Do you remember this? The Juggler. A hilarious take on life as an FM’er. And as the man says, it isn’t that FM is difficult, it’s just that you need to wear a lot of hats.
The characteristics that make a great facilities manager haven’t changed a great deal over the years, you still need to be able to multi-task, organise, delegate and make hard decisions that make the difference between meeting contract KPIs, or falling short – whilst wearing a lot of hats.
The biggest change is you now need the ability to bring technology in as a core element of service delivery. And if you’re a creative thinker with a penchant for taking things to the next level, you might even end up defining the shape of FM technology to come.
Here’s three ways that technology has changed FM as a career (and being able to juggle isn’t a prerequisite):
1 Operating at the sharp end
Years ago, as highlighted in this video, FM managers were dogged by paperwork and inefficient working practices, but things have come a long way since then.
Thanks to facilities management software that can be integrated across all department systems, for example HR tools or building planning applications, an FM manager can have access to the same data and work to the same service level goals as every other head of department.
With advanced technology at your fingertips, it has become much easier to influence positive customer delivery and stand out as a beacon of progress. You want recognition, you’ve got it.
2 Smart Buildings
Facilities management, before the rise of modern technology, could be extremely frustrating. For example, if somebody left a light on, it wasted electricity or if somebody forgot to lock a door, security was compromised. This necessitated a need for regular building patrols, checking every light and lock.
Human error and unpredictability led to huge amounts of inefficiency and extra work for people working in FM. Thankfully, smart sensors and the increased interconnectivity of everything is proving to be a game changer.
Individual systems like heating, lighting and security are now linked and can be controlled autonomously. Lights stay off until triggered by a movement sensor, heating is programmed to remain within certain limits and if a door that should be locked is opened, you’ll be sent a notification direct to your phone. Clever stuff.
3 Agility and mobility
FM is not your average 9-5, you need to know everything that’s going on in the building, and that used to mean having to be everywhere at once. If there was a problem on the first floor you’d have to go and investigate, then come back to your office to phone a contractor and then investigate the next issue.
New technology like mobile messaging apps, Cloud-computing, Wi-Fi and video calling has meant a fundamental shift in the ways that facilities managers manage service delivery – carrying out tasks, irrespective of where you are.
The rise of specialised facilities management solutions like Servicetrac has taken this a step further and now most FM tasks can be achieved on the go. Now you can view photos of a maintenance issue on the top floor, call out a contractor, update your itinerary and budget on your mobile device; all whilst you’re having a conversation about another matter on the bottom floor.
FM as a 21st century career
Technology has undoubtedly increased our ability to plan, maintain and manage buildings, but the challenges that FM professionals face has evolved too – it isn’t just repairs and upkeep, it’s now sustainability, security, managing customer relationships and IT too.
What hasn’t changed, is that FM is still an extremely satisfying career choice for anybody that’s interested in problem-solving and tackling new challenges every day. Perfect for anybody that enjoys wearing lots of different hats. Learn more about Timegate & Servicetrac or find out more about Innovise Software.