03 February 2020 | Martin Read
Workplace and facilities managers increasingly see their roles as creating and maintaining a community, says Martin Read.
We often talk of the facilitating role of workplace and facilities management professionals. The variety of service provision ensures a uniquely expansive interdepartmental reach, and it's in the very nature of the job that its practitioners are, at least when considered dispassionately, the obvious choice to take the lead in seeing corporate change projects through to completion. But what about the maintenance of community spirit?
Consider, for example, a business's desire to cut down on leased workspace. Contemporary, big-picture stuff: but firms of all kinds - with government increasingly of similar mind - appreciate that when cutting back on space they do not as a result lose the priceless sense of community that distinguishes them from their competition.
The creation and maintenance of community in this new world of constant corporate change presents a real opportunity for workplace and facilities professionals to make their mark. Plenty of practitioners tell us how they see all things community as a potentially significant part of their role.
However, it can often be just that: potential. Despite being perfectly placed, FMs may not be perfectly supported in the provision of this more nebulous and trickier to price form of support service. Perhaps the FM is not the person departmental managers complain to when, say, their team is told its dedicated workspace is being cut.
Could our emerging new political paradigm offer fresh opportunity? Greater acceptance that those providing support services to workplaces are also those galvanising and steering workforces to be productive and happy in working environments subject to frequent, discombobulating change? Could 2020 see more firms take a more considered analysis of the role their facilities departments can play?
Net-zero targets and the Public Services (Social Value) Act are just a couple of the big legislative triggers that can help to put FM in the spotlight. But current corporate thinking would surely have it that wellbeing, in particular through its linkage to the sustaining of community, perhaps offers the really big win for this profession in the decade to come.
Martin Read is editor of Facilitate Magazine