How to keep a sustainable building green text over image

How to keep a sustainable building green!

You may think that by operating in a sustainable building, your business has met its obligations in terms of helping to create a greener environment and that you can sit back and let the building operations in a sustainable way.

This is not the case. A sustainable building and business will require continuous attention to ensure it remains sustainable today, tomorrow and into the future.

Constructing or renovating a building to obtain the green building certificate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the first phase of becoming an environmentally friendly business. The next phase will require the monitoring of the business to ensure it continues to meet such standards.

This could entail monitoring waste levels to ensure it remains below a previously specified level. However, previously set targets can also be improved upon. The continuous monitoring of waste could help to identify areas where changes could be made that could increase recycling, which would decrease landfill waste and in turn lead to cost-savings, meaning both the business and the environment would come out as winners.

By monitoring and attempting to increase the company’s use of recyclable materials, more of the company’s waste could be found to be suitable for recycling.

From the outset, the business will need to identify how best to measure its operations, which would become a baseline and help to flag up any problems in maintaining its sustainability levels. It would also help to measure the success of any changes that are made with a view to improving the company’s sustainability.

A facilities manager (FM), who may be in charge of one building or multiple buildings, will need to deploy software to monitor the performance of operations in various locations. Some companies provide benchmark tools which can be utilised to measure the consumption of water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions from a single facility or a group of buildings.

This can be useful in determining whether there are some aspects of a company’s operations that need more attention, in terms of meeting sustainability targets, than others. This will allow the company to place its resources and attention where it is needed the most.

Some software companies monitor consumption levels and deliver the results on a 12-month average basis, while other companies can measure the performance of a company’s sustainability credentials on a day-to-day basis, which could help the business keep on top of issues as they arise and allow it to more easily pinpoint areas that need extra attention.

As well as using the latest software to help your business maintain its environmentally-friendly operations, a physical inspection of the facilities is crucial. Night audits are particularly useful. A simple walk through an empty building could identify machinery and equipment that continues to run overnight.

FM staff could then highlight areas of concern and review whether such equipment needs to run overnight or during the company’s downtime. By adjusting processes to reduce the amount of equipment that continues to run when a building is empty, efficiency could be increased by up to 20%.


People running up a trend arrow

Every FM manager should know these trends

There are a number of trends set to change the FM and services industry. By identifying changes that will impact the sector, managers can plan for, and even benefit from, future shifts in society and in how we do business.

Economic Growth
The shift in economic growth from the west to emerging markets in the east means industry players must do more to set themselves apart in what will become a crowded market with new competition. Multinational companies should ensure their products can be tailored to a variety of local markets, so they can capitalise on growth in areas with differing cultures.

Commercialisation
Trends in commercialisation will lead to greater competition and innovation, with industry players needing to ensure their customers stay relevant. It will be essential that managers understand key business indicators and how they can help customers achieve optimised performance. Two examples of this would be to use lean management techniques that cut needless processes or the data-driven six sigma method, which seeks to enhance customer satisfaction with continuous process improvements and low defect rates.

Ageing Population
An ageing population coupled with diminishing pension incomes are leading to an increasing number of people working until later in life, which is changing the workplace. When it comes to hiring and retaining staff, the FM industry will need to gain an understanding of the motivation that drives its staff, which will differ widely from generation to generation.

Furthermore, with a four-generation workforce set to become commonplace in European, American, Japanese and Chinese workplaces, recruiters will need to recognise the differences between these generations, along with the challenges and opportunities that this trend will present.

Technological Progression
Advances in technology, including smart security, robotics and sensors, will affect jobs, leading to reduced demand for low-skilled workers, while increasing demand for skilled staff.

Climate Change
Climate change will force most industries and societies to become greener, which could impact on supply chains and the design, maintenance and management of buildings in the future. However, climate change and the urbanisation of mid to low-income countries in regions prone to natural disasters will bring new risk to the industry, which must ensure it is adequately prepared for such an event. This could be by having robust contingency and continuity plans in place.

