We're told it's better to make adjustments before they're needed, also known as anticipating an issue before it becomes a real problem. But what if you're trying to understand the needs of an entire organization, plus its building, before they may know what they need? Being one step ahead in workplace management can be a tough task, especially when your target is constantly moving. I sat down with two leaders in CRE and FM, Cameron Christensen and Razia Ferdousi-Meyer, to uncover how they meet the current and future needs of their workforce and prepare their workplaces for the anticipated next step.
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Cameron Christensen | CEFP, FMP of The Julliard School
"Lifecycles of facilities and assets and major systems is getting shorter. It is going to require us to be even sharper when it comes to our re-capitalization and long-term capital needs planning."
Cameron Christensen is the Associate Vice President of Facilities Management at the renown Julliard School in New York City. He is also the author of a new book titled, "Building T.E.A.M.S.: A Guide to Capital Needs Analysis" that was inspired by his late father, who was highly regarded in the facilities management industry, and encouraged Cameron's pursuit in this line of work.
After going to school for FM, Cameron learned early on the key to being a successful workplace leader was in cultivating relationships with other people. We discuss during the podcast how even with all of the technology surrounding us, the human touch in the workplace is still so important. Understanding people and how they work is the first step to getting an idea of what they need.
Cameron talks about how some workplace managers believe implementing workplace technology is the final solution to their problem. And in reality, it's just the beginning. The data that comes from that technology becomes a foundation of information, which eventually becomes knowledge, and that knowledge then becomes understanding. With this newfound understanding, workplace leaders can then begin to make wiser decisions about the needs of the people they serve. Cameron shared a quote with us his father used to tell him repeatedly,
"Facilities management is people management, and we bring the buildings along for laughs."
And when it comes to anticipating people's needs in the workplace so they have a better work experience, we couldn't agree more.
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Razia Ferdousi-Mayer | Global Leader of Real Estate and Business Administration at Ankura
"I believe in healthy and happy employees. They will help with retention, they will help with growth, they will help with just teamwork - together. So invite the change, test it out, and if it doesn't work, try again."
Razia has quite an interesting background, coming from the luxury hospitality industry and armed with an education in computer science, she worked her way up to her current role as the Managing Director and Global Leader of Real Estate & Business Administration for Ankura. Razia now leverages that hospitality background to create workspaces that support the vision and future needs of her organization.
We discuss that trends in workplace management change so rapidly, and how embracing change is just part of the game. To keep a workplace modern and efficient change is going to be necessary, but workplace managers have the power to only adopt the changes that benefit the workforce. Making diversity, inclusion and workplace wellness priorities every company should adopt. But when it comes to the additional amenities like what types of workstations to include, or which technology to implement, FMs should put their ears to the ground.
Razia believes that the best solution for anticipating the needs of your workforce is by simply listening to what they are asking for. While unrealistic requests are to be expected, it's the job of the workplace manager to see between the lines. When they ask for nap rooms, what might they actually be in need of? Maybe quiet, private workstations would be beneficial.
Staying ahead of your workforce's needs requires a certain level of openness to hearing others and creating lines of open communication. If you continue to foster relationships and ask the right questions, your workforce will tell you what they want to see at work, today and tomorrow.