FM managers focused on improving employees’ quality of life, research shows

3352_World FM Day_A4Facilities managers are increasingly focused on improving quality of life in the workplace and are looking to integrated services to achieve their outsourcing needs, according to new research from Sodexo and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published on World FM Day.

The survey of international FM professionals from among Sodexo and RICS contacts sought to uncover attitudes of those working in the field, revealing how FM is increasingly becoming a strategic management discipline crucial in helping increase organisations’ productivity and wellbeing.

The majority of those questioned (61%) said that improving the workplace environment and employee well-being would have a high impact on their organisation over the next two years. According to those surveyed, improving the workplace environment can enhance social interactions among colleagues (cited by 30% of respondents), improve ease and efficiency in daily tasks (22%) and promote a positive impact on health and wellbeing (22%). These are three of the six dimensions of quality of life identified by Sodexo as where its services can have the greatest impact.

The survey also sought to understand FM professionals’ strategy with regards to outsourcing of services. Currently 94% of FM professionals outsource some or all of their services, with 37% using single service outsourcing, 34% bundled services and 23% integrated.

When asked about future intentions, nearly a third (30%) said they were planning to integrate their service outsourcing in future, vs 28% for bundled services and 25% for single services, which suggests a trend towards integrated services. When asked about the biggest advantages of integrated or bundled outsourcing, those questioned cited cost efficiencies (75%) and the creation of a single point of contact for customers (68%), which can eliminate complex supply chain administration and helps to avoid the duplication of management systems.

The trend is fairly consistent across demographics, though planning to use integrated services in the future is particularly prevalent among respondents in the corporate sector, favoured by two fifths (41%), compared to a quarter of FM professionals in the industrial sector (26%) and other organisations (24%).

Neil Murray, managing director of Sodexo Corporate Services UK and Ireland, “Improving quality of life, which is the heart of Sodexo’s mission, is increasingly recognised as a top priority in organisations. This new research very much reflects what our clients are telling us; that the marketplace is looking for strategic IFM partners who can provide workplace environments where employees feel engaged, safe, healthy, happy and productive.

Ian Mills, SVP in charge of Sodexo’s global FM platform, said, “This research has really shed light on the importance of professionalising facilities management and highlights the fact that many companies are moving to implement robust industry standards and best practice in their FM planning strategies.”

Paul Bagust, director, Facilities Management Professional Group at RICS, said, “This research presents some really interesting findings for us, particularly for the future of FM and its relevance on a global scale. As the findings show, businesses planning their outsourcing – an integral area of FM – are increasingly placing the importance on the quality of the services they procure over cost reduction. The research also shows that staff wellbeing is also an important factor for many FM professionals as a way of improving overall productivity in their organisation. 

Some of the other key findings of the survey included:

  •  Outsourcing – The most popular services that are currently outsourced are cleaning (97%), maintenance (91%) and security (89%) services.
  • Internal workspace planning – The research shows that FM professionals are also keen for more consistency to assist them with internal workspace planning. In fact, nine in ten (89%) FM professionals say that an international standard of property measurement would benefit their organisation, by helping to provide a unified set of guidelines that could be translated across different areas of the workplace.

This research builds on the recent Sodexo – Harris Interactive survey, “How Leaders Value Quality of Life,” a global survey of 780 leaders from corporate, healthcare and educational institutions. The survey revealed 66% of the top managers are totally convinced that improving quality of life is a strategic priority for their institutions. 86% of those questioned had implemented at least three specific quality of life initiatives.

Sodexo, with Harris Interactive, also carried out a survey with 1,000 students in five countries to compare the views of current leaders with potential future leaders. Sixty-nine per cent of high potential millennials totally agree that improving quality of life will have an important impact on the performance of their future organization, versus 57 per cent of current leaders. Next generation leaders ranked quality of life as the number one driver of performance for organizations, while current leaders ranked it fifth.

To find out more about the RICS FM board and how opportunities offered by RICS can help organisations develop the very best FM professionals, visit