Just Two Days Until World FM Day: June 23, 2011

As you may or may not know, World FM Day 2011 is just around the corner! In honor of this celebration of facilities management (FM) Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., wanted to know if members of the American workforce knew who their facility managers (fms) were and what they thought or knew about the evolving role of the fm. According to a recent survey, the results were extremely positive – with more than 70% of those surveyed noting that they not only know who their fm is, but recognize that this role is dramatically changing.

Facility Managers Step Out From Behind The Scenes
In April 2011, Staples Advantage conducted an online survey of office workers at nearly 200 businesses of all sizes across the U.S. The survey asked a series of questions about knowledge of fms and overall thoughts on how fms impact their workplace environment.

According to survey results, the role of fms has typically been associated with the maintenance of buildings, but over the course of the last few years, it seems misconceptions about fms are dissipating, with more than 80% of respondents accurately identifying the role’s management responsibilities and a majority recognizing its strategic importance with professionals often serving as an organization’s sustainability champion.

In addition, the survey suggests the U.S. workforce is aware of, and appreciates, the fms that not only keep businesses going “as usual,” but frequently go above and beyond the call of duty. From “saving the day” for building occupants to making financial decisions to becoming more regulation savvy, fms are now taking care of the health of the building, as well as its occupants.

The survey uncovered how many fms personally contribute to the overall welfare of not only the physical building, but also the occupants. In fact, 75% of respondents said an fm has “saved the day” for them. Additionally, about 20% of respondents revealed that their fm performed a random act of kindness.

“Our survey suggests that not only are fms viewed as office heroes, they are also thought of as strategic decision makers,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for the facility solutions and service business of Staples Advantage. “Fms are coming out from ‘behind the scenes’ when it comes to maintaining the health of a building and its tenants. The workforce now understands that the fm role is evolving daily.”

Recently, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) , the largest and most widely recognized professional association for facility management, issued a Facility Professionals Salary Research Report. The findings note that fms have a combined annual purchasing power of $100 billion and manage 37 billion square feet of property. Additionally, 68% of these facility managers said they manage a staff of six or more people.

Facility Managers Recognized For Strategic Management Skills
Today’s fm must interact with a wide range of stakeholders in order to implement strategic initiatives successfully and manage the day-to-day activities of their job. An understanding of the unique skills required of a fm was echoed by survey respondents:

  • Financially savvy. According to more than 80% of respondents, knowledge of financial and operational budgets is a must for fms.
  • Strategically oriented. Employees recognize the role of the fm has changed from tactical to strategic with more than 60% commenting on the importance for fms to have environmental and health and safety knowledge.
  • Problem solvers. Close to 80% noted it was very important for fms to have problem solving skills.

The fm’s job is complex and multifaceted within any organization, and Staples Advantage offers some quick tips for fms to continue elevating their role. These include:

  • Make the case for sustainability. By implementing a sustainable cleaning program, fms can make a big difference. Often serving as the environmental champion for their organization, fms must evaluate the overall health of the facility, review products and equipment, assess current vendors, and implement training programs so maintenance staff is educated on green initiatives and best practices.
  • Promote building safety. More than 80% of survey respondents noted they were very appreciative when building walkways were de-iced and shoveled. Fms understand the importance of general building maintenance and can advance building safety by ensuring the entire facility meets or exceeds OSHA regulations.
  • Keep communication open. The fm role is not only tactical but also strategic. Continue the ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders to discuss new regulations and the importance of continually reviewing products, equipment and vendors.

Thank Your Facility Manager
June 23, 2011 marks World FM Day 2011. As part of this worldwide event, Staples Advantage encourages every employee to find some way to thank his or her fm, not just on this day, but every day for helping to make a safer, healthier, and happier work environment.

“With fms’ roles evolving, World FM Day encourages us to show our appreciation and celebrate fms. We spend most of our waking hours in an office environment, and thanks to our fms, we are healthy, comfortable, and safe at work. Now, it’s our turn to thank our fms for their year-round service,” said Hamblet.