Yesterday, July 13, was World FM Day. It was a great event to celebrate the FM profession that often operates tirelessly in the background.  Here are three takeaways from World FM Day and the presentations, articles and thoughts celebrated over the day.

1.Push to move Facility Management into the Strategy Level of Organizations.

This is something we are increasingly seeing a push for. The thoughts shared on World FM Day echoed past efforts to bring the FM role to the strategy conversation. Cathy Hayward of Magenta summarized the gradual shift towards this perfectly

“FM has moved out of the boiler room, if not quite to the board room, then to the open-plan desk area just outside it.”

We were able to ask Tony Keane, President and CEO of IFMA, about Facility Management trends moving forward. He highlighted several important aspects for Facility Management Strategy:

“I think some of the more important trends in terms of FM strategy, really comes down to how we deal with sustainability. And also the innovations in workplace and the workplace environment. And then how FM professionals around the globe enter into and deal with the technology that is creating all sorts of data. The future for Facility Management is really strong, because more organizations today are really seeing the benefit and the value it can bring. That’s where all of our organizations can benefit from the higher level of FM that we can all bring to the table.”

Across the pond, we heard a similar sentiment from Chris Moriarty, Managing Director of Leesman. Moriarty was presenting at BIFM’s World FM Day events. He highlighted the need to integrate Facility Management into the value chain.

IFMA also shared some free resources for FM strategic success during the week as part of World FM Day. You will want to check it out.

2. Balancing strategy and not losing sight of the basics


There was a lot of excitement about strategy, changing workplaces and technology during World FM Day. But Mark Eltringham of Workplace Insight notes it’s important not to overlook other aspects of Facility Management.  He highlights in particular the importance of ensuring a smooth and functioning office on a daily basis.

In his article, Eltringham addresses what he calls workplace design and the management elephant. He references an old parable about an elephant and blind men. The parable illustrates that it’s easy for people to describe big things based solely on the parts they come into contact with. Furthermore, they don’t step back to see the bigger picture.

Describing an elephant solely based on an ear, tusk, or trunk doesn’t accurately paint a picture. Likewise, he notes it is easy to get caught up in aspects of Facility Management like design, strategy or technology. This may come at the cost of missing the bigger picture around the day-to-day. As a result, without acknowledging the foundation you can’t appreciate the whole for what it is.

The larger part of the FM “elephant” that Eltringham sees is the functional and maintenance aspect.

The strategic role of the Facility Manager and the focus on enabling productivity to the workplace will continue to garner increased attention. Yet Eltringham’s grounded commentary is a reminder that the basics of FM should also be celebrated. Only then he reminds us, can Facility Managers truly step back to see things for what they are and progress the FM role strategically.

3.Focus remains on People

The theme this World FM Day was “Empowering People to be More Productive”. Even Eltringham could agree that FM basics like workspace function, have employee happiness and people at the core. The push around strategy and empowering productivity in the FM role cements the emphasis on people.

As a result, We saw a number of sessions and seminars on the role of the FM in actually working to empower employees.

Even conversations about the use of technology, are centred around employees and people. For example, smart building technology provides FMs with a tool to empower and engage employees – giving them more control of their workspaces. Facility Managers use these tools in the right context and with the right touch to deliver value.

Andrew Best, Executive Director at Servest drives this point home:

“Technology, Internet of Things (IoT) and applying data into enhancing service will all be key areas of focus for driving innovation in FM. None of this, however, will replace the first fundamental basic of FM of delivering exceptional customer experiences.”

What was best to see though, were the great stories that were shared throughout World FM Day. The appreciation was a reminder of those that remain at the heart of the Facility Management Profession.

Here’s to all the work that FM’s put in, day in and day out!

View more great insights like the one’s we’ve shared from these 10 FM leaders!