Open-access content 14th June 2011
At a recent meeting of FMs, the topics under discussion included the future of work and the workplace, says corporate and public affairs director, Richard Byatt
16 June 2011
At a recent meeting of FMs, the topics under discussion included the future of work and the workplace; research into the success of a national bank's new headquarters and benchmarking for productivity.
The venue was the Technical University of Vienna, the event was the European Facility Management Conference (EFMC 23-25 May). UK participation was limited (four per cent of delegates) despite the BIFM being a founder member of EuroFM, which backs the conference along with IFMA.
There are, of course, good reasons for the low participation rate - a surfeit of competing events in the UK; travel and accommodation costs; perceived difficulties in demonstrating relevance. More widely, perhaps, the UK FM profession's relationship with Europe can often mirror our national history - a semi-detached approach and reluctant engagement.
But I'd urge everyone with an interest in facilities management to try to get to at least one EuroFM event. Even if you don't have direct responsibility for facilities outside the UK, the opportunity to learn from other markets and cultures is a valuable one.
The UK has a relatively mature facilities management profession and industry but others often approach issues in a different way. You might pick up ideas which are not yet common in Britain. The international success of Scandinavian service companies, French utilities and German manufacturing suggests that knowledge exchange between the UK and continental Europe is not all one way.
Of course, UK workplaces are not necessarily full of UK nationals. With increasing mobility you may be managing places where several nationalities come together, with the range of expectations that brings. Knowledge of how things are done elsewhere could help you create an environment that works for everyone.
Every BIFM member is effectively a member of EuroFM and one practical benefit of the institute's affiliation is a 200 discount on attendance at EFMC. The next conference is in Copenhagen, 23-25 May 2012.
The BIFM will be appointing a number of 'ambassadors' to help us engage more closely with our peers across Europe and we'll communicate the outcomes to members through all the usual channels, including FM World.
For more details visit www.eurofm.org or www.efmc-conference.com