Health
Meanwhile, the growing focus on human health will lead to the redesign of buildings to encourage staff to be more active and to stave off lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. This trend is notable for the industry, as almost a third of Europe’s FM revenue comes from the healthcare sector, but budget cuts could result in governments outsourcing more work.

Flexibility At Work
Lastly, the traditional workplace is changing, with companies of all sizes shifting to models that promote flexible, collaborative, innovative and productive work. This is demonstrated by the growth of coworking environments, homeworking and flexible working options that have become common across the world.

This trend can be used to help retain and recruit staff. A company can be more appealing for prospective workers by offering flexible working options. Flexible working will require managers to use online facility booking and management tools.

Trends that could impact the industry are wide-ranging, but the common factor here is preparedness, which could make the difference between success and failure.


blurred retail store

Why digital transformation is now coming to retail FM

The death of high street retail is probably somewhat exaggerated, but its transformation is happening now - and FM leaders need to be at the forefront of this change. 

"Legacy" FM is a set of attitudes to facilities management, firmly entrenched in the past, and making no effort to recognise today's digital revolution, which is changing retail FM rapidly and forever. Legacy FM consists of keeping old facilities in their traditional configuration, and ignoring or refusing requests to adapt the space to changing consumer demand. If systems need replacing, the cheapest option is always adopted, but in general, change is seen as something to be avoided at all costs.

The cost will always be important, but so is the investment, because retail business success requires spaces that consumers can relate to, and will make a point of visiting. Innovative companies that see a different future for retail are prepared to make this type of investment, but when it comes to recruitment, they need FM professionals who can match their vision.

FM companies will increasingly be partners to these game-changing companies, providing flexible and exciting locations that engage the customer. Tracking sensors, electronic in-store messaging, interactive kiosks and mixes of real-life experience with software provision are all going to be needed.

The new FM mindset is more flexible about building systems, too. Previously, systems were rigid entities that were difficult and expensive to change, without replacing the entire infrastructure. These days, with modular and intelligent building systems, parts of the system can be swapped in or out - provided the FM professional understands this new approach.

But perhaps the major challenge going forward is going to be integration with digital systems. In retail, the challenge from online will be met head-on by providing the same services as an online store, but adding value to them. Sure, you can buy your new drill online, but only when you order or buy in-store will you get the tutorial from a professional showing you how to use it. People won't want to carry lots of stuff home - but they will want it delivered later that day. So logistics systems will have to be integrated with store systems, and in some cases, delivery vans will need to be located nearby, for immediate pickup and distribution.

Another of the key changes in retail will be the integration of entertainment and eating into the retail environment. Some branches of Next already contain Costa coffee shops within the store. Large malls such as Westfield have cinemas, live music and other forms of entertainment, as well as a huge choice of restaurants, diners and cafes, and even spa and wellness areas. All of this calls for facilities management that is able to cross boundaries and service very different kinds of activities. New FM systems also integrate advanced security and monitoring systems, to ensure that the retail space is safe for both customers and employees.

The simpler, self-contained legacy systems of the past didn't have to deal with this kind of complexity. But the FM jobs of the future will go to those FM managers who can thrive in these kinds of multi-functional retail spaces.


young female worker holding glasses

How younger workers are reshaping the FM industry

Commentators are beginning to divide younger people into two distinct groups. There are the "millennials" that we hear about all the time. This is the generation that grew up with IT at school and then took to the internet in droves. Their working life has always involved the use of technology. But there's an even younger group, called Generation Z - the smartphone generation. They expect all of their interactions to be available via a phone and the phone dominates their use of media and their internet interactions.

As baby boomers reach the end of their working lives and retire, the recruitment demand for skilled employees (including FM professionals, of course), is soaring. But companies looking to recruit Millennials and Generation Z are going to have to provide the kind of workspaces that these new employees want, to attract the right kind of talent. What does this mean for facilities management companies?

