06 January 2020 | Martin Read
Martin Read takes stock of how the role of FM has changed over the years leading into 2020.
A new year, a new government and a new decade. That's quite an unusual triumvirate, with perhaps that last item - our entry into the third decade of this 21st century - the one most likely to get us stopping a minute to take stock of this sector's progress.
With most accepting that the 1980s was the decade in which facilities management emerged as a newborn profession, it's possible to see 2020 as marking FM's fortieth birthday. Here's how that life has gone so far.
The Eighties: The job title of facilities manager emerges, blinking in the first light of professional acceptance, grabbing keenly at a plethora of workplace maintenance tasks. It seeks, for the first time, to bring under one job-role roof the support activities that don't easily fit other departments' job briefs.
The Nineties: As a precocious teenager the profession starts ganging together in groups while playing with such presents as the government's privatisation of public service provision.
The Noughties: In its twenties and reaching adulthood, the workplace profession enters the workplace itself. It's all about learning to fit in; who to report to, what to deliver and when.
The Teenies: In its thirties, the profession frets about defining its own unique identity, craving greater respect and recognition from its peers. What is it really? What actual purpose does it serve?
The Twenties: Well, let's just see shall we? As it matures into middle-age, there's plenty to suggest that this sector will continue to benefit from, and be emboldened by, the new wave of societal triggers buffeting us and informing the wider world of work. We're already seeing the profession taking on a newly expansive role as the need to sustain multiple generations and multiple workspaces opens up fresh opportunities to prove its worth.
This profession's uniquely broad reach has it touching every other discipline within an organisation. It caters for them, provides for them, some might even say facilitates their performance. For those of us who can't quite believe that these really are the 2020s, here's hoping this forty year old profession gets to swerve a midlife crisis and instead make its very own midlife breakthrough. Happy new year!
Martin Read is editor of Facilitate Magazine