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Watch out for these FM trends in 2020

It’s an exciting time for facilities managers. New technologies, sustainable energy solutions and the always-on economy are changing the way that facilities are used and managed. Managing modern buildings requires an array of skills including forecasting, budgeting, maintenance and security allied with the ability to stay on top of new ways of thinking about the way we use the spaces for entertainment, commerce and work.

If you’re looking forward to the New Year with one eye on the new trends in FM, here are three key directions that facilities management is heading in.

Sustainable energy solutions

Seeking out sustainable energy solutions is a win-win. You can achieve your carbon reduction goals while attracting new consumers and occupants with the promise of greener energy and significantly reduced energy bills.

Analysing energy management systems and researching more sustainable replacements will become a key FM skill in the future. Managers who can propose solutions that cut waste and improve the green credentials of their building such as smart lighting, rainwater reuse systems, new style solar roofs and thermal energy storage will be best placed to implement carbon neutral solutions.

The consumer experience

This is a concept derived from retail but is applicable to the way you manage your facility. Employees and tenants have come to expect more from the spaces they work and live in and that delivers both challenges and opportunities for FM.

Your facilities management skills may have to meet the needs of tenants who live an always-on lifestyle or offer mixed use destinations that offer consumers, tenants and employees the diverse experiences they demand without disturbing the other users of the facility.

Your relationship with your clients is undergoing a radical and profound shift away from the purely transactional. Your diverse mix of tenants means you'll enjoy a higher footfall and a broader catchment which, in turn, is great for asset value. As a facilities manager, you’ll require more cleaning operatives, stronger security, increased monitoring of technical solutions and of course a mix of energy solutions that meet the needs of all tenants.

A diversified workforce

The New Year is always a good time to audit your skillset and look anew at your approach to recruitment.

- Facilities managers need to know about a tenant’s business and their preferred ways of working as well as knowing how a building is run and managed
- The ability to install and implement new technologies and confidence around automated systems is paramount
- Managers need to have the flexibility to react to problem situations quickly and effectively
- The ability to analyse data, draw out effective insights and change strategies accordingly will be a critical skill for the next generation of facilities managers

In order to attract and retain the next generation of talent, companies need to change the way they advertise FM job vacancies. They need to offer a wide range of benefits including strong salaries, ongoing support and professional development opportunities to demonstrate that they’re a great place to work. Combined with a commitment to diversity and dedication to environmental sustainability, facilities management is most definitely an attractive career for the next generation.

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How facilities managers can benefit from IoT

The Internet of Things is changing the reality of facilities management. The ability to access real time data has impacted on our ability to manage the workplace and meet the challenges of managing facilities in a way that adds value to the organisation.

Internet of Things brings together mobile technologies, sensors and big data analytics, revolutionising the way in which we envision and manage our buildings. A facilities manager can deal efficiently with service requests and improve safety and security, operations and utilities management, amongst other benefits.

The capabilities of sensor infrastructure

Sensors can deliver valuable insights into how space is used, driving workplace optimisation. By understanding when and how space is used and the applicable timeframes, an FM can determine actual workspace utilisation rates in real-time. This, in turn, can enable them to identify and optimise underutilised space and set live capacity KPIs.

However, the capabilities of the sensor infrastructure don’t stop there. These sensor networks can also monitor the workplace environment including emissions, temperature and light. These factors, in turn, can impact on employees' health and wellbeing. Increases in C02 levels can directly impact productivity. Sensor activity can advise users when to take a break, or optimise building airflow to react to ventilation needs.

Enhanced maintenance with real-time tracking

The ability to monitor and track assets in real-time enables today's FM to capture and react to real-time diagnostics and fault detection. Business continuity can be maintained when IoT capabilities are leveraged to prevent critical failure, with alerts or early warning.

Predictive maintenance can prevent needless expense and prolong the life of an asset, mitigating the need for reactive repair and emergency equipment hire.

Optimising the workplace experience

IoT and analytics allow facilities management to keep greater control over the building and workplace environment, which improves the occupant experience. For example, beacons can be utilised to enhance the interaction between building occupants and their environment through the use of apps and WiFi technology.

The power of the IoT can also be leveraged in countering physical security threats and to enhance cybersecurity, preventing unauthorised access to the workplace. In terms of employee engagement, beacons can be used for push messaging and alerts and to provide real-time feedback. This, in turn, allows the FM to monitor the employee experience and proactively resolve real-time user issues.