Engage, inform and involve

One of the key differences with the new workers is that they expect to be engaged, informed and involved. The FM industry has sometimes had a "command and control" attitude, where pragmatism was the key virtue, and carrying out instructions without questioning them was the norm. This isn't going to wash with Generation Z. They will want to know the reasons that things are being done in the way they are.

They won't automatically respect greater knowledge either. After all, in the age of the Youtube video telling you how to do practically everything, knowing stuff doesn't have the cachet that it used to. Instead, they'll respect how FM managers apply that knowledge.

This is particularly true when it comes to values. In the past, FM professionals weren't expected to have a set of guiding principles. With the rise of concern for the environment, facilities management is far more political than it was in the past. Generation Z is going to want work that is meaningful, and not in contradiction with its values and beliefs.

How to recruit the best

Mobile phone technology is second nature to "Zs", and with the increasing use of voice technology, its place in FM should be assured. So if Zs go for an interview with a company that has paper-based or PC-only systems, they're going to feel that they're entering the Dark Ages.

It's surprising how much potential candidates can glean about a company's attitude to technology simply from the recruitment process. A paper letter, with a map and directions for an interview, tells the potential recruit that the company is unlikely to be involved in anything innovative. Clunky email attachments aren't much better. These people will be setting out for their interview with a phone, so companies need to make sure that their profile and methods are completely mobile-friendly.

And importantly, even when Zs are starting at the bottom, they want their contribution to be recognised. So as well as recognising teamwork, managers skilled at recruiting and engaging this age group make a point of recognising their individual contribution too.


magnifying glass in the centre of wooden people

Are you ready for these new recruitment trends?

As the world of work changes, so does the way in which employers recruit. Some changes may not stand the test of time, but the following just might.

Mobile-first indexing

A Google initiative designed to enhance our experience as online searchers and to ensure that Google keeps up with our habits. Google likes the fact that we say we will “Google” something and it wants to keep on our good side. Nowadays, more and more of us are looking for jobs on our smartphones and tablets, but some recruiters still don’t acknowledge this. This move is intended to change that.

No more written CVs?

Increasingly, recruiters, whether in-house or external, are placing their focus on more than just what we write in our CV. What do our social media profiles say about us? Do they portray us in a way that we’d like a current or prospective employer to see us? Employees may need to start doing the same sort of things that businesses need to do, creating their own personal websites and building a suitable 'brand' for their chosen career in order to get hired.

Make the company profile look the part

We may not have got to the recruitment equivalent of online dating sites as yet, but we do need people to “fit,” if we want the hire to be successful on both sides. The way we do this is to be honest yet attractive. To use a phrase that was very common back in the early 2000s, we need to make ourselves, “employers of choice.” We need to do this on our website as well as our social media profile pages and we mustn't forget all those job review sites either.

AI anyone?

Like it or not, artificial intelligence is not going away. It’s already in use in one form or another in the UK, in the NHS, for example, and in a number of industries. This is starting to impact on the types of job available, with analysts suggesting that it will create many more new roles than it will replace. It is also having a significant effect on the efficiency of candidate screening and accuracy of hire in the recruitment sector.

Flexible working

More and more of us are moving into freelance or self-employed roles. It’s beneficial for the employer because their costs are lower and beneficial for the worker because they have greater flexibility over their working hours and locations. There are plusses and minuses on both sides but focus on the positives.

Virtual Reality

Not only software for video interviews, but VR and augmented reality are now being used in recruitment. They enable candidates to take part in simulations of real-life situations.

Talent Relationship Management (TRM)

This is becoming more important in recruitment, but we shouldn’t forget our existing talent. There are many reasons to promote internally-developed people, however, we don’t want to forget potential new talent either.

