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Almost a third of FM professionals are making mistakes due to unmanageable workloads

Almost one in three facilities management professionals are making mistakes due to unmanageable workloads, according to new research from Watco a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-performance industrial strength paint, repair and maintenance materials.

The survey of 250 FM professionals has revealed that over a quarter (26 per cent) feel stressed at work, amid growing industry challenges including a skills shortage, supply chain issues and pressure to improve the overall workplace experience.

It found that over one in four (29 per cent) respondents have had an increase in their workload over the past year, and almost a third (28 per cent) admitted that they often make mistakes as they have too much on their plate. On top of this, a further third (32 per cent) said that stress has ‘often’ made them feel like leaving their role.

These realities pose problems not just to the smooth, safe operations of a facility but can also result in significant costs to businesses. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual report in 2022 revealed almost one million workers in Great Britain are suffering from a work-related illness caused by stress, depression, and anxiety. It also brought to light that stress-induced absences cost employers over £5 billion a year in this country.

Commenting on the research, Lisa O’Neill, Group Marketing Director at Watco said: “We know that FMs cannot be expected to solve every challenge that they are facing. However, the research revealed a common result where tasks and responsibilities are getting more unmanageable. Therefore, shifting approach and incorporating simple tools such as a maintenance checklist can help to stop minor issues growing into big problems and ultimately, start to control ever-growing to-do lists. This can save money on repairs and free up time for the more complex tasks and priorities such as health and safety.”

The survey also uncovered that despite the current difficulties in sourcing skilled workers and accessing EU labour pools, reflected in the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) 2022 report, less than a quarter of businesses (22 per cent) are prioritising investing in the workplace experience, and over 60 per cent of respondents reported that they do not feel valued by their employer.

O’Neill continued: “Assessing the broader picture, steps must be taken to maintain the safe and smooth running of operations while navigating this skills shortage. FMs must support the employees they already have while working to improve the overall workplace experience. For example, taking steps to address workloads, offering professional development via industry resources, or demonstrating a commitment to safety regulations and legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act, ensuring that the facility supports all employees in feeling both happy and safe.”

Revealing further sector challenges, the results indicated that only a proportion of FM professionals are prioritising as required to maintain smooth operations while navigating the ongoing supply chain disruption outcomes.

Ranking the top three priorities for their role, respondents revealed that only the minority included:

  • Working effectively with different parts of the supply chain (21 per cent)
  • Controlling costs (14 per cent)
  • Keeping on top of admin, such as policy documents (14 per cent)

O’Neill concluded: “In light of the unrelenting challenges that FMs are facing, it is no wonder that they are making mistakes and want to see improvements. Our research has highlighted the huge range of responsibilities that must now be taken care of in order to ensure a safe and well-maintained facility, and the part that FMs must play in this. Our new report, part of our ongoing Lifting the Lid series, will help provide readers with the knowledge and suggestions required to better manage costs and get workloads back under control to improve the overall workplace experience.”

For more information on the broader challenges facing the FM sector in 2023 and how to navigate these, download Watco’s free report here: Navigating today’s facilities management challenges | Watco.

Webinar: How to create an ethical supply chain in FM

Are you confident that your contractors and suppliers meet ethical labour standards and human rights obligations?

For many FM services, managing multiple third parties in the supply chain can be a complex challenge. And, in a sector that relies heavily on migrant workers and 65 per cent of FM services facing difficulties in sourcing workers (Q4 2022 RICS survey), exposure to exploitation and modern slavery is a very real risk. With the UK one of the biggest destinations in Europe for trafficking of workers, you need full visibility of the people you work with, so you can minimise your risks and identify which part of your supply chain is most vulnerable.

FMJ, in partnership with Alcumus, is pleased to bring together a panel of experts to discuss how to create an ethical supply chain in FM.

Taking place at 11am on Wednesday 21st of June, the webinar will discuss:

  • The regulations to be aware of that are aimed at preventing human right abuses.
  • How to gain greater visibility of modern slavery compliance in the supply chain by having a robust verification process in place.
  • Steps to creating a compliant, ethical supply chain.

To register for the webinar click here.

About Sarah OBeirne

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