2.10 FM MaturityResearch, Standards, and Influence

Kathy O. Roper

In the early 1980s the administration of many companies and government offices fell under the operations, finance, or human resources departments. Each company or each leader of these departments decided how to organize, and few wanted the diverse responsibilities that we have now come to know as “Facility Management” or FM. In one smaller organization where I worked, the “Administrative Services” as the FM department was then known, fell under four different Vice-Presidents within two years.

Apparently, none really wanted a cost center that could not generate income, especially in a Financial Services company. But management of the real estate, leases, space allocation, renovations, moves, telephone services (few computers were allocated to general employees at that time) and mail distribution, along with coordination with the landlord for security (mainly keys for office door locks) maintenance and janitorial services were required to have an accountable employee somewhere. They are all basic but necessary functions.

Over the course of a 20+-year career as a manager of facilities and later for 14 years teaching and researching the field, I was able to participate in and contribute to the growth in Facility Management. Modernization, automation, consolidation, and a new focus on longer-term strategies made FM an exciting and sometimes creative field. The FM department often tried new office designs prior to ...

Get Facilities @ Management now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.