The truth is, we need to use a wide variety of recruitment methods in order to hire the right people. We stand a better chance of getting the right people by staying ahead of the curve.


brain shape from technology lights

Which technologies are changing the FM industry?

The world of facilities management covers a whole range of different areas. This means there are many opportunities for technology to streamline operations for companies involved in this field. Geographic information systems and computer-aided design were some of the first technologies to make an impact in the FM business, but there are now many others.

Smarter buildings

One of the big things that have changed in recent years is the number of devices and sensors that can send information over the internet. These ‘smart’ or ‘Internet of Things’ devices are now used in many buildings, particularly for environmental controls. This means that thermostats, for example, can report back to a computer system that can control heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Similar systems can be used for lighting, ensuring that lights aren’t left on when a room is empty, for example. They can also be an integral part of building an overall smart workplace, allowing employees to ‘hot desk’ and make the best use of available resources, for example, or to automatically direct people to the location of a meeting. The system can ensure that a conference room is lit and at a comfortable temperature before the meeting starts and that any audio-visual systems required are enabled.

Wearables

Many people now have wearable technology like fitness trackers. It’s easy to see the benefits of these on a personal level, but how can they help with managing facilities? Using wearable devices can help managers to understand the pattern of employee activity throughout the workday.

Wearable technology can be used to collect data about how people move around a building, thus giving valuable insights into resource use and space occupancy as people go about their jobs.

Building information

Another thing that facilities management providers are turning to is building information modelling. This allows the creation of a digital model of a physical building. Why is this useful? It can help with space management, letting you work out the best way to fit people and equipment into the space. It also helps with making decisions about efficient use of the building, energy consumption and so on. It can also make it easier when it comes to refurbishments and redesign.

Recent moves are towards Open BIM, which means adopting common standards that make it easy to compare information about different locations. If fully adopted, this would allow information to be shared widely, helping to create ‘smart cities’ to promote levels of energy efficiency and space utilisation across a wide area.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is having an impact on many different areas of our lives and the FM sector is no exception. Along with machine learning and the smart buildings technology we discussed above, it can be used to analyse data in order to predict things like asset utilisation.

This means that equipment can be serviced according to its use, helping to prevent unexpected breakdowns of things like environmental plant. AI and ML technology can help to predict failures before they happen and therefore keep things running smoothly.


closed for Christmas

How to manage the office Christmas closedown

Right now, there are FM professionals up and down the country wondering where Santa's Little Helper is when you need him to help with those extra festive jobs. Not only do they have to ensure the workplace is looking lovely and cheerful, they often have to manage social activities in the building. Then when the last worker has left, they're the ones who have to restore order and make sure the building is securely closed down for the holiday.

Cleaning 

Evening functions in the premises play havoc with the cleaning routines. The functions often require extra cleaning to take place, but employees turn up the next day expecting the building to look as well serviced as ever. Many organisations now have a two-drink limit for any functions at their premises which has limited the worst - let's say messes - that have to be cleaned up. Still, it's a case of asking the cleaning company to be as flexible as possible, and that's best done some time in advance.

The quiet period over the holidays can be a good time for deep cleaning - again, something you need to arrange in advance.

Heating and ventilation

Heating needs to be adjusted so that it runs as economically as possible. If there are staff on site, such as cleaners or security staff, they need reasonable temperatures to work in. But there is little point in heating an entire multi-storey building for one security guard, and so they're usually provided with spot heating for the room they're in. After the holiday, it's a question of getting the building nicely warm, so that employees returning to work, dejected and probably broke, aren't freezing cold into the bargain. OK, they'll still be depressed and penniless, and spending their morning browsing recruitment sites, but at least they'll be warm.

Security

That lonely security guard with his turkey sandwich and oil filled radiator may be quite busy. Christmas is a key time for break-ins, and one of the facilities management jobs is to ensure that in the rush to get away, other managers haven't forgotten to secure their areas. So the last check is essential and alarms need to be primed for areas that won't be used.

