With staff welfare emerging as an increasingly important factor to consider within FM delivery, PFM looks at how this can lead to increased focus on risk management.
The thoughts of REAMS Technical Manager, Mike Powell provide us with some helpful advice in this area:
“Wellbeing is a fundamental part of our risk management and an increasingly relevant and necessary consideration in the modern workplace.” From an organisational point of view, employee wellbeing is a major factor in quality, performance, productivity and therefore business effectiveness and profit, he continues.
“Having the right people healthy, and in the right mind set, at work can significantly reduce risks on all fronts. Where a person's wellbeing reduces, so typically does their performance and effectiveness. People can function better, and are happier, without their background health issues being a worry.
“For us, the past has shown that when our workforce suffers, our core outputs decline if we do not have the wellbeing of our team in focus. With this in mind, we have always strived to promote health awareness across the business using team meetings and with toolbox talks.”
This shows the importance of communication in all areas and it is highly relevant that the best FMs are typically excellent communicators. This usually includes the art of diplomacy on a number of levels, with the FM often regarded as a mediator between different internal departments and/or external service providers.
Mr Powell’s thoughts provide further consideration within this, as he believes that leadership is essential to improving the health and safety culture across an organisation from the top to the bottom.
“With flexible working growing in popularity and technological advances, employees tend to find it harder to switch off and feel obligated to work when ill, as they can work from anywhere there is an internet connection. Highly engaged employees can often work too many hours and fall ill due to stress or burnout and FM employers need to tackle this in order to reduce business risks,” he says.
“Ensuring buildings and their assets are well maintained helps to ensure the optimum working environment for employees. Temperature, lighting and noise can all significantly affect day to day wellbeing and planned fabric maintenance reduces business continuity risks,” Mr Powell concludes.
With the role of the FM continuing to increase in its diversity, the task of managing risk is a constant factor within every aspect of their many areas of focus. Despite the growing number of requirements, it can be clearly seen that it is essential for all elements of risk management and health and safety to be established as a constant factor to avoid any dilution of their importance in contributing to the effective running of facilities of all types and sizes.