I’m told that, allegedly, as much as 1 in 10 people in work in the UK, do something related to FM. This is a staggering statistic and if you think about all the cleaners, security officers and maintenance engineers out there, it does not seem all that outrageous.
Yet, I am often asked ‘what does FM actually mean?’ No doubt this is a good question and I fear the definition I’ve always used (i.e. all the logistics and support functions that a business requires, but is not a core part of their sales strategy) does not convey the true size and scale.
I have said many times that FM is about people and people need buildings etc., but fundamentally it is about people, not business. But how does this relate to the modern workplace?
Let’s look at the ‘traditional’ elements of FM:
I’ll start with cleaning, surely that can’t be about people, can it? This one is easy to deal with… why do you clean? The answer is of course, for people!
Security then must be about protecting property though, where I ask… whose property if not people’s.
Surely buildings themselves are not about the people…. Yet, despite significant advances in automation and mechanizing, I don’t know of a single ‘automatic’ business, so people again.
I can continue this argument with maintenance engineers, health and safety, transport, post-room etc. etc. Every time the answer comes back to people.
The modern workplace is not easily defined anymore. I write this as I am working from home, tomorrow I’m on a client site, yesterday I was in the office. The point is that my workplace, like most people’s is wherever I am.
To future-proof the workplace we need to be thinking of how people will interact with the workplace – the assumption that people will fit the office is dangerous and not in the interests of good FM.
Happy World FM day everyone!