It's also important too, to ensure that no one is sleeping off the after effects of the office party in one of the meeting rooms. Home alone is one thing, at work alone and locked in over Christmas, is quite another. For the same reason, toilets have to be checked, to ensure that taps aren't running.

Fire

A faulty light fitting setting fire to a paper lantern, or some tinsel draped over an overheating electrical device, are all it takes for a fire to start. So it's worth checking the decorations to make sure that none are interfering with any electrical fitting, or likely to fall onto radiators.

Finally, the FM manager gets to turn off the last light, lock the last door, eject the last party straggler and head off home for their own celebration. Silent night. Until the alarm goes off at 3 am and someone wants the key holder!


cleaning service

What do you need to consider when outsourcing your cleaning contract?

One of the key issues to consider when outsourcing a cleaning contract is to ensure that the new contract doesn't compromise the organisation's security arrangements.

Staff and contractors need to work in a safe and secure environment, and an organisation can suffer severe reputational damage if a failure in this area leads to a major security breach. As businesses focus on the threat of data breaches and cyber attacks, many fail to realise that physical security is an important part of data and online security. Robust access control ensures that unauthorised people cannot make their way into controlled areas such as server rooms and data centres.

It often falls to the facilities manager to remind the organisation of the steps that need to be taken to maintain security when a new cleaning company is brought on board. Hopefully, the cleaning company's attitude to security and the ability to prove that they are supplying vetted staff, will have been checked during the procurement process. However, given the inevitable turnover in cleaning staff, the checks need to be ongoing, with a process for ensuring that new cleaners are vetted thoroughly before they are allowed access to a building.

It isn't just the threats of cyber attack and terrorism that need to be taken into account. The security of staff working in the building, particularly if they are working late, and alone, is also a concern.

Checks on the legality of the contractor's staff

During any pre-contract checks, facilities management professionals need to ensure that their contractor's procedures are thorough and robust. Many firms rely on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. However, someone with a false ID, or who is using someone else's ID, can pass these.

The immigration status of new workers also needs to be checked and there's a potential fine of up to £5,600 for every worker who is working illegally. There are even higher fines if the illegal workers are being exploited since the Modern Slavery Act would apply in these circumstances.

So, thorough identity checks are essential if services such as cleaning are to be contracted out. Because outsourcing and contracting-out are now such a large part of facilities management, it's not uncommon for advertised jobs to stipulate management of contractors as a requirement. Recruitment of temporary or contract workers or management of a supply company are now required skills for facilities managers.

Continuing checks for contractors

Many FM professionals are considering introducing biometric checks. This is because, as with the DBS checks, ID passes are only useful if they are used honestly. The ID is frequently not checked if a worker is wearing the uniform of a contractor known to supply cleaners to the organisation. So it's easy for someone to impersonate a contract cleaner, for whatever reason.

Facilities managers need to ensure that processes and checks are in place to pick up this kind of risk to the organisation. Otherwise, the cleaning contract can become a weak point in an organisation's security arrangements.


artificial intelligence

Ensure your CV gets past the AI recruitment robots with these tips

If you’re looking for a job these days, you need to know what an ATS is. It’s an applicant tracking system. Despite its very dull name, it’s a bot you need to know about so that you can stop it from filtering out your CV before it ever gets in front of a human being.

These artificial intelligence (AI) bots are working at a slightly more sophisticated level than simply scanning for keywords. They’re able to consider context as well (a bit like a Google search). But they can still be led in the right direction by applicants who know what they’re doing. The important thing is to ensure that the CV still makes sense to the human who reviews it, once it’s got past the bot.

Five hints for bot-proof CVs

1. Make the title big and bold
It should either state the position you want, or make a powerful statement about who you are and what you offer. Limit the text to about 20 words and use a larger font.

2. There’s still a place for keywords
Add a couple of bullet points near the beginning about your expertise. These should contain your most significant keywords. For a facilities management job, you could use those two words, followed by FM in brackets afterwards.

