The Role of Strategic Facilities Management
Facilities management plays a fundamental role in an organisation by managing one of its largest assets that contributes to the productivity and comfort of its workforce. Consequently, combining strategy and facilities management has a multitude of benefits for the organisation. Strategy is often understood as the direction and scope of an organisation while focusing effort on quantifiable objectives. Applying this to the area of facilities management requires understanding the environment and making choices about what you will do with it.
Why is strategy necessary in facilities management?
According to RICS, strategy in a facilities management context is defined as ‘helping the business achieve competitive advantage by aligning real estate and facilities services more closely with business imperatives, operational capabilities and organisational performance’. Consequently, strategic facilities management means managing with a set of identifiable goals within a company and applying these goals to the management of space.
Strategic FM for the Transition Back to the Workplace
According to the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) white paper on facility management planning, there are four considerations when developing and implementing a strategic FM plan. These areas include Understanding, Analysing, Planning and Acting. Each of these areas affects the way in which strategic facilities management is implemented.
Strategic facilities management will be heavily influenced by an organisation’s strategic planning. Understanding and supporting the vision, the goals, the mission, and the core values of an organisation will allow strategic FM to prioritise and manage the space in line with the overall goals and direction of the organisation. This may involve decisions around the allocation of resources or understanding the timeline in which the plan must be executed.
The purpose of the workplace and employee’s expectations is evolving. Therefore, deciding on short and long-term goals for your post covid workplace will help realise its potential. Short term goals may be to safely accommodate staff who cannot continue to work remotely or who want to collaborate face to face. According to a report Global Research Report (JLL, 2020) Dublin has one of the highest densities per worker in the world (preceded by London, Singapore, Hong Kong & Tokyo.) Consequently, the dedensification of existing workplaces will be a long-term goal.
When a clear picture of the business’ situation emerges, it is possible to begin analysing the best way to meet the evolving needs of the company, its employees and to manage issues. Comparing current requirements with an eye on future needs is an area that strategic FM can address, especially as we recover from the pandemic. In the case of the post pandemic workplace, employee needs will include continuing to work remotely a few days a week and endeavoring to create a more supportive, caring environment.
Dedensification may require redesigning the office layout and technology to manage the number of people in the workplace. However, as vaccination rates rise the design of the workplace will change to reflect this.
When a satisfactory analysis has been conducted, it pushes the strategic FM into the third phase of planning to develop a roadmap. Decisions that need to be made become evident and are supported by the analysis. Prioritising and deciding upon important elements of your workplace for employees returning to the workplace allows a business to plan the changes they need to carry out. Trends that have been noted for returning to the workplace include investing in technology to support hybrid work (JLL, 2020) and create smarter buildings (PWC Pulse Report 2021)
Within the plan there are a few steps that are documented including strategic FM objectives, financial and risk assessments, evaluations of alternatives, recommendations & priorities, a marketing process for gaining management approval and acquiring financial approval for the implementation of the strategy.
The plan has now been devised and you have management’s approval. Now is the time to put it into action. The implementation of the plan will require facilities managers to work with leaders within a business who understand the effect of the strategy on facilities management and the broader goals of the company. Consequently, the strategic plan will need to be seen as the ‘current’ plan and will need adjustment when there are changes to an organisation.
Working with Acacia
By working with Acacia, we can help you
- Develop a Facilities Management Strategy that is aligned with your organisation’s business needs.
- Future proof your organisation’s strategic plans by advising industry trends and best practice.
- Develop a comprehensive planning review and benchmark process to ensure that your plans are being implemented and are effective.
Contact our team today for more information on our range of Facilities Management services.
Editors note: This blog was originally published in January 2021. This is an updated version which includes references to returning to the workplace for Sept 2021.
Top 10 Global CRE Trends in 2020, JLL, June 2020
Future of work: what boards should be thinking about, PWC (https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/governance-insights-center/library/covid-19-returning-workplace-boards.html)
The future of office demand, Global Report, JLL June, 2020
Strategic Facility Planning: A White Paper, IFMA, 2009