The Long Road To Workplace Management

It is interesting how ideas can spread. Some happen rapidly when something new goes viral on social networks. Other ideas take years to develop when those ideas are novel views on how organisations work and organise themselves when the future is so unpredictable. No surprise there. But, when a number of trends in the working lives of people, the nature of work and changes in technology converge, organisations start to shift their thinking.

We are at the early stages of this with Workplace Management and Facilities Management. Are there clear differences? If so, how are those difference articulated? What do the differences mean to the skills required to take on the internal challenges, politics and associated changes in the business world and professional bodies.

AWA started in 1993 benchmarking Facilities Management best practices used by organisations. This resulted in the formation of a baseline for the delivery of excellence in Facilities Management. Our consultancy assignments further enhanced our thinking in the management aspects associated with delivery of Facilities Management and a growing realisation that the most forward thinking clients were shifting the emphasis from seeing Facilities Management as just about “buildings” to being about supporting the working environment. It was also clear that IT were active in codifying the management of IT services as a means of improving quality and bodies such as EFQM were also establishing international quality management frameworks for entire organisations.

The time seemed right for taking these ideas to create a quality management framework to extend FM from being great in the delivery of cost effective buildings to being core to business success.

In 2013 I published a book “Moving on…FM to Workplace Management” which encapsulated our thinking at that time. The book outlined a framework of management capabilities and listed many Top Tips for improving management performance by taking on some of the best features of the IT and EFQM models.

The book created further interest and working with a group of senior Facilities Management managers and Facilities Management service suppliers, Andrew Mawson and I took this further to create what was to become “The Workplace Management Framework”, published in 2014 by the Workplace Management Foundation. The Top Tips from my book were enhanced and developed into an online management assessment tool to assist organisations in developing their own plans to improve their Workplace and FM management capability.

The Framework has now been downloaded from the www.wmframework.com site and the IFMA Knowledge library site nearly 2000 times and it is clear that there is widespread interest. Its success however will ultimately rest with a shift from enthusiastic interest to managers using it to “Move” their organisations “On”.