilation and health and safety measures. Creating the safest work environment possible assists in an easier transition back to the workplace and shows that employers value employees.
COP26 which took place earlier this year became dubbed the business and finance COP because of the pronounced role that the business and finance communities had taken this time when compared to previous years. COP26 showed that there are shortcomings in the progress on climate crisis however, businesses are far more engaged, taking the initiative voluntarily and not waiting for governments to intervene. The establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will provide a common global reporting framework that will help address the complexity and confusion surrounding sustainability reporting requirements. Facility managers are well placed to understand how sustainable development can be implemented in a premises as they have an overview of the functionality of a building and are knowledgeable about compliance and health and safety.
How has 2021 affected Acacia?
Despite the obstacles that the pandemic and larger global issues have brought, we have had some positive developments in 2021. It has been a busy and rewarding year as we were first time winners of the Deloitte Best Managed Company Award and won the NISO award for the third year. Our expanding teams have worked hard the last 12 months to ensure that our client’s needs, remotely and onsite, have been met. In addition to helping and maintaining a consistent service for our existing clients, we are pleased to welcome new clients from many industries including biopharma, technology and food and beverage.
The limitations that the pandemic has brought has forced us to adapt and get creative in the services that we offer our clients and finding new ways of using technology in facilities management. Technology in facilities management has been pinpointed during the pandemic as an elemental way of helping clients. Performing DSE assessments remotely in the last 12 months has increased substantially as employers realise that they need to ensure a safe remote working environment for employees. Using technology in facilities management is growing quickly as businesses try to return employees to workplaces whilst reassuring them that it is safe to do so. Consequently, we are seeing an increased use of technology in everything from remote sensors for our clients to monitor their comms rooms to on demand cleaning and monitoring HVAC systems.
Sustainability plays a large role in facilities management affecting almost every area of the services we provide from cleaning to project management. The pandemic has reshaped our understanding of what it is to be sustainable and why it is important. We start 2022 with a renewed focus on responsible business starting with our carbon footprint and forming a focused and measurable ESG effort by using the UN sustainable development goals as a guide.
We are looking forward to 2022 and helping to create and improve the workplace experience. If your business needs our business, contact us here to start a conversation about how facilities management can help you.