How Facilities Managers could be key in getting your people back to business

As organisations look to return to the workplace, some workers will return to much-changed office life. While others may wish to remain working at home. It’s up to business leaders to make the right decisions. And right now, your Facilities Manager could prove invaluable.

But what will the office look like? Very different from how it was before, as social distancing and new hygiene practices are introduced. Both your business and your people will need to adapt to new ways of working.

In this article we’ll discuss how business leaders and Facilities Managers can ensure business continuity, and learn about the people-first approach of Eversheds.

What is the challenge?

When it comes to ensuring business continuity, the challenge each element of your organisation faces is slightly different and should be looked on as an opportunity to reimagine, and drive digital transformation.

The challenge for business leaders

Business leaders have to ensure that each decision they make empowers their people. Yet they also need to adhere to the latest guidelines to protect them.

Your people are your most valuable asset. Make them your priority by enabling them to work in a style that suits them. Do this and you’ll be on the right path to success.

The challenge for HR departments

HR departments need to provide support that’s appropriate for your workforce – no matter what shape it takes. It’s likely that many employees will value the choice of whether to return to the workplace or work remotely. And these expectations need to be managed carefully. Giving consideration to the needs of your employees and your business, as well as the technology required to effectively support this.

The challenge for IT teams

Having a smart digital infrastructure will not only sustain business continuity. It can also provide a performance advantage to drive growth and profitability.

No doubt this is something your own IT teams already have a lot of experience in. Especially after the past few months. But the challenge is set to become even more complex when some of your workforce returns to the office.

The challenge for your Facilities Manager

Your Facilities Manager can play a vital role in addressing the challenges your organisation will face, offering support to your teams from a central position.

It is their challenge to act as the focal point for your HR, IT and leadership teams, overseeing both process and progress to ensure everyone is working effectively towards the same collective goal.

How can my business tackle these challenges?

Reimagining and driving digital transformation all starts with creating a solid plan of action based on the needs of your organisation and – most importantly – your people.

Your strategy must take into your people’s working environments, and the processes and technology they will need to work effectively. Get this right, and you could reap significant performance and productivity benefits. 

What is the role of a Facilities Manager?

It might feel like there are a lot of different spinning plates when it comes to ensuring business continuity. But using the expertise and knowledge of a Facilities Manager will keep things on track and under control.

They are the glue that can bring together all the individual teams in your business as they work towards your collective goal – which is why they’ve become a pivotal player in the leadership team.

And just as importantly, they can be the single point of contact for both your IT and HR teams, which allows them to drive the culture shift and create the sense of community that your people need for success.

What does this look like in practice?

Let’s take a look at an example business case study from one of the world’s leading organisations when it comes to a people-first approach – Eversheds

Eversheds is a large legal firm that is a little different to most. They see every client for their unique challenges and circumstances, which is vital to their success. By gaining this insight and truly understanding who they are working with, they can mould and adapt their services and delivery to meet their client’s exact needs.

But this approach all began within their own structure.

A key part of how their business runs is the central role their Property and Facilities team undertakes. Among their core responsibilities is the management of all the content and services required to provide their people with an agile, safe and secure working environment they need to perform.

This creates a platform that allows for the flexibility and support required to empower their people to deliver on their company ethos across the globe

Choosing our own ‘new normal’

At the end of the day, we are in control of how we move forwards. We’re approaching another time of significant change – one that will resonate for years to come. While it’s natural to hesitate and feel anxious, we can also see this is an opportunity to enact positive change.

Some of the world’s leading organisations have already offered their people the choice. “Return to the office or continue working from home – it’s up to you.” They can do this because they have the right technology and processes in place. It makes no real difference to the business, it just benefits their people.

Evidence has long shown that remote workers often have higher productivity and job satisfaction. This could be your chance to empower your people, remove their anxieties, and enhance productivity all at once.

So, how should organisations approach the future?

Look ahead to how your people can enjoy the very best working experience moving forwards – this is a task for all areas of the organisation from Facilities Managers, to HR departments, to business leaders.

But don’t expect to find a quick and easy solution. Take each day as it comes, gaining regular feedback from them and see every obstacle as an opportunity for improvement.

Facilities manager with laptop

Facilities management

Facilities Managers have always been focused on the efficient and effective delivery of support services for the organisation they serve. In the current circumstances, this has never been more important.

In the face of new challenges, it’s the Facilities Management team that is best placed to respond. They are best able to navigate the practical elements of implementing safety, efficiency, and continuity in the workplace and beyond. Ensuring people feel safe and understood during their return and have had the opportunity to offer their input. This means putting people at the forefront of your thinking as you consider the business strategy of returning to work.

HR departments

As working practices transition once more, it’s important that your people are empowered to make the decisions. This means you need to put in place the right support networks.

This isn’t just about listening and providing assistance where it’s needed. It’s about proactively showing that your people are at the forefront of every business decision. This will help reassure them that whatever the future looks like, they are very much part of it.

Business leaders

If you discover that your people want to continue working from home. You need to ensure you’ve got the processes and infrastructure required to support them.

This means the implementation of cloud technologies, the latest collaboration tools, and any necessary hardware for each individual.

If you need help with identifying exactly what your business needs to empower your staff, work with a people-first partner like Ricoh – we’ll work alongside you to build the perfect package for your organisation.


Please visit our Work Together, Anywhere Webinar Series page to access the webinar recording


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Simone Fenton-Jarvis

Workplace Consultancy Development Director at Ricoh UK & Ireland

Read all articles by Simone Fenton-Jarvis