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17 January 2019
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Charlie Sanders

8 January 2018 Charles Sanders

Charles Sanders, director of TWO, an office furniture company, proposes that FMs should be held responsible for productivity in the office.

I propose that FMs should step up their accountability and volunteer to be held responsible for productivity in the office. But first, there is work to be done in setting FM as a strategically significant function targeting increased productivity, well-being, workplace performance, staff retention and revenues.

The answer might lie in how FM is measured. FMs manage significant budgets with diligence. In this context ‘FM = Cost Centre’. However, my research indicates that an average firm may have revenues eight to 20 times greater than the cost of the office rent. Apply an interpretation that an office is a factory for knowledge workers and let FMs grasp responsibility for its effectiveness. The result: ‘FM = Profit Centre’.

Can we measure an office’s effectiveness, or the impact of a workplace upon staff productivity and revenues? Deploying occupancy measuring technology is playing to the ‘FM = Cost Centre’ approach increasing occupancy and perhaps risking reduced productivity. With up to a 20x link between costs and revenues, we shouldn’t risk this. I’ve been in offices while deploying our Real Time Location Services (RTLS) and been briskly dismissed with “we’re already crammed in here like sardines, we don’t need that stuff”. Ideally, the FM should grasp the chance to use RTLS as a means to show whether the space actually works for the staff, and whether such technology identifies removable barriers to effectiveness to enable greater performance.

Technology is itself a broad enhancer of productivity and effectiveness, but can also be deployed to measure it. We recognise the validity of ‘Measure = Control = Improve’, and so we should grasp the opportunity to volunteer ourselves for measurement of effectiveness and productivity, thereby taking control, making improvements and accelerating the perception of FM as true value generators.

Charles Sanders is director of TWO, a Bisley company