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Focus on the worker not the workplace

10 August 2012

Zurich has published a report that raises profound questions about the future of the Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Management (CRE&FM) industry.

The report is a result of the CRE&FM Futures Forum, hosted and run by Zurich, which was held between 30 January and 3 February 2012. The aim of the forum was to establish a platform of collective understanding about the future direction of the CRE&FM industry.

Over 450 participants from across the world participated in the unique online discussion, sharing knowledge and debating views around 16 key issues for the CRE&FM industry. In addition, two telephone conference discussions were held each day that focussed on the individual topics in turn.

The issues discussed included business relevance, customer service, sustainability and globalisation. Among the key findings of the report, which are the result of the synthesised views of the Futures Forum participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Zurich, are:

? CRE&FM currently has no objective way of evidencing the value it brings to business, which naturally is a fundamental blocker to it being seen as an asset rather than as a cost

? There needs to be a shift beyond a focus on building centric insights to embrace customer centric outcomes, a change that may require a redesign of the whole industry ecosystem.

? The worker and their needs (effectiveness) are now the primary CRE&FM focus, not the workplace (efficiency).

? Innovation has become a fundamental imperative for CRE&FM. The pressure to innovate is rising as it becomes clearer that the industry and the basic CRE&FM value proposition are both at risk of flat-lining.

? The industry needs a rethink about how it attracts talent

Barry Varcoe, Global Head of Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Management, said: “We are delighted that our Futures Forum secured such high participation. As a result, we have been able to produce a comprehensive report that we hope will benefit the industry for many years to come.

The CRE&FM industry is facing unprecedented challenges and it is essential that we develop innovative solutions to meet them. We hope that it serves to establish a platform of collective understanding upon which we can all build the further knowledge and advance in practice that, in our view, the CRE&FM industry very much needs”.

The Zurich Insurance CRE&FM team plan to host a follow-up forum looking into the nature of the client/supplier interface, and in particular the role of the 'Intelligent Client', in early September 2012.

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