In order to manage and assist in any period of change effectively, you need like-minded people in place; indeed, people are central to successful office changes.
The workplace has been evolving and COVID-19 has meant many organisations are rethinking how they use their offices. When changing workspaces and the ways of working in them, it can affect how a building needs managing.
This may include re-configuring workplaces, perhaps creating hubs rather than traditional offices. Flexible spaces may mean areas are going to be used differently and perhaps hybrid working means that footfall will alter, how and when they are used. Whatever new way of working your organisation chooses, it helps to be able to consult with property experts.
New ways of working will potentially lead to new requirements from your facilities provider.
Office Changes Probably Mean FM Service Changes
Our approach to FM services changes for a number of FM customers is to support our clients in a flexible, approachable and collaborative working relationship. RFM Group promotes systems that improve communication and co-operation between the parties, an ‘Early Warning System’ being a good example.
Once a partnering contract commences it is advisable to run a review to identify changes early, specifically related to understanding the effect, outcome and future delivery.
In summary, an effective flexible approach should include:
- Finding the common aims, objectives and goals
- Respect and trusting each other
- Working with a ‘One team’ mindset
- Transparency – providing all partners with open access to all performance and financial information
- Flexibility to ensure that the changing needs of the client and the partnership, and the changing needs of diverse customers are addressed
- Identification of bespoke risks and their management.
Internal Processes for Changing FM Services
The internal processes for dealing with FM Services contract changes should involve all employees that may be affected by any changes. We have found that the sooner we involve employees that are affected by the change, the better we have been able to implement change. It is recommended that FM providers and clients set up a formal communication channel that is more effective for implementing change than a negative informal one.
Implementation Plan when Changing FM Services
Implementation Plan – where FM services changes have been identified in the working environment, workforce or the restructure for services, it is best practice to create an ‘Implementation Plan’. This works like a mini mobilisation plan which helps to guide any change and should include:
- Senior Change Management Team
- Critical milestones
- Levels of authority
- Timescales for changes
- Resource requirements
- Subcontractor commitments
- IT impact
Through close working relationships with Services Managers and Premises Managers an effective property management company will support any changes of use and changes of the estate through their existing central management function and commitment from their supply partners.
Communications Strategy for FM Service Changes
Where change has been identified, it’s critical to develop a communication strategy, which will include both internal and external project teams involved in implementing change.
A communications strategy for FM service changes should include:
- A change/progress statement, referencing the implementation plan
- Any details that affect the progress of the works
- Health and Safety related matters,
- Anticipated costs of variations
- Potential variations and effects on staff
- Forecast change timescales
Continuity of FM Services
It’s important that an organisation is able to keep functioning during a period of change.
To manage continuity of service delivery throughout periods of change, will require:
1. Resource flexibility: having a dedicated team for office fit-out and refurbishments that sits outside of day-to-day FM contracts. Having separate teams for reactive and PPM services prevents impact on FM services.
2. Supply Chain Support: An expert FM provider should have flexible supply chain agreements in place with local subcontractor partners. From these pools of appropriately qualified engineers, they will be able to engage with partners to increase support as required.
3. Agency and Short-Term Resources: As and when required, being able to bring in extra resources at very short notice from approved agencies and also through national staff recruitment vendors can avoid skill gaps and overstretched staff.
4. Shift Working and Flexible Working: One of the best solutions to varying demand patterns and changes in services is the implementation of flexible working patterns and shifts to provide coverage to support either or both operational and estate change.
5. Communication: CAFM Helpdesk should be maintained to support team members during any changes, and even office relocation with:
- Communication updates on the changes
- Continue to provide online and administrative booking of rooms, parking spaces and assets
- Real-time availability
- Auto notification / email alerts
- Booking of Equipment and Services
- Hot desk management
Habinteg Office Move and FM Services
One example of the RFM’s successful business model; consult, build, manage and maintain is our contract with Habinteg Housing Association.
RFM was commissioned through the tender process to build Habinteg a new office at Drighlington, Bradford. While the new works were being carried out, we had to manage:
- A full change of office location
- Full fit-out woodlands park and re-located the staff
- After completion, RFM then undertook the full FM maintenance of the building and incorporated this into our CAFM Helpdesk functionality.
RFM also carry out repairs and maintenance on Habinteg’s Social Housing properties. You can learn more about our partnership with Habinteg here.