Three ways that facilities managers must evolve to remain relevant by Chris Payne

Friday, July 17th, 2015



By Chris Payne, CSS Consultancy ( & FMCC STAG Member as Social Media Coordinator. 16 July 2015.

Along with my colleague David Reynolds, we recently had the opportunity to interview Paul Doherty, President of Digit Group, about the impact of workplace innovation and the future of facilities management. Our interview followed Paul’s webinar on “The Velocity Of Workplace Innovation – Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, Infinite Data”, a copy of which can be found here.

Three ways that facilities managers must evolve to remain relevant


Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

During the webinar, Paul spoke passionately about the challenges and opportunities that the developing real-estate landscape will have on the facilities management industry. With rising interest in smart buildings and supporting smart city infrastructure, the workplace is undergoing significant changes as emerging technologies and standards are impacting on processes and traditional approaches. In our interview, I asked Paul about the things that facilities managers should focus on over the next three to five years to understand these changes and to appreciate the underlying effects on workplace culture and performance. He provided three recommended areas of focus for FMs and for the industry as a whole.

  1. We must realize that FM is being redefined. It’s no longer just about maintenance or the systems that run a building; these things are a given. Where FMs need to challenge themselves now is on the impact of IT and HR on the workplace. For instance, how do you train people to fulfill certain tasks in the workplace? Perhaps now you don’t need to. The building itself can be ‘aligned’ more to technically meet the expected outcomes of the workplace so that it is the buildings and supporting systems that require the training and not the individuals. FM is becoming part of a larger ecosystem that is intertwined with IT and HR. This brings the possibility that a new type of professional entity is required. FM is a great profession and has served us exceptionally well, but buildings will change and adapt, necessitating new skillsets.
  2. Organizations and associations have a part to play in this evolution. Rather than wait for new industry associations to form, existing entities must be prepared to acknowledge change and evolve their focus accordingly. In many respects, this already happens as associations such as IFMA recognize that different countries have different approaches to FM. Through extension of this flexible approach, it is possible to adapt to the requirements of the marketplace and promote good practice to members. Associations are not just about networking, but about identifying and communicating opportunities and threats through conversation, comparisons and collaboration.
  3. As FMs, we need to be aware of change and take into account trends such as smart buildings and smart cities. As a profession, we have the skills to understand the needs of the next generation of the workplace and well placed to lead advances throughout the workplace as opposed to waiting for things to happen to us. We need to make sure that we have a seat at the table.

If you’re interested in listening to the interview with Paul, you can access it at

Bloggers Bio:


 Chris works in a consulting capacity to help facilities management providers embed more efficient ways of working within their delivery contracts. With a strong focus on innovation, he contributes to improvement activities through the development of frameworks, software systems and technology to capture and incorporate new ways of working that saves cost and enhances operations. Based near Glasgow in Scotland, he travels extensively to support an international client base.


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