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20 July 2019
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FMs must ‘help people be the best they can be’

18 November 2015

The role of facilities managers should be to “create a culture in which the focus is on helping people be the best they can be”.


This was the view of Andrew Mawson, a founding director of AWA and director of AWA’s Cognitive Research programme, who was speaking at KPMG’s Canary Wharf office last week as part of Workplace Week. 


Mawson argued that as organisations become more knowledge-based, the “effectiveness of every brain on the payroll” should be the FM’s priority. He made the connection between the working environment and the mental performance of each employee. Understanding this connection was key to improving productivity, he said.   


According to Mawson there are two key influencers on increasing cognitive performance: the role of facilities, and education and communication.


A facilities manager can optimise the working environment to maximise mental performance by providing access to healthy food and drink, promoting physical exercise through workplace design, and working with staff to promote health and wellbeing. The second important factor is how effectively an organisation communicates with its employees and educates them about the above factors.   


Mawson went on to list the six factors that determine the productivity of knowledge workers: social cohesion; perceived supervisory support; information sharing; vision/goal clarity; external communications; and trust. 


As such, Mawson believes there is a new role for FM to take hold of, to start educating people and creating the right facilities that may, over a period of time, make staff more productive and happy.


He said: “As an industry, we need to start getting a scientific movement in the director of productivity”. ‘We all have to be a little braver. We need to be having these conversations and arguments because it’s only by applying the learning that we’ll improve cognitive performance, and in turn, business performance.”


Workplace Week is a week-long showcase of innovation in the workplace organised by AWA in aid of Children in Need. The annual event involves visits to innovative workplaces in the UK.