How facilities management can future-proof your business

Strategic facilities management is a powerful tool for those that know how to use it. For many businesses, estate management is often reactive and fails to develop assets and add value to portfolios.

The global pandemic has been hugely disruptive in the field of estate management. First, many premises were abandoned – virtually overnight – for an unknown period of time. Now, as we plan a return, organisations are having to make drastic changes to the way they use their sites in order to keep staff safe. Designing resilience into assets can not only protect them but aid the organisation as a whole.

This must start with an in-depth understanding of the estate, it’s strengths and its weaknesses. For many, hard elements of FM have been hugely challenging over the previous months since they are designed to function with the building at near full capacity.

Failure to manage this situation can result in a lack of compliance. At worst, this can lead to dangerous health outcomes as was seen with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease earlier this year. Understanding risk allows potentially costly and hazardous problems to be avoided.

Once the fundamental needs of the organisation are met by its estate, attention can be turned to increasing the value of assets. Sites and premises should be viewed in terms of their potential. The upkeep of under-utilised sites is a resource drain.

Instead, these areas should become a focus for redevelopment. Real estate should add value to the organisation through by enhancing the safety and productivity of a site.. Portfolio optimisation is a key way of financially streamlining an organisation, providing a buffer for unexpected spends or greater potential for investing into development.

An area garnering increasing attention is the creation of a workplace that supports the productivity and wellbeing of employees. Future-proofing is about embracing change. The way we work will continue to evolve, especially as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

Spaces should be designed to allow for agile working and changes in working style. The most flexible thing in a space is never the furniture, nor the walls. It’s the people. Space should encourage movement, creative work, and facilitate safety.

The space should also reflect and encourage a strong workplace culture. A close-knit workplace culture is important for keeping staff motivated and engaged even when times are difficult. Staff that feel supported and at home in their workplace will be more loyal.

Finally, the sustainability of the workplace will be under ever greater scrutiny in the coming years. With many of the greatest challenges business face, including the global pandemic, traced back to unsustainable practices, the pressure will be on everyone to do better.

Estate managers can save on costs and improve the reputation of an organisation by implementing sustainable practices. From insulation and waste disposal to buying furniture made of more eco-friendly material, the possibilities are endless.

The role of the estate manager is both to be a creative problem solver and a visionary for the potential of the portfolio. Those with a strong understanding of estate management and how it aligns with the organisation’s priorities have a powerful tool at their fingertips.

Back to insight