5 key FM issues for managers to know in 2018

Here are some of the key issues that our industry needs to engage within 2018.

1. The industry needs to think the unthinkable 
Scenario planning is a key activity for modern FM managers, and this may include thinking the unthinkable, such as: suppose there are no offices in the future? As unlikely as this may be, it can get people thinking radically about how building use may change in the future. After all, if someone had said 20 years ago that High Street shops would struggle to survive in the future, no one would have believed them.

The radical change in the pattern of building occupation and use can happen more quickly than we like to imagine, and can catch managers unaware if they’re not thinking in radical “what if” terms.

2. Get fresh talent to join the profession
Young graduates don’t seem to be aware of facilities management as a profession, even though many have exactly the mix of analytic and pragmatic skills that can ensure success in these jobs. As discussed previously, we need to think about future patterns of work and leisure. The recruitment of recent graduates means a fresh supply of ideas and the presence of people who will challenge the status quo. This is an interesting, varied industry, but to survive, it will have to take that message to the pool of young achievers and get them interested in joining.

3. Engage with people in the business
It’s important to find the areas in which facilities management is helping deliver the company’s mission and to use internal communications, newsletters, blogs and web pages to make sure people know about them. For example, nearly every business is keen to show that it’s shrinking its carbon footprint. The facilities function can almost certainly help them punch above their weight in this respect because it’s leading the way in reducing energy use. So make sure the company knows this.

4. Connect with senior executives
Industry professionals should be trying to secure a place in the discussion about where the company is headed – in terms of workforce numbers, locations, type of working environments and so on. One way to do this is a positive and thoughtful response to a blog or article written by the CEO, or other senior executives. It will make them aware that their facilities managers have ideas – and can make a quality contribution to future planning for the business, including discussions about cost reduction.

5. Understand changed work arrangements
Facilities professionals need to adapt itself to the changing nature of work. First of all, we had occasional home working, then full-blown hot desking. Now we have hotelling – where office space is provided short term to temporary workers on a project or is even let out temporarily to another company, if the building operator has spare capacity. Suddenly, the facilities management function is running reservation systems for spare desks, or reconfiguring whole floors of accommodation at short notice.

The pace of change is very unlikely to slow – so facilities professionals have to be aware of these issues, and develop creative but robust responses to them.