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Shifting perceptions in FM

Shifting perceptions in FM
2 December 2019
Author: Jeff Flanagan


I’ve been in the UK Facilities Management (FM) industry for over 20 years. The biggest change I’ve seen in this time is the shift in perceptions of service providers solely being a part of the supply chain to now being recognised as a strategic partner. This has been achieved through better understanding of the value that facilities management can bring to businesses.

Global FM’s Market Report 2018 found that the UK has the largest outsourced FM market in Europe[1]. It is also the most mature. As growth has gradually slowed, service providers are looking beyond traditional service delivery to demonstrate how the industry adds strategic value to businesses, widening the breadth and depth of capabilities. 

This is especially true for property and estates customers, who are increasingly looking for solutions to deal with socio-economic pressures such as rising property and utilities costs, the challenge of reducing carbon emissions, and the changing needs of end-users. 


In response, the FM industry has been developing its offer to support business’ strategic objectives. At Interserve, we believe that adopting a strategic approach to service delivery enables customers to get the most out of their FM contracts. 

The corporate battle to attract talent coupled with increasing operational costs leads businesses to squeeze more from their physical assets. Identifying this early on, we commissioned research to understand the science behind how businesses can make buildings and spaces work harder for them, while supporting employees to be more productive. This led to five research papers, four key findings and six practical steps


As technological and social trends continue to drive change in the way that we work, we’re supporting customers to recognise the value that can maximise, or mar, employee and business performance. 

Taking the key findings and practical steps into our own business, our regional headquarters in Birmingham – Ingenuity House – is being guided by our research series. We’re not only ensuring that our teams are able to deliver an exceptional service for customers, but are also creating a live environment where we can continue to test, evaluate and shape the future of the workplace. 


We’ve also expanded our service offering to include more expert services such as customer experience practitioners, energy management, space optimisation, IT solutions and sustainability initiatives. Our expertise in these areas better support our customers to achieve their own ESG targets, enhance the working environment for employees, improve customer and employee retention and reduce costs. 

Understanding the link between the built environment and user behaviour and productivity requires a shift of mindset by both FM providers and customers. We have the necessary tools at our disposal and are putting them into practice. Doing so is ultimately driving benefits for customers and the industry as a whole.

[1] Global FM Market Report 2018, page 40


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