09 June 2016 | FM World Team
Bridget Hardy, director of Integrans Consulting,
SMART WORKING: THE FM'S ROLE IN ORGANISATIONAL SUCCESS
The only reason organisations have buildings is to provide an environment for the employees that work for them, claimed Bridget Hardy, director of Integrans Consulting.
Hardy, who formerly worked in the Cabinet Office's Government Property Unit, says that a sense of 'place' becomes more important if you are working in facilities management or property management, because that is often the focus of the job.
"If [buildings are] not effective or not needed to do that job, then they are not worth having or they need to be changed because if they are not effective, they are a hindrance to what is important in that organisation - which is doing work," said Hardy.
In thinking about the role of a facilities manager and productivity, one of the important things one can do is remove barriers that stop people from doing their work, as well as working in collaboration with others across the organisation to remove those barriers. But what might such barriers be?
"Barriers occur in a physical way within the building, things not working or the distance people have to walk to places but there are also barriers in terms of time and frustration and people being interrupted, people not having the right environment that suits them as individuals, rooms that are not set up, places that are not quiet places where the job is not the most important thing and that's the danger we all fall into when we are just focused on property and also on cost cutting," said Hardy.
"A crucial part of our work and certainly my work in the centre of government advising departments, is to try and change the story away from only being about cost-cutting."
Cost saving is vital, agreed Hardy, but a focus on enabling better output "pays for itself over and over again" in the long-term and she called for delegates to challenge convention and take that focus alongside the cost saving.
Hardy also encouraged attendees to challenge convention, including challenging the metrics used within organisations to assess how space should be used.
"Metrics are usually about efficiency, saving space and cost - but that's not the only thing [that should be considered]," she said. "Money spent to enable productivity is money well spent and the best things that can be done are about ways of working, good management and an atmosphere of trust and those things don't cost a lot of money but they are difficult to achieve."
Hardy added that the idea of 'smarter working' was a function of many different factors including organisational design. Business strategists, the IT and HR departments were also part of this process, although facilities managers were usually the instigators of it. Hardy referred to the PAS3000 standard as a strategic framework that can help organisations work towards it. As a result of smart working, "millions of pounds in property has been saved", said Hardy.
An idea of 'place' is more vital for FMs because it's their job.
If a building looks good but is not helping employees do their job, it needs to be changed.
It is important to challenge metrics and convention.
Challenge convention; move from cost to output metric focus.
Good management and building trust is hard to achieve but is a 'must' for organisations. l Treat employees as adults.
Just as much thought, if not more, should go into what staff need versus cutting costs or space.
Smart working focuses on outcomes and gives people choices.
For more on PAS3000, visit tinyurl.com/ThinkFM-P29