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Where did 2021 go? It is amazing how fast last year flew by — maybe it seemed extra quick compared to the standstill that was 2020. And although 2021 was a vast improvement over its predecessor, it likely wasn't as wonderful as many of us hoped it would be. When the calendar turned to 2021, our problems didn't simply vanish. Now, as we kickstart another new year, it seems that many of the same trends are once again following facility managers into 2022.
The Omicron COVID variant renews concerns that the pandemic will linger well into the year and demonstrates that the pandemic is far from being under control. Cleaning schedules and indoor air quality will continue to be critical.
The congested supply chain has made products and materials scarce, causing project delays and soaring prices. Some improvements have been made to ease the gridlock, but it's likely that this mess won't be sorted out until late 2022 or even 2023.
Hybrid work environments are definitely a trend for 2022. However, I think for a lot of office facilities it won’t last long beyond this year. As this decade continues, I believe more commercial facilities will move to a 100-percent remote workforce. There are benefits to being in the office in-person, but I don't think utilizing them a couple days a week is enough to offset the costs of running a building. As the recent NFMT Remix keynote speaker alluded to, we'll see more co-working spaces pop up in the future when companies need a temporary office space.
Oppositely, while schools dabbled in virtual learning last year, it wasn't successful. As we saw from heated school board meetings, parents want their kids in school — and frankly, students learn better in-person. This requires educational facilities to remain open, albeit in a safe manner.
These are just a few reflections on the year ahead. For even more trends, fnPrime members can check out our eBook “2022 Facility Management Predictions.” We asked five industry experts to give us their perspectives on the trends that will impact facility managers in 2022, including Internet of Things, sustainability, new performance metrics and more. Visit facilitiesnet.com/fnPrime to check it out.