Blogs & Thoughts

Standing Tall: Why FM is no longer the invisible service

Every year for the past twenty years, the global Facilities Management (FM) community comes together to celebrate the successes and achievements of the industry as part of World FM Day.

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  • Author Stuart Craig
  • Date 11 May 2021
  • Read Time 2 minutes

For those outside the community, this event usually passes by without much note.

This year, however (and not surprisingly), the event has gained greater exposure. The theme, ‘Celebrating FM: standing tall beyond the pandemic,’ recognises the critical, and very visible, role FM plays in the built environment. As the return to the workplace fast approaches, businesses everywhere are considering how to safely manage their future work environments.  

The efforts to keep buildings cleaned, sanitised, maintained, secured, and legally compliant has led to FM staff being officially recognised as ‘key workers’ by the users of those buildings and the public at large. But for those of us working inside the FM bubble, we already recognised the role these staff performed as being ‘key’ to what we do.  

The largely unseen army of back-office staff, managers, technicians, engineers, chefs, porters, cleaners, and security guards, working unsociable hours, usually in unseen locations, has always been the lifeblood of every shiny corporate HQ. It’s only when something goes wrong do the efforts of these talented individuals get thrust into the spotlight.

I have often argued that the mark of a successful FM is not whether things go wrong, but more about how they are handled when they do. Expect the unexpected is the mantra of the astute FM.

Eighteen months ago, no one expected a global pandemic. But when FMs across the nation were under the spotlight, they responded accordingly. Now, as focus shifts to the future, the FM industry must ensure its continued exposure and recognition at the top table. Over the same twenty-year period that there have been World FM Days, there have also been debates about the strategic importance of FM. How should it earn its place in the boardroom as an enabler for change and generating profits, not just for incurring costs?  

The answer: It’s time for FM to stand tall and demonstrate what it can do, not only in times of crisis, but also in times of change. I’m not generally one for celebrating these seemingly endless ‘National this day’ or ‘World that day’. This year, however, I will make an exception for ‘World FM Day’ and for the outstanding efforts of all those in the FM community. 

Stuart Craig, Director of Facilities Management 

Stuart joined SPACE in 2017, having worked for a number of the UK’s leading facilities management organisations. He is a highly experienced consultant with over eighteen years of operational and managerial experience in FM. Stuart and his team advise, support, and deliver FM services to businesses across Scotland. If you’d like to speak with Stuart regarding your current FM, email him at