Facilities is evolving from a day-to-day operational support role to a more strategic need.
Reacting with a solution to fix something that has broken is now moving to a more predictive environment.
We are getting better at reviewing past data and forecasting future outcomes that can only further enhance safety and reduce on-going maintenance costs.
Facilities has become more integral to how we conduct our businesses and lifestyles.
As facilities integrates people with their workplace and processes, facility managers must ensure their built environments are functionally efficient, safe and comfortable.
Increasingly technology is disrupting the status quo. There is growing demand to fit smarter building technology, moving away from the more traditional paper-based decisions.
Upgrading to digital tools and analytic platforms, will result in our building operations becoming more efficient, adaptable and cheaper with less down time and interruptions to our daily activities.
With so much change, facilities has evolved into a multi-skilled environment. Predominantly a male-dominated industry formed by electricians, carpenters, plumbers and many other trades and services, facilities attracts a variety of diverse backgrounds and cultures, skills and experiences, age and sex.
Facilities incorporates hundreds of services including (to name but a few):
- Administration and management roles, such as: HR, CSR, IT, legal
- Financial, such as: operations, capital expense, procurement, CSR
- Soft services, such as: cleaning, catering, security
- Hard services, such as: trades, fire, mech/elec
- Compliance, such as: WHS, legislation, risk, environmental.
As a globally recognised profession with established national and global bodies, an FM Diploma and an ISO accreditation, facilities is on the up and a career option that should soon be included in our school curriculums.
I have been fortunate to have gained heaps of experience in several industry sectors, mainly focused in operations and facilities management across Europe and Australasia.
By asking questions of colleagues, peers and subject matter experts, I have not lost the desire to learn and continue my development.
I encourage you all to be curious. As facilities has proven to be so resilient and moves from strength to strength, so can you as an individual.
Get to know and understand your own strengths, learn at every opportunity and help others expand their knowledge.
Ensure you and your team are regularly trained and updated on changing practices, regulations and legislations and ways to improve safety and compliance.
Just as important, you have to acknowledge your own weaknesses: ask for help or training on the job, it’s not a sign of weakness.
If you keep up with the evolution of all that is and will be facilities, you can only be setting yourself up with more career opportunities as your resilience and knowledge grows.
I am a strong believer that COVID-19 has not finished with us yet. If liquid droplets from coughs and sneezes are common ways of transmitting viruses, then there may never be an end in sight – the common cold is part of being human.
The virus will continue to mutate, we may forever be chasing our tails so just as with other viruses that have knocked us for six in the past.
To look after our health and continue to grow, we need to ensure our ever-improving cleanliness and hygiene become a new way of life for us all.
Growth equals resilience and living long and healthier lives.
Caroline Fitzwater is director of Caroline Fitzwater Consultancy (CFC)