In a modern world of agile working, remote offices and flexible hours, it seems that “traditional” working week is evolving to become more favourable to employees, which in many cases has delivered fantastic results in terms of employee morale and productivity. Working in the FM industry for over 14 years, we know just how demanding a career in Facilities Management can be, particularly considering the impact it can have on work/life balance, and looking into the results of our most recent salary survey made us wonder whether facilities professionals have it a bit tougher than most….
We recently surveyed over 1000 FM professionals across the UK, and one aspect we delved into was working hours within the industry. The results clearly highlighted the demanding work schedule within FM, with 70% of respondents worked over 41 hours a week, with nearly a quarter actually working over 51 hours a week! This is a very slightly improving picture since previous years however it is still way above the national average (ONS, 2019).
First in, last out!
When we consider the kind of work that FMs are involved with, it goes without saying that long, unsociable work hours are going to be part and parcel of the job. Let’s take office moves as an example; more often than not, move projects need to be implemented outside of business hours to reduce the impact to business operations are much as possible. Another clear example would be health and safety requirements for out-of-hours events, something which more often than not falls with an FM’s remit.
This is clearly supported in the findings of the survey which shows that nearly half (48%) of the respondents are required to work unsociable hours at least several times per month, with nearly a quarter of respondents stating this is required several times a week!
Agents of workplace evolution.
Throughout our time operating in the industry, it has become apparent that FM positions have become increasingly valued by organisations and recognised for the very real impact they have on the success of a business. We have also seen an increased emphasis being placed on workplace experience, predominantly pioneered by the tech giants (think the slides in Google’s offices or the dedicated video games rooms inside Facebook’s).
This dynamic sector required equally dynamic professionals who can adapt to the ever-changing landscape. A career in FM never stands still, it requires constant upskilling, learning new technologies, making recommendations, continual personal development and training, industry networking, the list goes on. In addition they need to adapt to the changing needs of the businesses they operate in, e.g. frequent office moves, ongoing system upgrades, policy and procedure amendments etc. All of this tends to add up to one thing…long hours!
Workaholics? Or just job lovers?
From the previous points, in addition to the evidence gathered through our industry surveys, the obvious conclusion may be that FM professionals are a bunch of workaholics! But we don’t think this is the case. One thing that we have gathered from working closely with FM professionals is that they love their jobs. This may be a rarity in some sectors yet it is something we hear often recruiting in FM. There’s the old cliche that “time flies when you’re having fun”, and this certainly seems to be true for a lot of the people we talk to. The long hours aren’t quite so taxing when you’re enjoying yourself. This is again supported by the survey results as a whopping 81% of respondents stated they were fairly to very satisfied in their job.