Office based organisations of all kinds, local government, corporate, professional and creative are all recognising that to be effective, manage their capital and operational costs and to make sure they are productive they need to attract and retain the right talent and create an environment that is a positive experience to work within.
Lower churn, better sickness rates, and lower people costs make for a better business. Keep those people happy and they will be more productive. Hence the rise in workplace strategy, design and the growing awareness around wellbeing, wellness and employee engagement. But where does FM fit in to this?
Answer: FM fits right in the middle like a spine running through everything affecting the workplace.
Anyone working in facilities is well aware of the workplace debate. Employee engagement, activity based working, flexible working, wellness and wellbeing are all terms that have entered into the language of management and the speaker and event circuit and been given more or less credence depending on who you talk to. Everyone has an opinion. Not everyone has an answer. But every element of the workplace is affected by what facilities service providers do each day.
The trick is knowing just how much influence what we do as an FM provider has on the workplace. It is not enough for FM teams to liaise closely with the HR department, IT or workplace strategists advising the board. FMs and their people need to talk directly with the people they are helping each day. So, cleaners and technicians should not be invisible silent anonymous people in the shadows. To be a better FM and to deliver a more effective service we need to engage with the end user – the actual employees of our clients.
Effective FM is not about ticking boxes on work schedules or reporting via PDAs to update KPIs. That’s the process supporting the job, but the service, the x-factor of excellent customer service stems from knowing what is most effective for the end user so that they can move around, sit, stand and work in the best possible environment suited to their requirements.
We can do that through a conversation not just a survey. We can find out more about the activities and needs of staff just by working with them. That’s how we believe FM plays a part in improving the workplace and maybe edging productivity up a little and enhancing the wellbeing of a few people into the bargain.
Yes, FM needs to work closely with HR, IT and the estates teams – but that work starts out in the workplace by talking to the people that our teams are meant to be supporting.