Facility Management as a discipline, is about much more than managing buildings and services. It is critical to how every organisation functions successfully. A person responsible for delivering FM services is a vital business partner in any organisation. We have taken the opportunity to ask Switzerland-based, Stefan Roost MRICS Account Manager DACH / RCIS about the importance of his role within CISCO.
During my studies in Construction Process management, we were introduced to the importance of the lifecycle of a building. In my early role as a construction project manager I saw that the occupation phase of a building was often secondary to the construction phase and as the need for an FM concept became apparent, I took the initiative.
As mentioned earlier, the lifecycle of a building was part of my initial studies in Construction Process Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Brugg. Later I completed a MAS in Real Estate Economics at CUREM, University of Zürich, where, again, building occupancy and FM were part of the curriculum.
FM offers a huge variety of roles and great career opportunities. The common theme is people plus a strong interest in service delivery. FM is a people business and always orientated towards optimum delivery of services to support people in their work and subsequently supporting organisations in successfully delivering their products to the market.
There are many ways of entering FM. The two main paths are entering from the operational side, with a deep knowledge and clear focus on operations and delivery or alternatively, coming to FM from a more strategic perspective. Maybe from a business studies background and then someone can develop their knowledge of operations as they gain experience in the sector. However, there are many FM professionals coming in from different backgrounds. Main reason being: the very diverse requirements and services within FM.
In a nutshell: by delivering the services requested to the different people and sites at the right time and within budget. Not forgetting going that “extra mile” when required by the business. Exploring this in more detail: FM works directly with the major assets of a company - its people and its real estate - to maximise the investment in both. With people we support wellbeing, workplace management and often EHS (Environment, Health and Safety).
In a normal working week, we spend 24% of our time at work. To me it is obvious, that the working environment has a profound impact on our well-being and with that on our productivity. This is clearly supported by the fact that few companies now neglect the importance of providing an attractive and productive working environment. With Real Estate, FM’s role relates to maximising the use of space as a resource through lifecycle planning, the well-being and productivity aspect of workplaces and portfolio optimisation.
FM is a people business and always orientated towards optimum delivery of services to support people in their work and subsequently supporting organisations in successfully delivering their products to the market.
In a corporate context, all real estate serves a purpose. Planning and constructing these assets with the use and the user in mind is paramount. In the fit-out, the asset is prepared for use by installing everything that supports the processes that will take place there - this could be, for example, the production of semiconductors or the provision of high-end consulting services. In the fit-out phases, Facilities Management provides insight and guidance regarding all the requirements there are for good real estate operations.
As the world is constantly changing, all aspects of a business need to adapt as well. The real estate portfolio of a corporate occupier is therefore no different. So, adapting to new situations, whether triggered by economic or operational reasons are also part of FM work. Our ambition as FM professionals within an organisation is to apply the same level of strategic planning and tactical delivery as other parts of the business – and this always aligned with and in support of the overall business strategy. Just as other supporting functions used to be a “poor relation” and rarely invited into the Board room in discussions of strategy, FM is also winning a seat at the top table as organisations understand the importance of their people and buildings in their businesses performance. Together we create success.
We have always had a good working relationship with IFMA as we have the same ambitions to professionalise and support the FM agenda within Switzerland. Working together we will always achieve more than working separately. We are currently planning an event to raise awareness of the Strategic FM Framework document, produced as a collaboration between IFMA and RICS and published in April 2018. We believe there will be interest amongst FM professionals in Switzerland who want to help raise the issue of how they can contribute to the businesses they support at a strategic level. FM is no longer Cinderella and should be invited to the ball.
FM works directly with the major assets of a company - its people and its real estate - to maximise the investment in both.
Mary Ann Reynolds
Country Manager - Switzerland
Mary Ann Reynolds FRICS is the Country Manager for Switzerland. This role follows a career as a Chartered Surveyor specialising in Planning and Development work for Savills in the UK. Mary Ann was elected a Fellow in 1996.