19 November 2018 | Bradford Keen
The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management is, from today, the official new name of the British Institute of Facilities Management.
A newly branded institute website is now live and operational reflecting the fact, with CEO Linda Hausmanis having told a launch-night audience last Thursday that this is the beginning of a new type of membership organisation.
To celebrate the official rebranding, Thursday's launch included a panel discussion chaired by Ian Ellison of consultancy 3edges. Panellists were Andrew Mawson, owner of Advanced Workplace Associates; Matthew Tucker, reader in workplace and facilities management at Liverpool Business School; Stuart Wright, group property & facilities director at Aviva plc; and Heather Carey, deputy director at the Work Foundation.
Each sought to address the motion: 'FM can benefit from the workplace opportunity but only if we rise to the challenge'.
Key points emerging from the discussion included the need to:
Bridge the gap between educators and industry to ensure that facilities management and workplace courses and qualifications remain relevant in a fast-changing market;
Attract new students to FM and workplace courses in higher education rather than only those who already work in the sector;
Package the role and its diversity in ways that are appealing to young people;
Move on from the nuances of the debate about where FM and workplace intersect; and
Acknowledge that other professions are in the same space as FM when it comes to recruitment issues and questions of influence.
The need for 'newness' seemed close to unanimous with speakers and audience members calling for new beginnings and new definitions - as well as new ways of thinking and speaking about the facilities management and workplace function.
From the audience, Polly Plunket-Checkemian, Stoddart Review programme director and senior executive director at M J Mapp Limited, suggested the abandoning of discussion about FM with a focus instead on workplace performance. With this in mind, the facilities management and workplace professional would be providing a new built asset class that "responds to the needs of the 21st-century workplace".
"We need to stop thinking of ourselves as custodians but as performance drivers," said Plunket-Checkemian. "That gives us license to have a different narrative with clients."
Reinventing the asset proposition was also a key feature for prop-tech digital strategist and audience member Antony Slumbers, who argued that the asset operator "is becoming increasingly important in the valuation of the property", with her or his role increasingly about facilitating "the human stuff" through the asset.
Slumbers contended that service provision was about the user experience, requiring facilities management and workplace professionals to "curate and create" an asset, one that generates a brand to attracts people who are prepared to pay a premium for a space as it provides them with the services they need in a way they want to receive them.
A new asset proposition, a new way of discussing the facilities management and workplace role, a new website, a new Institute - 2019 looks set to be an exciting year.
The IWFM also took the opportunity to present its own 10-point plan for a modern professional body.