Workplace Strategy – The Once and Future Higher Calling for FM

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Written by: Michael Schley, Founder of FM:Systems


In 1980, a profession was founded. George Graves, the head of real estate and facilities for Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, convened a meeting of 47 property managers, real estate managers and facility managers in Houston, Texas and the National Facility Management Association was born. A year later the name was changed to the International Facility Management Association or IFMA to accommodate interest from Canada. Today IFMA has over 20,000 members in more than 100 countries.



More Than Maintaining Buildings

One of IFMA’s first actions was to define facility management. The definition, later recorded with the Library of Congress, defined facility management as “the practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of an organization”.

This definition put forth the bold proposition that facility management was about more than maintaining buildings. It called facility managers to a higher purpose, making work, work better.

Today as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, facility managers are once again called to that higher purpose. With remarkable advances in technology and the unexpected mass experience in remote working, organizations are open to new ways of working and new ways of using facilities. The hybrid workplace is expected to be the dominant workplace approach of the future, with employees dividing their work time between offices, working from home and working from “third places” such as co-working centers. After years of wishing for attention by upper management, the workplace and the role of the office is suddenly top of mind for every CEO in the land.

Facility managers can either accept the challenge of leading their organizations into new ways of using workspace, or they can take a reactive role and wait for orders to come down from the top. Leading is better. Happy World FM Day!




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