Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Facilities management as a role has changed drastically over the years. The way people see, feel and experience a built environment has evolved. Businesses have also recognised that there is a direct link between an employees’ experience of the workplace and their performance and productivity.

With an employment potential of 5 million people in the next three years, The FM services industry in India is pegged to become a USD 19.4 billion market by 2022. Let’s take a look at some of the unconventional roles FM has sneaked into over the years…

1) FM and Counter-Terrorism

Security is always integral in ensuring safety, particularly within venues, corporate spaces, key landmarks and high footfall destinations. With unfortunate growth of looming terrorist threats, security personnel need to be highly alert, thoroughly trained on emergency procedures, and aware of evolving threats and nature of attacks on an international scale, now more than ever before.

Counter-terrorism is playing a growing role for individuals within the facilities management sector. Upskilling and developing these teams can be overlooked at one’s own peril. The technological, economic and political landscapes (among others), present an ever-changing range of threats, meaning security professionals cannot afford to be complacent with current systems and procedures if they want to be effective. The good news is, there’s plenty of opportunities to expand and enhance the knowledge of professionals in the industry, ensuring they are equipped to handle any unwanted event.

2) FM and Environment

Though still in its early development stage, India is just opening to the phenomenon of green buildings. The shift in approach towards energy-use reductions for large buildings has led to an expansion of FM teams’ traditional roles. The role and responsibilities of a facilities manager varies greatly by organization, with a primary goal of maintaining buildings and providing safe and healthy environments. Because common job responsibilities range from general site maintenance and repair to managing sustainability committees, often the efforts for instituting energy use reductions falls on facility managers. As the duties of FM teams have developed, the expectations and capabilities to be knowledgeable in sustainability and efficient building practices has grown as well.

3) FM and ROI  

Management’s expectations of facilities are changing. Facility executives can no longer breathe easy just because the CFO seems satisfied that the latest retrofit project is progressing on time and on budget. Nor can they rest on their laurels because a department head was bowled over by how well a workspace renovation project for his or her people turned out.

Indeed, the measurement of success that facility executives use — or at least should be using — has changed. The switch is due in no small part to the volatile economy. Although facilities may have been viewed as a cost centre — capable of being controlled by slashing a line or two on a budget — current financial conditions have pressured the facility function into demonstrating business value across an enterprise. Upper management wants to know how much of a return it is receiving on its facility investment beyond how much money is being saved and whether internal customers are satisfied.

Like in every other field, in facilities management, increasing amounts of data are being collected and more effort is put towards understanding the current state of the operation through visible dashboards. Today Facility executives often want to further assess the impact of facilities on business operations and ROI.

4) FM and Energy Efficiency

From monitoring operational efficiency, meeting building codes and regulations, and everything in between, facility managers have the strenuous job of facility management and ensuring multiple organizational goals are met. They cover a wide range of disciplines to ensure that everything a building encompasses, the people, process, space, and technology, are working harmoniously together. Without a strong facility management in place, there is the risk of missing out on opportunities to increase an establishment’s operational effectiveness.

Increasingly, not only are corporations finding the importance of sustainability initiatives, but looking into the future, are realizing that energy costs are rising. For these reasons, facility managers are primarily focusing on the operations and maintenance aspect of facility management and its correlation with energy sustainability. Improving energy efficiency has the ability to impact operational efficiency as well as reduce energy consumption and overall costs.

5) FM and HR

From the initial interview to day one on the job, an employee’s first impression of their new employer often sticks. A messy, disorganized first day can make a new hire feel forgotten and undervalued — not exactly starting the relationship on the right foot. And with so many companies struggling to recruit and keep highly qualified candidates, making a positive impression is critical.

For both HR and facilities management, employee engagement and retention is a top priority. Not only does high turnover reflect poorly on the each department’s effectiveness, but it also creates more time-consuming on boarding and off boarding work and impedes both teams’ ability to work proactively.

But by working together, HR and FM can ensure a seamless experience for new employees. Imagine walking into the lobby on your first day and being greeted by digital signage, finding your new workspace using the company’s simple way finding app and discovering that you’ve already been set up on all necessary tools and software. Now that’s a warm welcome!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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