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In a change to our advertised programme…

In a change to our advertised programme this morning we bring you some random musings.

The holiday humour stories are always written well in advance unlike the regular musings that are often written late on Sunday evening. The two that I had ready for today and next Monday I wrote back in the Spring whilst in China, but the first I had no heart in using after events in Glasgow last week and the other I don’t feel is appropriate either whilst the search for the missing AirAsia flight is ongoing.

Not that I am getting all PC here; I’m not, but whilst a little black humour helps and all professions have their own varieties, what goes on behind closed doors between people who know each other is fine, there is the matter of good taste in a story intended for general public consumption.

So it’s Monday morning and here I am on the sofa with my tablet trying to write something whilst my cat tries to assist.

Cat picture

Tilly in helpful mode.

One thing that has grabbed my attention over the weekend was a piece in the paper about businesses going rural and it got me thinking about the impact that might have on facilities managers.

Over the last five or six years I have worked with a number of businesses that have their offices on old airfields, in barn conversions or old country houses out in the middle of nowhere. They have a benefit in terms of usually generous car parking, but often lack much in the way of local amenities. The airfield sites tend to have a cafe in the old mess hall, but unless some local entrepreneur has established a sandwich van round you need to bring your own supplies in most cases and there does tend to be a bit of a frontier spirit amongst the people who work in these places that takes be back forty years or so.

Expectations in urban or city offices these days are so much higher and part of that comes from demand; their will always be an element of pull from the users, but there has also been a lot of push from the FM side in making things better for occupiers than it ever was under the old style of landlord based property management.

Much of it has been subtle change, but the overall impact shows up in well managed buildings that work well and have effective services to support them. On top of that has come the impact of health, safety and environmental awareness and whilst I still decry some of the excesses in these areas they have brought beneficial change.

But out in the sticks these factors bring new challenges; even if you achieved full car pooling there is still an issue with transporting your team into the back of beyond. How do you address keeping your team fed and watered? There may be a huge benefit in terms of lower costs,  clean air and nice views and in making good use of buildings that may otherwise have fallen into disuse and  am all for that: I am a country boy first and last.  Whilst bad weather disrupts towns and cities it paralyses rural areas; five years ago I was working for a company on a project at their site on a former RAF base. Getting up one morning to a winter wonderland scene I headed in to find that I was one of only three, out of around fifty, people to have made it to the office. Another factor is recruitment. One of my clients moved an old farm house, but within two years had moved back into an urban business park because of problems with retaining people and recruiting replacements.

It is an interesting debate, for rural sites can be had for a fraction of the cost per square metre that you will pay in an office block somewhere, but as with every action there I started with words from broadcast media and will pinch another phrase from that to finish: where would you rather work? Answers on a postcard please.


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