The value of the global online gambling market has increased by 48% over the last year. Yet this is not the only industry to have benefitted from the pandemic: online sales, home delivery and subscriptions to entertainment channels have all hit a record high. The FM sector has also been affected, albeit in different ways, and in many cases, it is yet to be determined what the new situation will be like, since this depends how the companies which receive support are faring.
There is one aspect which has become commonplace and can help us shape the future of Facility Management: namely the increase in visibility within organisations. There are no exact figures to corroborate this, but indicators such as the number of calls received by FM departments asking what should be done and the rise in the number of area managers invited to crisis meetings and meetings to define how to react, are good proof of this. This sudden, let’s call it recognition, demonstrates two things: on the one hand, that companies know we exist and, on the other, that to some extent they value what we do. This is where we have to lever. We cannot lose our way or wait for another crisis to bring us back into the limelight.
The key players
Professionals on the client’s side, whether they be department managers or team members, must be aware of the importance of not letting this opportunity pass by. This means they must be engaged in order to preserve the place they have gained within the organisations. One must maintain permanent communication and ask to be continuously involved in the operation’s decisions, not only in crises. One must be proactive and be familiar with best practices, be up to date with new solutions and provide answers before asked. A key ally, and one we will stand by for a long time, is human resources, with whom we must establish a close bond at all levels. Nevertheless, some readers, whose FM departments already boast all this, may be surprised to learn that they are the exception.
Suppliers are the other major component of FM models and a key player if we want to secure a sustainable future for the profession. They have also suffered from the crisis in very different ways: while those offering cleaning services have been overwhelmed with work, those related to catering have been practically gridlocked, and it is still unclear what their future may hold. Innovation and operational flexibility are the keys to firstly overcoming the crisis and then ensuring business continuity. Robotisation or virtualisation of services are key in many areas of FM. Another determining factor is information management; good data management can lead to you acting sooner and making decisions that can be the key to survival.
Even after all this has passed, we must continue backing FM. But let’s not fool ourselves, either we do, or no one else will. We must make hay while the sun shines and consolidate the position we have acquired, otherwise everything we have achieved will be soon lost. It might be an idea to consider where FM fits in with all those other sectors that have been so successful during this period: online products, home care services and à la carte entertainment products. We may be looking at a new way of understanding Facility Management. In any event, backing Facility Management is a safe bet.