The workplace has evolved at significant speed. So too, has FM. We now recognise and celebrate the vital work that workplace and facilities managers contribute to business worldwide on World FM Day.
In the past some businesses thought of FM as just an enabling partner, there to keep buildings ticking over and services working; these days they are starting to understand it is actually about people.
In 2022, FM has evolved to put people at the centre of everything it does. From creating more collaborative and sustainable spaces, to ensuring that people feel safe at work, FM’s role has been galvanised.
Sustainability is in the spotlight more than ever before, which is why ‘Leading a Sustainable Future’ is the theme for World FM Day this year. FM teams can play an important role in helping businesses achieve their environmental targets and goals.
In this blog, I discuss sustainability, alongside other key trends in FM that are now at the forefront of our sector.
The drive for Climate Net Zero
We know our planet’s condition is critical, that there are social impacts to consider, and businesses that do not keep up with the pace will suffer reputational damage.
FM has a clear part to play in this. Meeting Climate Net Zero targets creates a clear imperative to consider the planet in everything a business does.
It’s important to remember this agenda is not only about procurement. For many employees, Climate Net Zero and Sustainability are emotive issues which play a big part in where they choose to work and how long to stay.
Recent research by Longitude, a division of the Financial Times, revealed that 77% of companies believe that their sustainability strategy is having a positive impact on employee engagement and retention.
A higher profile for cleaning
Historically, cleaning has taken place in the background, seldom, if ever, making its way onto boardroom agendas.
Clearly, this is no longer the case. Employers are under scrutiny as their people place increased importance on safety and hygiene, be it an office or on a factory floor.
Businesses want to provide a safe environment for their employees so they can continue to trade, but they need to do so in a cost-effective way. That might mean cleaners focusing less on floors and areas with reduced traffic, and more on sanitising door handles and regular touchpoints.
As workspaces become more sociable again, there is also a growing value in cleaning teams who are more visible and part of a bigger picture.
Premium workplace experience
For an employee, the workplace experience ought to be similar to visiting a hotel – everything should run seamlessly. FM’s role is to make this happen, so people can focus on doing their jobs.
The use of technology, such as a workplace experience management platform can help support back of house FM, as well as being part of a concierge approach and help make life easier for employees.
Powerful software and real time sensors can monitor occupancy, usage, flows of employees and even temperature, light and CO2 allow changes to be made to maximise productivity as well as support increases in engagement, wellbeing and sustainability within a single interface.
Innovations are often realised at times of great change and need, and the FM sector has been no exception. Employees will feel protected and valued knowing that their employer is embracing cutting-edge technologies in order to keep them safe.
What can businesses do?
Now that facilities management has the attention of senior business executives, it’s time to embrace ways of working together to create workplaces where people feel safe and engaged.
People should feel that their workplace genuinely benefits them - after all, many workplaces are now competing with the creature comforts of home! For those industries where homeworking is not possible, that premium workplace experience is still vital as many sectors face staffing crises.
My top two tips are:
- Maximise office space
Rationalising office space requires a people-focused strategy. Increasingly, we are hearing that people want to come into the workplace to socialise and be inspired – so unused space must have its potential realised.
Reimagine spaces as break-out areas for collaboration, comfortable areas for taking breaks, and workplace restaurants – providing subsidised catering options will add to that sense of a premium experience.
- Use an external FM expert
It simply doesn’t make sense to be employing and managing cleaners directly when an external expert can link all the aspects of FM together.
Having a multi-skilled FM team these days is also vital. Being able to move staff around the building through a joined-up FM approach is far more cost effective. It paves the way for a consistency of service which is more difficult to achieve when cleaning, reception, security and catering are all managed separately.
This leaves companies free to focus on their core business.
Ultimately, whether you are tempting people back into the office, increasing sustainability or boosting productivity on a factory floor, businesses must put people at the heart of workplace culture change. Facilities management is here to create that seamless experience that allows people to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, come together to collaborate, and build social connections at work that foster long-term resilience.
To learn more about our facilities management services, which can be bundled into bespoke packages to suit even the most complex multi-site businesses, please visit https://14forty.co.uk/facilities-management-services/