From sustainability to talent retention: a review of this year’s FM trends

From the return to the office, to a focus on sustainability and new talent—we share insights on how facilities management evolved for ISS banking clients in 2022.


2022 saw our global clients in the banking segment navigate an ever-changing world of work—developing hybrid set ups, building effective and collaborative workspaces, and managing the return to the office.

Over the last 12 months, ISS placemakers have worked tirelessly to keep our clients moving forwards through these challenges. Crucially, maintaining strong and collaborative relationships with them means we can stay on top of emerging industry trends—learning and improving our approaches based on the feedback we receive.

The recent ISS Pulse survey collated responses from Real Estate and Facilities Management professionals in our client base, representing over one million office workers worldwide. Gathering insights on the changing nature of the workplace, the survey highlighted key trends that propelled the way ISS approached facilities management in 2022.

This year’s number one client priority was employee engagement—specifically getting employees back to the office. In fact, this has leapfrogged ‘operational efficiency’, which was the top concern for survey respondents pre-pandemic. 

Our customers are at various stages of addressing this challenge, particularly when it comes to re-engaging employees who have been away from the office environment for a significant period. While respecting work-life balance has remained key, the return to workspaces has been a focus. Clients have approached ISS for help during these transitions, setting up state-of-the-art office spaces that foster collaboration, encourage continuous learning, and support diversity and inclusion.

Alongside enthusing current employees, winning new talent is a growing concern. This is a huge challenge currently facing many banks and professional services—and partnering with ISS has helped these businesses provide the sort of forward-thinking, collaborative environments that can enable attraction and retention of the best employees in the market. 

Another essential consideration is sustainability, which rose from fifth to third in the list of client priorities between the pre- and post-Covid years. This priority is now embedded in the top levels of banking—taking strategic precedence at 94% of banks, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. ISS teams have invested a great deal into sustainability methods, from implementing energy management efficiency schemes, to waste optimisation programmes, and exploring how to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

Innovation, collaboration and belonging

In recent years, our clients have shifted their perspective from cost to value. We’re enabling them to run facilities in smarter and more sustainable ways, rather than simply doing what is cheapest in the short-term. 

Our customers will continue to require flexibility from facilities management services as they respond to macro trends—with rising interest rates, fintech disruption, and changes in regulation and compliance requirements. These have an impact across industries, but there are nuances that are impacting banks’ property portfolios—where data services that require physical space are moving to the cloud, for example, or where the growth of digital banking is leading to branch spaces being reduced or repurposed.

However, the Pulse survey has found that 69% of respondents are not planning on reducing their office footprint—which means adapting and tailoring these spaces will remain vital. As an example, one global client approached us with concerns about reopening its locations worldwide. They needed to ensure that buildings were safely reopened, with a series of different initiatives to welcome back employees. In response, ISS teams developed risk and compliance assessments, piloted hybrid work models, opened sites with special events, launched a new service app and introduced wellbeing initiatives—all designed to benefit employee welfare and engagement.

These activities will continue to form part of clients’ priorities now that many of their employees have returned to the office. We’ve seen how our clients face challenges, but we’ve also seen them emerge from an extraordinary time in our history. Going forward, their teams will want to continue to invest in their office spaces, update their workplace offerings, enable innovation and collaboration by developing a culture which enhances belonging.

Our clients have shifted their perspective from cost to value. We’re enabling them to run facilities in smarter and more sustainable ways.

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