The benefits of IoT for facilities management

One of the major benefits of IoT for the FM is the ability to do less with more. Monitoring of occupancy, energy usage and space leads to better asset management and greater efficiencies. The use of unique identifiers and tags can greatly increase workplace compliance by identifying employees with the right training and qualifications to perform certain tasks.

The quality of the workplace has become one of the differentiators when it comes to attracting top-quality talent to an organisation. IoT can enhance the profile of an organisation by streamlining frustrating procedures and creating a seamless community and network unique and specific to your building.

With its ability to improve every aspect of the employee experience and a potentially limitless number of applications, the IoT is delivering a wide range of benefits to facilities managers who are prepared to explore the use of real-time data, analysis and predictive information.

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Is it time for a career pivot?

Have you hit a plateau in your career? Then you could be due a career pivot. If you’re ready to take a risk then why not make a confident and intentional career change that takes you in a new but related direction.

Do I need a career pivot?

Feeling that you’re due a career change can be as simple as not wanting to get up and do your job in the morning. If that sounds like you, then be on the lookout for a lack of engagement with your work or feeling low in energy and enthusiasm. If you’re staying on your present career path simply because of the money and the job title, it could be time to pivot.

Inventory your strengths and skills

Before you start seriously pursuing new career goals, it’s time to take an inventory. What are the transferable strengths and skills and the value-adds you bring to your current position? What are the skills you’ll need for your pivot in facilities management? Where are the gaps in your knowledge?

You’ll need to complete this process before moving on to the next step.

Work on filling the gaps

If you’re looking to pivot within facilities management, you need to sharpen up your skillset. You may need to take a related qualification or hone your communication skills. If you work as an FM, you’re in the right place to start your own skills bootcamp by asking the right questions and meeting the right people. If you want to get into facilities management, start working on your knowledge gap by reading websites and trade publications.

Formulate your pivot plan

Creating a plan with measurable milestones will help you to pinpoint the right time to pivot. Consider the following metrics:

- Financial goals: set goals for savings or money earned before you commit to the pivot
- Progress checkpoints: set goals for your accomplishments as you move towards your pivot point - the number of clients you’ve accrued or the projects you’d like to accomplish
- Data based planning: set a target date for acquiring new skills and exploring what’s involved in your career pivot
- Gut instincts: If you feel that you’re ready to move or you can’t stay in the same career any longer, you’re ready to make the pivot

Take time to update

Now you’re ready to update, set aside the time to do the following:

- Revise your CV to take in new skills, experience and qualifications
- Maximise your LinkedIn profile
- Order new business cards
- Continue to familiarise yourself with your new dream job title and industry
- Review and revisit your elevator pitch to include your new skillset

Take the leap

Letting go of your safety net will never be completely risk-free, however well prepared you are. But it’s worth remembering how you felt when you got into your career in the first place and were hungry to establish yourself. Use that energy and enthusiasm to say yes to everything, no matter how small.

Your career pivot can take time and will require reserves of resilience. But once you make the move you’ll find yourself taking chances and by moving out of your comfort zone, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to let your skills and strengths do the talking.

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Crown Commercial Service Framework for Non Clinical Staff selects Catch 22

Catch 22 is delighted to confirm that we have been selected for the new Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework for non-clinical staff across the NHS and a wide variety of governmental and public sector organisations. The new Framework, which comes into force in August, sees our continued association with the CCS, in its various guises, that began in 2006. Indeed, Catch 22 has been supplying support staff to the NHS since its inception in 1982 and our appointment to the Framework underlines Catch 22’s continuous commitment to delivering excellence. Organisations able to take advantage of the benefits of the Framework include the Emergency Services, the education sector, civil service and government departments, amongst many others. Clients can select their suppliers with confidence, knowing that rigorous compliance criteria have been met and that costs are transparent throughout the process.

Catch 22’s managing director, Vince Parker, said “Being selected for a position on the CCS Framework reflects the high standards we continue to achieve and improve in our service. It is very gratifying to have those efforts acknowledged in this way and we look forward to offering our services to a wider NHS and public sector audience.”

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5 reasons to attend a careers fair

It can be pretty daunting to start looking around at the world of work when you're finishing school or even college. There is such a range of employers, courses apprenticeships and other options, it's difficult to know where to begin. A careers fair is a great way of doing some research quickly, because lots of different companies and providers will be gathered together in one place and you'll get the chance to ask questions. Here are the top five benefits you'll get from going to a careers fair.

