Workplace Management: Aid to the Transformation of business in the Digital Age

Institutions are changing their names, large corporations are recruiting Chief Experience Officers and Chief Workplace Officers and in the world of knowledge work the workplace and workplace management has now taken on a new significance as a tool for enhanced business performance.

Workplace Management isn’t just a name change, it’s a new discipline.

It has its own new language, skills, knowledge demands, concepts and models. Workplace Management provides a fascinating career path for the brightest and most inspired brains from the fields of Human Resources, Facilities Management, Corporate Real Estate, Consumer Management, Operations and IT.

It’s a discipline that transcends traditional organisational boundaries (IT, CRE, FM, HR) to take ownership of the design, delivery and continuous evolution of a total, multi-sensory, multi-faceted employee ‘experience’, that embraces physical, information, social and service environments all fused together to create the conditions under which the maximum value is extracted from every second in the ‘workplace’ wherever and whatever it is. It’s consciously and systematically constructed to support the organisation in achieving its strategic goals whilst recognizing the need for strategic flexibility in an ever-changing world.

To deliver this new discipline will require people who can operate at the highest level within organisations with the skills to inspire and influence and the knowledge to be credible across a wide range of business and technical disciplines.

Business strategy, strategic marketing, information technology, interior design, experience design, service management, organisational and environmental psychology, design thinking, neuroscience, strategic marketing, change management, programme management and workplace strategy are the areas of knowledge this new breed of leaders will possess.

It will need people with the confidence and assurance to operate at senior level and the ability to build alliances against a unified workplace vision.

This is Workplace Management!

And at AWA we recognised the shift back in 2013 when the growing importance of much clearer collaborative communication between the various service silos (IT, HR and FM suppliers) was needed along with the importance of formal dialogues with the business leaders about the use of the workplace as a business tool to consciously link to business strategy.

In 2013 one of our founders, Dr Graham Jervis published a book called “Moving On….. FM to Workplace Management” to describe what he saw as a shift. This book described a framework of 10 management processes and some 300 best practices that would prepare organisations to address the major changes in the world of work that were already affecting us.

Graham’s book was to be the forerunner of “The Workplace Management Framework”, a co-operative endeavour to define ‘what good looked like’ in the management of the workplace involving leading figures from the UK from all sides of the UK ‘workplace’ and Facilities Management industry. Participants included Lucy Jeynes, Deborah Rowland, Raj Krishnamurthy, Darren Shiels, Dave Wilson, Martin Leitch, Neil Webster all of whom gave their time and their knowledge.

After 14 iterations of the document over 14 months, in 2014 The Workplace Management Framework was published as an ‘open standard’ a free to download. It was created to provide a new and clear aiming point for all those leaders seeking an evolution to the new discipline of Workplace Management and it was contributed as a tool to help leaders change their world of work. To date more than 2100 copies have been downloaded by workplace consultants and workplace professionals on all sides of the industry from across 64 countries.

In 2018 IFMA (The International Facilities Management Association) adopted The Workplace Management Framework and we will be working with them this year to provide training to their members across the world.

In future blogs we’ll discuss each of the 10 competencies that make up the Workplace Management Framework and their inter-relationship with organisational and human performance. Click here to read the next blog about strategic management.

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