The Changing Role of Facility Managers

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting organizations with a new set of challenges, there is an inherent need to evolve the workplace. The focus has shifted from revenue generation to improving the bottom line by focussing on employee-centric facilities that promote safety and wellness, boost productivity and reduce overhead costs. In such challenging times, the role of facilities management professionals is quickly changing from passive suppliers to proactive strategic partners.

The growing emphasis on optimizing business operations and integrating new and efficient standards of operation has propelled the FM function to join the larger scope of business activities. Facility managers are the core of this transition phase who are expected to fulfil their customer needs and demonstrate value creation capabilities. 

Here are 6 important ways facility managers must reinvent their role to stay competitive beyond 2020.

  1. Embrace new strategies to drive business: Facility managers need to move beyond asset deployment and focus on supporting company strategies, in addition to technical skills in their domain. To better align their role with the company’s core business, facility managers need to closely collaborate with HR and IT teams to support workplace strategy and benefit all internal stakeholders.
  2. Catalyse collaboration in the workplace: With a majority of employees away from their central offices, facility managers need to focus on increasing collaboration by adapting to various flexible work environments. They must be keen and able to leverage the latest technologies like virtual workplace in their service offerings and follow industry trends to create new workflows.
  3. Focus on value creation over cost saving: Even though cost-cutting will continue to dominate the business agenda, facility managers need to find new ways to create value in the workspace by benefitting employees and stakeholders. One way to achieve this is to adopt forward-thinking strategies to allow mobility and create better working conditions that encourage a healthier work-life balance and boosts employee productivity.
  4. Enable productivity by enhancing workplace experience: With companies putting more emphasis on increasing productivity due to limited resources post pandemic, there are a lot of areas where FM functions can make a big difference. Facility managers need to stay proactive and develop strategies that demonstrate their facilities’ role in enhancing employee experience. One way to do that is by highlighting the impacts of maintaining facilities like air conditioning which reduces sick days and leads to greater net savings and higher employee productivity rates.
  5. Prioritize health over everything else: With rising chances of cross-contamination and virus exposure, ensuring the highest level of safety in the workplace has become of paramount importance. Facility managers are required to play a role in reducing the stress levels and ensuring the well-being of employees as businesses resume full operations. An essential pre-requisite is to focus on creating safe workspaces by following strict guidelines for regular sanitization and cleaning services to minimize health risks.
  6. Shift from standardized service to personalized solutions: The practice to offer standardized service to customers and their subsequent employees is evolving, as organizations are rapidly morphing their business models to adapt to the new normal.  If facility managers have to stay competitive, they should focus on creating personalized service deliveries that support these new ways of working. The challenge would be to keenly understand the core business of the customer and train the front-line service employees to deliver unique services that are fit-for-purpose.

With the rise in new challenges due to the pandemic, organizations are poised to disrupt their own business models. In such a rapidly changing environment, facility managers need to keep pushing themselves to be recognized as high-value resources, in order to avoid becoming obsolete when compared to the larger scope of business functions. Proactive facility managers who can devise quick workarounds to manage critical facilities and maintenance tasks remotely in such uncertain times often go on to become invaluable business partners who drive better dividends. And that awareness to bring strategic importance to the FM function is the need of the hour.

To learn how facility management professionals can create value for businesses in post-pandemic times, please contact our expert team at CLR Services.

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