1. Get the inside info

A careers fair is a great way to find out about jobs and apprenticeship opportunities that haven't even been advertised yet. If you make a good impression, talking to the employer on the stand is a great way to get remembered by them, if you decide to apply. Some organisations will even make sure that there are current trainees or apprentices on hand to give you a real insight into what it's like to work there.

2. Great networking opportunities

Just letting people know that you're interested and giving them your details can have results. Equally important is to collect names as you go around the hall talking to people. If you do decide later that you want to apply to a company, you have a named person as your contact.

3. There’s nothing like meeting people face-to-face

It's amazing how you can get the wrong impression about an organisation or company, despite all their advertising and PR. You may find that a potential employer you were seriously considering is much too formal for you - if you're an informal kind of person, a clue would be that every single person on the stand is wearing a full business suit. The opposite can happen too. A company or a career that you might not have been considering actually looks a lot more interesting when you get the opportunity to take a look at what really happens. Facilities management is a good example, as people often don't really understand what it is, until they get talking to someone doing it.

Sometimes, you can just tell that a company culture is going to suit you - it just feels right. Equally, you can also sometimes tell that you are never going to fit into a certain type of organisation.

4. More information, more quickly than you get on the internet

Web pages and social media entries don't give a huge amount of information and a lot of the information they do give is very general. You can get exactly the information you want by talking to an employer at a career fair.

5. You can flatter them into giving you lots of useful advice

Don't be afraid to ask the experts on the stand to give you advice - normally they will be flattered to be asked and very willing to help out. So if you're not sure if, say, facilities management is for you, it's fine to say, “If you were me, is this something you would consider?” This kind of advice is hard to get anywhere else, so it’s another reason why a careers fair is a must if you’re starting to look at your career and apprenticeship options.

Job Recruitment

How to be successful at a recruitment assessment centre

So you open an email about that facilities management job you really want, and - well, it’s good news and bad news. The good news is you’re through to the next round, so all that time spent on the application was worth it. The bad news is there’s an assessment centre.

However, an assessment centre needn’t be an ordeal, if you know what to expect and do some preparation. The great thing is that any work you do will be useful for all job assessments.

You can train for tests

Many assessment centre tests start by looking at your numerical, logical or abstracting reasoning. If you immediately think “I can’t do maths, this is hopeless,” you're defeating yourself before you get there. You can raise your scores on all of these tests considerably by practising. Thanks to the internet, there are dozens of sample papers and questions you can use. Also, a visit to your local bookshop will pay dividends - there are books on how to pass numeracy or verbal reasoning tests.

Treat the assessment as you would the interview

Don’t imagine you can dress more casually because this isn’t the interview. The interviewing team may well be around, and first impressions count. So get there on time, dress smartly, have the appropriate kit with you - calculator, biro, pencil, eraser. Try not to look nervous and be polite to the reception staff - they are sometimes asked for their impressions of candidates!

Understand the role of the assessment

Most organisations do not rank candidates by result, then choose the top ranking candidate for the job. In many cases, as long as you have performed reasonably in terms of the requirements for the role, that’s enough. Sometimes, people who ace the tests are ruled out because the recruiter feels they wouldn’t be sufficiently challenged in the role and should perhaps be applying for a job that would use their skills more intensively.

Some people are very verbal, others very numeric - the assessment is simply to help build up the picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are, not judge your ability to do percentages, for example.

Psychometric personality tests

These are the tests that candidates often feel most uncomfortable about, but there’s no reason to worry about them. Think of them as the “round peg, square hole” tests. The employer is trying to make sure that the sort of person they need is the sort of person you are. Otherwise, they run the risk of recruiting someone who doesn’t fit in, doesn’t enjoy the job and leaves soon after arriving. That’s an expensive mistake for the employer.

Psychometric tests are not about how nice you are, how successful you are, whether you are a people person, or any other qualities. It’s about whether your behaviour profile is likely to sit well with the job behaviour profile. Even in a specific field, such as facilities management, someone could take a test and the results could rule them out of one job but make them the preferred candidate for another role.

So practice the test skills you can improve on, and as for the personality test - don’t take it personally - it’s not a judgement on you.

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How to network your way into a job with social media

It’s estimated that between 70% and 80% of jobs are never advertised. Instead, people use their networks to spread the word around people who may be interested in the vacancy. In the past, this made it very difficult to break into the world of work and people would say gloomily, “It's not what you know, it's who you know”.

