Proof Facilities Managers Are The Hidden Superheroes of the Workplace

by Mike Petrusky on February 15, 2019

Like any behind the scenes work, it often goes unnoticed when things are smooth sailing, but when rough waters hit they become everyone’s business. Unfortunately, facilities management is used to mainly getting attention when things go wrong, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I sat down with Kate Vitasek and Graham Tier to discuss why workplace management is the most valuable department in your company, and how you hold a power as an FM you may not have known you had. After all, not all superheroes wear capes. 

The Future of IFMA & Elevating Facility Management on the World Stage

Graham Tier | Global Chair of IFMA’s Board of Directors & Head of Property FM at Hong Kong Jockey Club

“Now buildings enable the business to operate. So, we are actually protecting the building operations, we’re protecting the revenue streams to the companies through effective facilities management. And I don’t think we should underestimate the role of the responsibility of facilities management.”

It’s always a joy to find someone so passionate about the future and forecast of facilities management, and Graham Tier is one of those people. As Head of Property Facilities Management at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Global Chair of IFMA’s Board of Directors, he works to elevate the FM profession on a worldwide scale. 

During the podcast, Graham talks about how the building itself is essential, and allows the business to operate. Without a structure, whether it be at a coworking space or a standalone office, things wouldn’t get done. As elementary as this idea may sound, sometimes we forget this fact. Our role within facilities management role is to keep the building operational and adaptive towards the changing needs of the people within it. 

We also discussed the changing landscape of the world of work. As office tenants continue to demand access to data and want more control over aspects of the workspace, it highlights the importance of shifting focus towards enhancing the employee experience. Some other trends he’s noticing are:
  • Internet of Things (IoT)Graham explained this so clearly, as internet being people talking to people while IoT is things talking to things
  • Activity-Based Working (ABW): He’s seen offices completely restructure their environment to fit the changing work needs of their workforce
  • The Shared Economy He believes coworking spaces and technologies used in the shared economy, like Uber, is our modern; “how did we ever live without this” idea
Workplace leaders have this imperative responsibility. We’re expected to enable our business to attract and retain talent, while creating an environment that constantly adjusts to their needs as they change. This is a big role to fill! Luckily Graham reminds us that groups like IFMA and other educational platforms are there to support you on your journey towards becoming an FM superhero. 

Strategic Workplace Partnerships, FM Innovation & ‘The Vested Way’

Kate Vitasek | author, developer of The Vested Way, and educator at The University of Tennessee

“So Vested really is a win-win, I always like to say it’s a “what’s in it for we” model. Because when something is in it for the supplier, I’m not just buying an SLA, a supplier output- but I’m buying the future.”

Kate Vitasek is the creator of The Vested Way, a business model for creating highly collaborative relationships. Also a faculty member and researcher at the University of Tennessee, she has spent much of her career examining behavioral and relational economics, which has given her a strong understanding about how professionals can create win-win business situations. 

We discussed how positive work relationships are the key to a thriving business, and how the workplace manager actually has a unique perspective when it comes to working with outside suppliers that could help foster those connections.  Kate has seen that the most successful work relationships are comprised of these three things: trust, transparency, and compatibility, before they even begin. Workplace leaders are familiar with the needs of their workforce and what to look for when locating suppliers and outside vendors.

Kate also outlined how better outside relationships increase overall revenue. When a company has people invested in doing business with it, and have a positive experience, it increases productivity and employee retention because of the security and positive branding that come as a result. 

“87% of economic value is created by innovation.”

Which means that by improving processes and discovering modern technology and new vendors to do business with, FMs bring even more value to their organization simply by the nature of their work. 

Your ability to cultivate relationships and staying ahead of your workplace’s needs gives you an edge not many departments have. Facilities management is an invaluable part of every company and impacts how they can move forward towards their goals. As workplace leaders you are the eyes and ears of your organization, no one understands it better than you. And that is your superpower. 


Mike Petrusky

Mike Petrusky is host of the “Workplace Innovator Podcast” and Director of Events and Growth Marketing at iOFFICE. He joined iOFFICE in March of 2018 with a mission to energize the company’s live events. He is a dynamic speaker, podcaster, and seasoned marketer who has a passion for sharing iOFFICE’s unique brand of thought leadership to CRE & FM leaders in the digital workplace.

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