Celebrating Facilities Management Professionals

Facility professionals are rarely in the spotlight. They make things happen behind the scenes to ensure their stakeholders are operating in a safe, healthy and productive environment. How often does a member of the facilities department get a “high five” because they have maintained a pleasant room temperature or kept the lights in working order? Unfortunately, it’s more common to hear complaints rather than praise for everyday maintenance we all can take for granted.

Today, on IFMA’s World FM Day, we’d like to celebrate and share our gratitude for the unsung heroes responsible for maintaining our built environment – the facilities departments we all have the pleasure to work alongside.

Facilities management teams are both hindered and energized by the ever-increasing challenge of delivering excellent service. A focus on safety, sustainability and the corresponding regulatory guidelines means improving the environments we all work within are a constant necessity. But these regulations also increase the complexity and sometimes the duration of completing what were once thought to be simple tasks. Complying with growing guidelines is of course a top priority. The best way to accomplish this task is through proactive facility renewal and integrated planned efforts across the organization.

Technology advancements bring greater transparency and elevate expectations of communication and service. Many facilities professionals also must acquire new skills and adjust their approach to deal with advanced systems and software that are ever-increasing in complexity. With the real possibility of someone tweeting at you to fix a toilet or cover a pothole, problem solving for minor to complex system challenges must be done in real time with communication to those who are experiencing the challenges first hand. New communication skills are required across the facilities department, from leadership to the many people who have frontline interactions with customers. All too often, this is happening amid the traditional request to “do more with less,” leaving the buildings facing ever greater stress. The opportunity to solve this puzzle and create something even better for the organization is what motivates the best facilities teams.

The work of facilities management teams can be seen throughout our communities. Hospital facilities focus on providing excellent patient care, educational institutions focus on attracting and retaining students and faculty, while the hospitality industry focuses on creating a positive guest experience. However, none of this is possible if the right physical environment isn’t available to the community. We rely on the shape of our public spaces to get from here to there, educate our children and provide our basic civilized necessities. The facilities professionals who keep our built environment functioning enable each industry to pursue important missions for our cultural, humanitarian and economic development.

So finally, how often do you thank the people around you for ensuring you are able to enjoy your daily routine or do your job effectively?

The next time something isn’t working right in your space, pause briefly to consider all of the other times that very system was working perfectly. Then take into consideration the many other systems working seamlessly during that same moment. Instead of venting, you just may find yourself wanting to say “thank you” to the person who arrives to address your concern.