Facilities Management businesses and remote working

How has the world Facilities Management changed around remote working? Communications technology has been a widespread catalyst for change, accelerating the digital transformation and forcing a reassessment of the role of facilities management. Remote working creates both challenges and opportunities for FM professionals which means that you need to stay ahead of the curve.

Reevaluating the office

Think more employees working from home makes life easy for facilities management? Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a flexitime workforce could make space management more valuable than ever.

Leveraging smart technologies to track and analyse space utilisation is a key tool for businesses looking to reevaluate the way in which office space is used. As open-plan offices and collaborative working have become the norm, hot-desking and space allocation for remote and office-based workers have become a fundamental FM task.

Optimising occupation

The changing workforce is already impacting on facilities management, making tracking and optimising occupancy critical. Familiarity with real-time information and advanced technology can give FM professionals the edge when it comes to rationalising assets and heating and cooling office space.

Reporting and monitoring, data analytics and collection are becoming ubiquitous in facilities management and cloud infrastructure and mobile networking have made managing workplaces remotely more effective. In turn, these connected ways of working are driving new efficiencies. Better yet, communication technologies can underpin remote working for FM professionals in exceptional times.

The virtual water cooler

But what about those intangible forces for productivity like the water cooler? While micromanagers might put little value on those water-cooler moments, those informal interactions that spark ideas and drive collaboration and creativity have long been prized by wiser CEOs.

Those chance encounters might be important but distributed remote working teams can also banter, chat and create their virtual water cooler with programmes such as Campfire, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

How to succeed remotely

As an FM business or an FM professional, it’s by no means impossible to work remotely. But your success may depend on a series of smaller actions that build into the right work-life balance. Start by setting boundaries between your work life and your home life. Establish your office hours and create a dedicated workspace. You can experiment with what feels right for the work you do.

As a facilities manager, you’ll be familiar with using your calendar and setting time blocks to get things done. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue with the kind of good practice that keeps you accountable during your working day.

Keep your visibility at work just as you would in the office. Organise regular check-ins with your team to update and celebrate your wins. Clear and effective communication using synchronous tools, video meetings and shared documentation will get those tasks done.

Embrace remote management

As an FM professional, you have a unique opportunity to prove that your company has everyone’s best interests at heart. By using data to understand the needs and activities of your organisation and upgrading digital management capabilities, you can reevaluate building priorities and rewrite the FM handbook to include remote management of facilities and the workforce.