The narrative of this new future we find for ourselves in, can to a large part be written by FM. Never has there been a better example of why FM should be influencing the top table.

If designed in the right way, the ‘new normal’ for Facility Managers is as a critical value centre for any business, whether its setting home office policies, fully managing city centre skyscrapers or even devising innovative approaches to commuting.

Hopefully, your FM function has been embraced already by your organisation or business and your process and policies have adapted well to numerous challenges to them.  

Having reviewed our own policies and procedures, we at Key FM, have outlined some general areas for consideration around how to evolve your operating model to support and lead our workforces, clients, customers back to work.

1.      Communication

Maintaining a constant line of communication is critically important in supporting everyone through this change. The continual stream of information needs to be carefully managed and the FM regime, corporate position and guidance need to align in order to connect and be effective with the desired audience.

If the FM team can lead and support this re-introduction to the workplace and new future it will provide a rudder to steer the corporate ship back to safer waters. This is also a multi-phase process so what is said today will need to change tomorrow. Think about how everyone can also get access this fast changing guidance.

2.      Multidisciplinary Approach

Multidisciplinary understanding: Knowing what the changes are and how they are going to be experienced is key to taking the lead. This can involve changes to cleaning approaches, remits around security teams and mask compliance, through to new technologies being installed to provide safer and more productive spaces.  

Once you have defined the approach, communicated the depth of knowledge across the FM team and have identified the priorities, you will have a solid platform for the demand organisation or business to build on.

3.     Confidence

This environment is new for all of us. It is our job to provide good communications in an informed way for all our stakeholders, even if we are not sure of every answer ourselves. We have the support of our Professional bodies, which will be critical, not only to giving everyone the necessary reassurances, but also the guidance to get back in the saddle, even if it ends up looking a little different to the pre-COVID environment.

4.     Health & Wellness

The recent drive in FM towards the health and wellness agenda just got a shot in the arm but also a twist in the tail.  The sensing capabilities of technologies such as IoT and thermal cameras were already well underway in their roadmap to maturity but now these tools will also need to embrace a COVID-19 savvy landscape.  

The new normal will include health and wellness as standard. Further, the fulfilment of the health and wellness agenda accelerates FM’s ability to access and deliver the tools and insights to create happier, healthier work-places. A few months ago, health and wellness were a nice to have – now its top of the Board’s agenda.

5.     Technology

Smart Buildings and Smart Cities also were on a digital rise and these environments can also support us in realigning our previous already stretched operations to not only embrace the extra requirements upon us but the streamline and optimise what we do and how we do it so we can focus more on the value we provide.  

These technologies can not only assist our general functioning, but the emerging tools provide capability to direct help in managing this new world, from parts per billion air monitoring to using computer simulations to understand emerging and multi territory emerging situations.  If designed in the right way the necessary changes imposed upon us can result in significant and measurable operational gains.

6.     Rethinking the Workplace

With the obvious enforced adoption of home working and the corresponding explosion in the use of digital technologies, FM’s need to re-think the workplace.

Supporting the demand organisations or business employees is now much more complex than ever before and requires new thinking and new tool sets. Being able to support this more complex environment needs to become a more collaborative and ultimately adaptive space. It will be reimagined by us all, so let’s design something better!!

7.     Future Contain / Remove / Contingency

Increasingly, FM’s need our buildings and spaces to be able to react immediately to emerging circumstances in the workplace.  If someone develops symptoms inside the facility, what process and functionality are needed to separate and minimise the risk for everyone else – whilst supporting the needs of the individual and the FM workforce.  This could also extend to creating zones or even facilities within the premises to support the human need.

8.     Knowledge Sourcing

From both internal activity but also across local and national policy, regulation and advice, the coming months will see many changes to the understanding around best practice so maintaining constant contact with those relevant sources will allow a progressive and informed strategy. Stay informed by connecting with professional bodies, your peers and authoritative sources of FM information.

9.     Standards/Best Practice Review

The whole FM methodology now needs to integrate into a greater future landscape where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Now is the time to rethink Standards and FM Best Practice and how it applies to your organisation or business.

10.  Team Structure and Players

This will encompass every part of the demand organisation or business and consider – executive involvement, HR, finance, legal, technology, procurement, communications. Your FM team will need to collaborate around health and safety, security and wellness.

Whats expected from you? Understand now what your demand Organisation or Business is expecting from you in the light of our new awareness. The landscape has changed, priorities have shifted, budgets will be re-allocated and therefore FM need to realign and fast. Take the lead, engage a C Level and deliver a much more proactive and safe response.

For more information, contact Key FM.