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13 November 2019
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What about FM, decision-makers?

The perception still tends to be that FM is just the go-to service when something is wrong with the building or the facilities within it, writes Roger Amos

Roger Amos
Roger Amos is director at Ayer Associates Limited

28 January 2016

The other day I was asked what the options were for pursuing a career in FM. 

It’s still a sad fact that when asked such a question the response evokes surprise, as the questioner didn’t realise that FM covered so much and, when used to good effect in a business, is a valuable asset to its key decision-makers.

The perception still tends to be that it is just the go-to service when something is wrong with the building or the facilities within it.

Property is a major factor for organisations both large and small. It’s a major factor in the finances whether that is money coming in or going out, and so the property requirements for any organisations are big and important decisions. It is also a major influence on what is arguably an organisation’s greatest asset – its people. Provide the right facilities and that is a major influencing factor in motivating and retaining your staff.

When used in a strategic as well as operational context FM is truly valuable to an organisation. As well as advising on current and projected costs to run and maintain a building or estate, FM is also well placed to advise on increasing occupancy as well as mixed-use buildings and flexible use of space. In a previous article I compared FM in an organisation to being a bit like a wicketkeeper in a cricket team – involved in the game from start to finish and well placed to advise the captain as to what his/her next move should be.

The captain will always seek the advice of a wicketkeeper. Sadly, it isn’t always the case that key decision-makers in business consult their FM expertise. Why not? Well, much like the career question, I’d suggest that a lot of it is perception and a tendency to overlook the very department that is looking after those buildings on the basis that it is purely operational and not offering the strategic expertise. FM is regarded as an invisible service and so the obvious consequence of that is the same as the person asking about FM as a career – it is only visible when things aren’t working properly. How can FM help itself?

Continuing to explore collaborative initiatives will help. Continuing to explore opportunities for working with HR and ICT is all to the collective good.

It makes people take notice when they see the potential of FM, and if we can attract more talent to the profession, it should help to raise the profile. 

Roger Amos, formerly of Ealing Council, is director at Ayer Associates Limited