Facility managers are no longer the ones that only change the light bulbs or make sure the toilets are clean. FM has grown up and is creating a work environment that supports its users to be able to work productively. Lara Paemen, Director of IFMA Europe, who recently spoke at Property Technology Forum Europe in Warsaw, talked to Property Forum about new trends in facility management.
What are the three biggest trends driving facility management in Europe right now?
Wellbeing, digitalisation and facility management on a strategic level.
Which areas and processes are in most dire need of innovation?
I believe that the inclusion of FM in general in the built environment is necessary. Considering FM as an equal partner and not only seeing it as a pure operational service is absolutely crucial. Facility managers are no longer the ones that only change the light bulbs or make sure the toilets are clean. FM has grown up and is creating a work environment that supports its users to be able to work productively in a comfortable environment but also helps in achieving the strategic goals of the organisation. It is an evolution we see happening in the Nordics and Western Europe and slowly finds its way to other parts of Europe. The innovation for me lies in the vision towards FM in the eyes and minds of the other stakeholders in the built environment.
Lara is the European Director for IFMA In this role, she is the link between IFMA’s HQ in the US and IFMA’s European Chapters and a member of the European Advisory Board. Before joining IFMA, she acquired 17 years of experience as a Strategic Workplace Consultant and Change manager at MCS, AOS/Colliers and for several international FM consultancy firms working on missions in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, UK, and Serbia. More »
Is it more difficult to apply new technologies in older buildings? What can owners do to keep up?
First of all, it is not a race. An organisation needs to identify what technology is useful for them and what they will do with it. That applies for new buildings as well as for older buildings. Depending on the technology it can in some cases be technically more of a challenge to install things in an older building. But again, it all depends on what advantages (financially, in terms of management, wellbeing, etc.) the technology can offer to the organization.
Could you highlight some examples of technologies that simplify the job of facility managers?
A good example of technology that helps the work of the facility manager is sensors in the work environment. It gives the facility manager objective figures on the current situation in and around the work environment. This will help him to communicate in an effective and objective way to users and C-level.
How has digitisation impacted your career so far?
As I am travelling a lot, visiting many organizations and participating at events all over Europe, so I can see the impact that technology has on organizations increasing rapidly. Because of technology evolving so quickly, we also have better and quicker access to different types of technology. The challenge is to find the right technology that suits your purpose.
On a personal level, I am the living model of a ‘nomad’, with no office and teams all over Europe and the US. So I am working in a ‘virtual and digitalised’ world on a day to day basis.