In the days of the Wild West, cowboys were reliant on each other, much like a team, while still retaining their individuality and autonomy. Every herdsman had their specific job, and the success of the entire team depended upon each members’ commitment to the group and it’s overarching goals. One hand’s role was to tend to the horses, while another cut cattle from the herd, and yet another roped them. Communication, cooperation and trust were what guided them to success.
That same ethos of cowboy teamwork can be applied to the modern Facilities Manager, as they are constantly organizing, driving and delivering their product to their clients. It’s true that the facilities manager’s role has evolved dramatically over the years; technology advances, new opportunities arise daily, further expanding their responsibilities. But, one thing that has remained constant through it all, is the need to serve their people. This need is the reason for FM teams to build solid relationships with department heads across the organization, listening to their people’s demands.
Much like the Cowboys of the old days, the workspace manager’s success is reliant on their ability to collaborate with every member of the organization. While it may seem that theirs is a one-man position, effective FMs have always had to “get together for the roundup”, working with department heads, the executives upstairs, and outside vendors. Their role is to ensure everyone has the tools they need to be successful; and there is no better way to accomplish this goal than through collaborating, listening and putting into action.
This is a unique time for workspace managers, as they are faced with multiple challenges which evolve and change at an exponential rate. Our workforce is comprised of a wide range of personality types, each with their own unique views on how an organization should be run and how workspaces should be set up to maximize on creativity, inspiration and, in turn, productivity. Millennials are entering the workforce at a rapid pace, while many of the Baby Boomers are preparing to exit, moving on to the next chapter of their lives. It is the role of today’s FM to ensure the “newer” generation of worker’s needs are being met, while remaining sensitive to the “older” generation that remains. The trick is to ensure that each individual’s needs are met in a manner that brings the entire workforce together, rather than alienating any one person.
Many facilities are finding that an office redesign, of both space and tools, is necessary for measured success. And technological advances over the last decade have brought mobility into the equation, further complicating the FM’s job. Today’s worker is on the go and needs to be able to work not only from the office, but from home, the car and the airport. And they have shown that if they are not set up with the proper tools to ensure success, they will seek out other opportunities.
The most effective way to implement a successful redesign is to consult those that are entrenched in the day to day activities of the facility. Find out what is working, what is not, and what suggestions the entire team have to remedy and roadblocks. After all, they are the ones that must use these tools day in and day out; and their success depends upon it. Aside from the obvious gains, you also show your colleagues you are genuinely interested in their input, building trust for future collaboration. Your efforts will also set the precedent, encouraging collaborative relationships across the entire facility.
In your role as a workspace manager, you likely spend much of your day roping and guiding the strays back to the herd. Since your primary focus is to meet the demands of your customers, building solid relationships across the organization is key. By consulting with the various departments, you let your colleagues know your FM team is a valuable resource. They will be more likely so share information with you regarding the people you serve and how best to avoid these roadblocks before they become an issue. Not only are you enhancing your job, you are enhancing theirs as well.