Next, use a “Skills and Attributes” or similar section, to cluster all the keywords that you want the bot to pick up, and the recruiter to focus on later. But remember that you may need to explain why you have included them - so don’t be random. Put your strongest words first, followed by any secondaries.

You can give the keywords some context by providing a couple of concise examples of projects or work achievements that demonstrate how you embody the keyword or have applied it to achieve success.

3. Ensure that you unpack acronyms
For example, if you’ve helped the organisation to redefine its KPIs, write “Key Performance Objectives (KPIs). Note - don’t use a comma before the final s!

4. Don’t overestimate the bot’s cleverness
For example, to a human it’s obvious that a cool graphic box with some focused text looks great. To a bot, this looks like a picture and it may just ignore the entire box. So don’t confuse the poor bot with one-off graphics or original layouts. It’s not that bright.

5. Beat the bot by networking with a recruiter
Recruiters know where the jobs are, when they’re coming up, who’s running the recruitment campaign and so on. It’s their job to gather this business intelligence, and if you’re canny, you’ll make sure that you exploit that by talking to a recruiter. It can save you an awful lot of time and help you focus your CV writing efforts so that you get the best results.

Not only that, but the recruiters know how the bots work, and can advise you if there are items on your CV that are causing it to get thrown out early on, in the automatic sifting.

That’s not something that any bot is going to do for you!


Business statistics bar graph

What's driving growth in the FM industry

There are four big trends currently driving growth in the facilities management market worldwide. They are providing strong growth and all of them seem set to continue into the 2020s, affecting jobs and recruitment. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Increasing FM integration and demand for outsourced services
In the Asia Pacific region, there is a rapid increase in the demand for outsourced services. At the same time, there’s a worldwide growth in demand for integrated provision. How are these two things linked?

The link is that clients see them both as twin solutions which will allow them to bundle up all their facilities tasks, and pass them to a provider who will provide an integrated, end-to-end solution, replacing a hotchpotch of maintenance contracts, in-house staff and other arrangements. As huge markets such as China open up to the possible efficiency savings of integrated and outsourced facilities supervision, this market will see significant growth.

2. Growing demand for services that assist corporate aims
These value-added services involve the provider having an in-depth knowledge of what the business is trying to achieve, and understanding how they can help. For example, this might be in the area of environmental issues, where a client might wish to achieve a more sustainable workplace through the use of the latest energy management technologies.

Similarly, a facilities manager might be able to bring about significant economies through more efficient use of energy, space, and infrastructure, thus increasing shareholder value. Again, an active provider could be engaged in helping a company to show its staff and customers that they are good employers, by promoting a “well building” approach and showing an active interest in issues such as indoor air quality.

3. International trade
Despite some problems in trade relations, the number of contracts is growing globally. Integrated management of facilities has broad international appeal because it can deliver on some universal business requirements. These are the need to cut costs, the desire to provide great workspaces to help recruitment of talented staff, and a feeling across the world that simpler, more standardised services are easier to manage and more likely to deliver.

As companies aggregate their regional and national operations, they are seeking contracts that can deliver integrated management of facilities to wider geographic areas and business sectors.

4. Increasing economic pressures on companies
Disruption from the internet, increased regulation and greater competition, are all putting pressures on companies to cut costs, and find partners to deliver key services at more economical rates.

All companies want to protect their current facility assets, but many are seeking a partner to take over the whole of the FM function, leaving the company free to concentrate on its core business. Companies are well aware that if they don’t deliver shareholder value, they could be targets for takeover, and so they are intent on divesting non-core activities.

Increased regulation concerning environmental, employment and health and safety issues means that it now makes sense to hand the whole facilities management function over to specialised companies.

It’s not surprising then, that many facilities management jobs now include a compliance component, which requires FM managers to have an up to date understanding of all current legislation and guidance.