Covid has shone a light on the brilliant work that FM professionals do day in, day out. It has given the public a new appreciation of what our teams do.
In Government, today’s FM professionals are tasked with keeping our key workers safe and services operational. It is what FM teams quietly get on with in normal times. But in these extraordinary times we have relied on them to keep the justice system moving, support schools and critical infrastructure, and keep hospitals open to provide life-saving care.
As we continue out of lockdown, it is right to reflect but also to look to the future. That’s why the theme of World FM Day 2021 – standing tall beyond the pandemic – is so appropriate.
We will be marking World FM Day by celebrating the role of the FM profession in responding to the pandemic, and showcasing its wider contribution to the economy and society as a whole. We will also be spending time discussing the role of FM professionals in shaping and moving to the ‘new normal’, exploring how FM and the wider landscape have changed in the past year, and what those changes mean for the future.
We can be proud of the contribution the FM profession has made over the past 12 months and, yes, I believe we can look to the future with confidence and ambition. So, how can we expect the role of FM to change in the long-term, post-Covid?
In Government, I believe we are well-placed to transform how FM professionals go about their business. A renewed focus on data-driving decisions at all levels of FM is key, alongside the use of technology in our buildings to guide where investments are made and support the push towards a more sustainable, net zero carbon estate.
FM teams have a lot to contribute in setting the strategic direction for organisations, including:
- Making decisions on how to deliver public services such as transitioning to more digital solutions;
- Determining where people work such as hybrid working between home and the office; and
- Thinking about the role of the workplace in attracting and retaining staff and supporting health and wellbeing.
We also need to give our people the support they need to succeed, and invest in professionalisation. For example, we have just established a first cohort of more than 40 staff who will undertake FM apprenticeships. These apprentices will work towards achieving recognised FM professional qualifications with IWFM and other bodies, allowing them to have the opportunity to develop and further invest in their career.
We also launched a new career framework last year, and are building a tailored training package through our FM Fast Stream programme to nurture and grow our future FM leaders. This investment will ensure our workforce is equipped for the challenges and opportunities of today, and to fully play their part in shaping our future.
We can learn plenty from how the industry has dealt with Covid-19. We can adapt our working practices and review our systems. Most of all, we should be proud. Our profession has not only supported hundreds of thousands to work from home, but been the backbone of the continuation of critical public services.
Whether FM teams and workers were in visible frontline roles or behind the scenes, they have all played a vital role in the response to this unprecedented crisis and they will continue to be central in shaping the road ahead.
I am proud of what we have delivered, and on this World FM Day I will be joining colleagues around the world by celebrating FM, and standing tall beyond the pandemic.
Janet Young is Government Chief Property Officer