These days, that's never been more true, but luckily there's now a much more even playing field. You can put the word out that you're looking for a job, raise your profile, tell people what interests you and what your skills are - all for free on social networks.

The important thing is to choose the appropriate social network for the level and type of job you want. A high level facilities management job is unlikely to be doing the rounds on Instagram. It's much more likely to be on LinkedIn. There's no harm putting your CV on Instagram because it's a no-cost option, but we all have a limited amount of time, so it's a good idea to focus your efforts where they are most likely to yield results.

Facebook is increasingly servicing an older population segment. Younger people are drawn towards networks such as Snapchat, where parents are less likely to be monitoring what they're doing. However, the comparatively older user base of Facebook can work in your favour if you're job hunting, because people in senior positions are often a bit older.

Facebook is also a great way to get onto someone's radar by liking any pages they've put up or posting pictures relevant to any interests you know they have. If you're aiming for a particular position or department, there's no harm in discovering that the person who heads up that department is an American football fan and using your page to express a keen interest in the same sport. Though obviously, you need to make sure you don't get caught out at interview!

It's also fine to tell the world that you're looking for a new post, what kind of job you're interested in and where you'd like to work. You may think that your Facebook network is primarily social, but remember that all of those people work and have their own family and social connections. And those connections have connections. The ripple effect from your post about looking for a job can be really far-reaching. Just make sure there are no pics on your Facebook pages that are going to put a potential employer off.

LinkedIn is, of course, the main professional network that people use to make contact with others in their line of business and build a professional profile. So this should be a focus for you if you're looking for a more senior job - for example, Head of Facilities Management. But again, be savvy about how you use LinkedIn. Recruiters and businesses that have jobs available are going to search on keywords. So put yourself in their shoes and decide what keywords you’d be searching on, then make sure that those keywords are in your career history, posts and an attached CV.

Spread your net as widely as possible and make it is really easy for people to find you, and you should be pleasantly surprised at the results.


How is smart technology changing the role of the FM manager?

From the Internet of Things to smarter buildings and innovative ways of using light, 2018 is going to be a year of constant technological change for facilities management. Let’s look at some of the main change drivers that are going to affect the FM manager this year.

Buildings that manage themselves

Previously, control over their environment was important to building users when they were working or at leisure. They wanted to be able to control the temperature, the humidity, the lighting and the amount of air being delivered.

Now, building users expect this to be done for them, by an intelligent system that monitors and maintains the environment without their involvement. At the same time as expecting the system to anticipate their needs and wishes, they also want it to save energy and choose the most economical way of managing their surroundings. The Facilities Manager is expected to deliver this system, and ensure that it works flawlessly all the time, no matter what changes occur in the external environment - be it snow or a heatwave.

Smart buildings keep people safer and even manage hot desks

There are also moves to fully integrate security and people management into smart building systems. If every member of staff or visitor is issued with a smart tag, and the system knows where they are meant to be, it’s a relatively simple matter to issue an alert if they move to an area they shouldn’t be in.

The Facilities Manager is the person who will need to ensure that the system is working appropriately and that its data is correct and up to date. Already, security systems can track movements, and this technology has the potential to increase staff safety. In a fire or other emergency, you’d be able to locate anyone trapped in the building because their tag would pinpoint their location on the floor plan.

However, can intelligent buildings sort out the really important problems, such as the squabbles over who gets the hot desks?

They can certainly simplify this kind of facilities management problem, by identifying the location of available hot desks and allowing remote booking via the internet or a mobile app. So an organisation with several buildings can feed information about vacant hot desks to a central point, display it to staff and ensure that everyone isn’t looking for space at the same time in the same building.

For Wi-Fi, think Li-Fi

LED light systems can send data at the speed of light - orders of magnitude faster than our current WiFi systems that transmit using radio waves. Surprisingly,, data transmission via Li-Fi can be incorporated into existing LED systems - the frequencies used mean that the human eye can’t pick up the light changes. When used as semiconductors, the LEDs can switch on or off up to - wait for it - a million times a second. What’s more, Li-Fi is more secure - the signal can’t be picked up by someone outside the building. So this is a technology that FM managers are going to be expected to know about in the future.

We expect to see many more developments in these technologies during the next year, and 2018 is going to be an exciting time to be a Facilities Manager.

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Key 2018 facilities management trends that every FM professional should know

What are the key developments that will set the agenda for facilities management in 2018? Let's take a look at some of the emerging trends.

