BIFM's Blog

The latest blogs from BIFM, and from guest bloggers, and all things facilities and beyond.

The Productivity Debate and FM's role in it. By James Sutton, BIFM CEO

16-02-16, 17:01

"When scouring the national headlines around the current debate on the 'productivity puzzle' we find next to no mention of the role of the workplace and facilities in delivering upon the productivity promise. The debate is trying to unpick the UK's productivity issues; the latest reports show the gap between the UK and the rest of the G7 widening and now at its greatest since records began (1991) with only Japan below us. Debates on labour productivity in the national press focus on talent, infrastructure, economic balances and new growth sectors and geographic distribution but little coverage of the workplace and facilities environment to foster productivity.†††

Facilities are there to do exactly that 'facilitate' the businesses that they are there for. Forward thinking businesses realise this and leverage their facilities as part of their business strategy and go far beyond the basics. This is arguably much easier when you are a large organisation with the ability to invest substantially in your workplace and facilities, or have a specific team leading this, however many smaller businesses may struggle both with understanding the opportunity and how to do it.†

The debate amongst the FM media is alive and well but how do we take the insight of the facilities management profession and convey its contribution in terms of value to organisational performance to the wider business community. Ultimately our primary audience is business leaders; business leaders need to understand how through leveraging their facilities and workplaces as part of a coordinated business strategy they can unleash the untapped potential in their business and raise their productivity levels to meet their strategic objectives.

This has been the impetus behind the evolution you see in two of our flagship programmes to champion our profession and challenge and drive forward the latest thinking, our annual conference, ThinkFM and our Awards. Our Awards focus on the impact of FM on business and society; FM impacts business performance in a multitude of ways from affecting the brand perception and representation of an organisation, the experience that customers have when engaging with a business, or through a workplace that enables the business to release more of their human capital potential, ultimately we are all working to contribute towards the performance of the organisations we work for. This year we've introduced a new category to recognise and identify those very initiatives that can be demonstrably linked to delivering improvements in performance in their organisation's top level business metrics. The new category is Impact on Organisational Performance.†
ThinkFM, our annual conference, has evolved, since 2014 we've switched our focus, drilling into FM's impact. In 2014 we launched the new format with a broad programme on FM's role in business, the economy and society; in 2015 we focussed on business performance with gaining competitive advantage through the workplace and this year the theme is ThinkFM: Think Productivity focusing on FM's role in business performance and the economy to facilitate productivity levels.
This year you will also see the productivity theme across the year in FM World as we tackle key issues, questions and showcase great case studies.

Every organisation faces its own challenges, circumstances and internal struggles, but universally all face the same key questions, how do we create value for our chosen market and how do we do this most efficiently.

Join us in the debate online and at ThinkFM and bring forward your examples of how FM makes a difference both through the Awards or our magazine features. Let's raise FM's business and economic profile. "

This is a key reason why 'productivity' is set to be a central theme for BIFM throughout 2016. Productivity is also at the heart of our ThinkFM conference this May, which takes place in London and online. Over the coming months you'll see more discussion as we consider the productivity debate and FM's role in it.

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