‘Work’, ‘workplace’, even ‘facilities management’ – most of us automatically think in terms of offices when we hear those words. And that’s not surprising; but it is also a long way from being a complete picture.

So much of the shared experience, discussion, research and published knowledge in our sector is drawn from the office environment. But FM is far more diverse. Facilities management is just as crucial a function in museums, leisure sites, retail centres, healthcare, manufacturing, military installations, prisons – the list is virtually endless.

And in each unique environment there are valuable insights to be gained and important lessons to learn that bridge the specialisations and inform the wider practice of FM. The common themes in all these environments – in all of FM – include operational efficiency and effectiveness, customer knowledge and service quality, corporate responsibility and sustainability, market positioning and brand development.

Workplace Futures 2017 challenged the prevailing ‘think office’ convention to explore the state of the discipline from a range of less common perspectives.