Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > the Environment or the environment?

the Environment or the environment?

We focus a lot on the Environment; we have targets to meet, numbers to report on and fines to avoid, all in a good cause. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not knocking it. Far from it because, whilst I am not a full-on Greenie, I have been doing green things from a time when to do so openly was almost career suicide.

The important thing for me though is the environment with a small e, the working environment. From the first day that I had responsibility for a facilities management team I tried to make what we did as a team first and foremost about making the workplace somewhere that people could come to and give their best. Into the bin went the landlord style of scheduled maintenance and instead we spent our money on things that mattered to the people who worked in our buildings.

That focus wasn’t just confined to the fabric and interior of the buildings either; we changed our approach to the grounds as well, again thinking about the working environment and our impact on our neighbours.

Now this all involved spending money, but we actually spent less than had been allocated for our predecessors, mainly by working smarter. Along the way we did a lot of things for the Environment with a big E too, but much of what did there was made a lot easier because we had happier people who saw what we had done for them and were generally more on-side for green initiatives.

Later, when green schemes were common, similar tactics turned around the workforce at a building where there was widespread abuse of, for example, recycling bins; everything was getting put into the nearest bin (if you were lucky, a lot just went onto the floor). These were problems that line management should have resolved, not the FM team, but in nine months we transformed attitudes.

We need to care about the Environment, but FM can make as much as a contribution by caring for the working environment.



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