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by Sara Bean, Editor, FMJ Magazine
Industry View from
The facilities management sector creates working environments that enhance staff recruitment, retention and productivity.
Facilities management (FM) is increasingly recognised as an integral part of any organisational strategy, whether in delivering services to a complex healthcare environment, ensuring the smooth running of a major retail centre, or contributing to the profitability of a blue-chip corporate. FM is also responsible for the wellbeing of employees, as it’s been proven that a well-designed workspace can help improve productivity, prevent injury and reduce absence. The FM function can be delivered by an in-house team running everything from cleaning and catering to the very fabric of the building, or it could be outsourced to external FM providers.
Whatever the model of delivery, the reach of FM goes much wider than the management of buildings and services. It is not only critical to the successful functioning of every organisation which occupies property or manages infrastructure, but it can help support wider societal aims, including the sustainability of a building, how people are trained and treated, the way in which purchasing and waste management is organised, and the effect the facilities offered have on the wider community.
There are numerous examples of the societal role of FM. A social value project led by FM provider VINCI Facilities provided a link for students from Barking and Dagenham College (BDC) looking to work in the construction industry while supporting social ventures that helped their local communities. ISS Facilities Services was the first FM provider to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and has since launched an active programme to help service leavers transition into the civilian workforce, including those who struggle after leaving the forces.
RICS, the global professional body that promotes and enforces the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, and helps represent the FM profession, predicts there is a greater role than ever for FM in encouraging organisations to act responsibly.
“Where environmental, social and governance issues were once considered superfluous to business risk, over the past two decades the tide has turned,” says RICS Global Property Standards Director Paul Bagust.
“Corporate engagement in these areas has risen and RICS professionals are ideally placed to drive significant economic, environmental and social value. This is why RICS is organising responsible business forums across the world and gathering opinions that highlight the challenges and approaches to these key issues.
“We are taking a collaborative approach and developing standards with a variety of stakeholders, from corporations and NGOs to industry bodies, consultants and suppliers related to property services and management. The built environment requires this collaborative approach to responsible business for the benefit of our society.”
FM is becoming a bigger part of the delivery of sustainable solutions, including the energy management of buildings, heating, ventilation and lighting, as well as addressing an issue which has gained great significance over the past year: waste management.
We need to urgently address our global environmental challenges. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. This means FM is at the vanguard of efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastic across a swath of commercial sites, including retail and leisure parks, educational establishments and corporate offices – just one very significant way it can positively impact society.
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