01 July 2019 | Martin Read
Martin Read says the improved alignment in objectives between clients, providers, organisations and the FM department looks promising for the profession's broader visibility.
Sometimes, amid the constant chatter that accompanies the production of Facilitate, an important signal rises above the noise. In this case it's a sense of an increasingly common purpose between client and provider, or organisation and FM department; a feeling that we are, perhaps, seeing their aims more closely aligned than ever before.
Of course, in terms of words spoken we've had parity of purpose for some time: almost everybody's been talking a good game about the virtues of a well-funded workplace and facilities management function these past several years. But what is perhaps new is the wider reach of the real-world drivers helping to turn words into actions.
You could say that it's all the result of wider cultural phenomena, in particular the accelerating awareness of the benefits of well-being and good mental health. After all, the latter has the highest of high-profile backers, including princes William and Harry. Any genuine response to the subject affects how work is designed - and by extension the design of the places in which work is conducted. Then there's the social value agenda, which takes issues of well-being and links them out into local communities.
But the real key is in the numbers. Several recent meetings with service provider personnel, at the Facilities Show and elsewhere, have highlighted the slow-burn issue of demographic change that is, perhaps, underpinning all of this.
The current economy is strong with low unemployment. If Brexit has had any impact thus far, it's in a slow decline in the number of workers available for key roles. Then there's the age-old demographic time bomb we've all known about for years. It affects workplace and facilities roles, for sure - but it also affects the wider employment market.
Thus we're seeing greater interest in the ways in which work and workplace environments are provided - and with it an interest in both the workforce and those who serve that workforce. Here's hoping that this happy alignment of objectives results in broader visibility of the workplace and facilities management profession. The signs are certainly encouraging.
Martin Read is editor of Facilitate Magazine