In a cosmopolitan and buzzing business hub like Hong Kong, the way we work is changing at an ever faster rate. This has led to a demand for employee-centric workplaces and well-managed facilities that promote wellness, reduce turnover, and boost productivity and your organization’s bottom line.
The role of facilities management (FM) professionals is hence changing and getting increasingly critical in this process. No longer are they simply “glorified custodians” responsible for cleaning and security. In fact, they are now responsible for adding strategic value to companies.
A recent white paper, ‘Redefining the Executive View of Facility Management’ by JLL in and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), reveals that the growing emphasis on facilities has integrated the FM function to the larger scope of core business activities.
“We have been able to demonstrate that as a dedicated facilities management provider we are able to bring best practices and value to the table that companies may not be able to generate internally,” says Annie Wang, Regional Director with JLL’s Integrated Facilities Management team.
Rapid advances in technology, data and analytics give facility managers tools to prove their strategic value in a progressively data-driven business environment. With companies putting ever greater emphasis on increasing productivity, as well as trying to attract and retain top talent, it is crucial for facilities managers to be able to measure and demonstrate their facilities’ role in enhancing employee experience.
“Maintaining or replacing a facility’s air conditioning or ventilation system might seem like an additional cost to executives,” explains Wang. “But if that system reduces sick days or makes the workplace more pleasant, then we should encourage them to consider the net savings and increase in workers’ productiveness. There are lots of examples like these where FM can make a difference.”
A key benefit of FM is that it allows you to focus their efforts on your core business while service providers, such as JLL, keep your facilities in operational mode to support that.
“We have clients where we service their entire regional real estate portfolio. The client has just one member of staff managing the contract and the employees working on site are provided by us,” explains Wang.
FM professionals need to keep pushing themselves to be recognised as a high-value service and this really boils down to awareness of the importance of FM. For example, the industry definitely needs new blood from technologically minded millennials to meet the needs of an evolving business environment.
So besides technical and business skills, facility managers need to develop their soft skills, such as effective relationship management, communication, collaboration and problem-solving to better align their role and the company’s commercial real estate function with its core business model.
Cost reduction, risk management, and ensuring that operations and maintenance are run efficiently may remain at the heart of facilities management for now, but the changing importance of facilities management means FM managers need to embrace their new strategic function and build their team’s skillsets to prevent being left behind.
Interested to find out more about Future of Work? Learn more about our outlook on the changing world of work here.