Over the years, there have been many changes in the way in which facilities management is regarded within retail environments. A common feeling towards facilities management was that once it is brought to our attention, it signifies a problem for example unclean areas, a leak in the ceiling, faulty air conditioning. It is now recognised however, that unlike developers, landlords and architects, Facilities Managers actually work within the building and are best placed to protect the value of an asset during its lifetime.
To work in a Shopping Centre environment you must be multi-faceted in your approach. There are many different stakeholders involved in the management of a shopping centre that one must be able to communicate with and also get the best out of the relationship. These can include; landlord, managing agent, retailers, subcontractors, your immediate team, local authority and emergency services. Successful FM personnel within these environments need to possess ability to adapt their way of working to suit each individual whilst also ensuring that the overall objectives of the centre are achieved.
At Foundation Recruitment, we have started to see a shift in the backgrounds that are being considered for Facilities Management opportunities within Shopping Centres. Traditionally, previous experience in this field or even retail has been a pre-requisite and although now it is a nice to have, some organisations are looking towards Leisure and Hospitality to find talented individuals. There is a greater focus on the experiential side to Shopping Centres which has led to this need of providing a 5*/World Class Service and experience has proven within some organisations that the transition into retail from Leisure and Hospitality can be a successful one. As a consequence individuals within these industries should see an increase in approaches for Facilities Management jobs.
Another recent development for Facilities Management in shopping centres is the emphasis to involve FM’s at the early stages of shopping centre designs, including their construction. This new way of thinking is allowing a Facilities Manager to highlight the ‘People, Place, Potential’ of the scheme, a model which was extensively discussed at the latest BIFM event held in Manchester last week. This PPP approach focuses on the essential need to design our workplaces to ergonomically meet our daily needs and consequently increasing productivity.
Given this development of integrating Facilities Managers at the construction stage of projects, means this also brings about a requirement for adopting a more strategic outlook which the industry has previously been blamed for not providing.