Wellness is going to be huge

You may well say fine - but what's that got to do with facilities management? The wellness trend is part of a growing realisation that the internal environment of buildings is as important as external environmental factors such as air quality. In fact, because employees spend so much time inside their workplace, it may be a more important contributor to their wellness or lack of it, than the outside space.

Facilities managers are being urged to employ a holistic approach to the entire way that a user experiences a building. So, for example, new approaches to lighting take individuals’ needs into account and the previous “one-size-fits-all” approach is no longer considered acceptable. Similarly, it's now recognised that excessive noise in the working environment is stressful and affects productivity.

Facilities managers will help to deliver happier employees

The prediction here is that the facilities manager will have responsibility not only for running the building, but also for the welfare of the staff inside it. This won't just be limited to the traditional health and safety parameters. It will be about making the environment a desirable one for people to work and live in.

Recent research from Scandinavia has confirmed that open plan offices are not good for helping staff to feel well. The open layout affects concentration and causes feelings of alienation. So facilities managers may find that future working spaces are more targeted to the individual physical and psychological needs of employees, rather than the linear desking, or ‘battery chicken’ approach that has been popular with many employers in the last few years

FM business relationships will be recast

The collapse of Carillion has brought the whole outsourcing issue into sharp focus. Many mid-sized FM providers are hoping that some of the large infrastructure players will be fully tied up covering the gaps caused by Carillion’s collapse and optimistic that this will provide some new opportunities for slightly smaller companies to take on larger contracts.

Some public sector procurement professionals may also realise that the tiny margins that they previously thought viable are actually a threat to the stability of their suppliers. This could be good news for the outsourced FM business which has been forced into providing lower and lower quotes, some of them simply uneconomic.

Robotics and wearable technology will become part of FM

This is the point at which the Internet of Things, the rapid advance of robotic technology and the willingness of users to have their data harvested by wearable technology may all come together. Facilities management companies will find themselves gathering data from users and employing it as feedback that they will then use to adjust the immediate environment and indeed, the entire FM offer. Certain areas, such as security, may see the early use of robotic “gatekeepers”, especially when staff are wearing smart passes and buildings are geared up to track them around the premises.

It’s an exciting but challenging time for the facilities management industry, and the managers in it are going to find themselves learning many new skills to stay on top of developments.


Top tips for running the most effective facilities meeting possible

Facilities management team meetings can be lively, informative, must-attend events that end with everyone feeling more positive than when they arrived. But be honest - is that how yours are perceived? If you feel that the meeting has become a boring rigmarole that you have to go through each week or month, take a look at these tips for injecting energy and effectiveness into the time you spend with your team.

1. Be positive

If this is the one time that you get together with your staff, show that you are pleased to see or talk to them. Greet them positively, by name, to get the meeting off to a good start. This isn’t management school theory, it’s common politeness yet a surprising number of managers forget to do these basics and appear unaware of the poor impression it gives.

2. Plan for the meeting you want

If you have a written agenda, don’t just churn the standard one out, month after month. It gives everyone a tired feeling of “same old, same old”. So freshen up the agenda with something unexpected. Or if you find that a great deal of the meeting is taken up by run of the mill reports from each participant, ask them to circulate these by email beforehand and, instead, spend the time gathering ideas about how things can be improved.

3. Build engagement

Ask people to send in any items they’d like to see included on the agenda. And don’t forget to ask team members to raise any subjects they want to have included in future meetings. This will help build engagement.

Building a team isn’t always about activities that are specifically labeled as “team-building”. If members of the facilities management team work in different locations or do very different jobs, it’s quite possible that they have little clue about what another team member’s job involves. So use the meeting for some short presentations from team members about what their job entails and its highs and lows.

4. Include a bit of slack

If the meeting is a highly disciplined, timed march from one agenda item to the next, you may miss out on hearing about things that are currently enthusing, enraging, or exciting, your team. So build in a tea break or a general chat at the end; something that allows people to engage in a less formal manner. You’ll get to hear the gossip and will be able to “take the temperature” of the group by listening to them.

5. Use the opportunity for team development

It’s an ideal time for a 10-minute briefing that extends the team’s understanding of the role they play in the organization. Perhaps you could show them some new trends in equipment and how they might change the job in the next few years. If anyone’s been to a trade show, or on a training course, ask them to share what they saw or learned.

Use your team meetings to foster engagement and build the team’s knowledge and skills, as well as getting through day-to-day business. Your team will respond with a far more positive attitude, not just to the meeting but also to what they do every day.