The International Organisation for Standardisation defines facilities management (FM) as the “organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.” 

Workplace and facilities professionals are responsible for services that enable and support business performance. 

Roles cover management of a wide range of areas including: health and safety, risk, business continuity, procurement, sustainability, space planning, energy, property and asset management. They typically oversee activities like catering, cleaning, building maintenance, environmental services, security and reception.

Beyond the built environment, workplace recognises the joint responsibility of facilities management, IT and human resources to achieve optimal performance between people, technology and work space, anywhere that work happens, including hospitals, hotels, tourist attractions and many other types of facilities. 

Workplaces represent a large proportion of any operation’s costs, so when organisations bring people together in them there must be a value to doing that. There is, and it comes about through making connections and engendering joint purpose and direction. Workplace professionals interconnect between specialisms to optimise business performance; they empower work wherever it takes place and to make workplaces productive. 

IWFM has identified workplace as a significant opportunity for the facilities management profession after the Workplace Advantage Report by the Stoddart Review in 2016 quantified its contribution to organisational productivity if used more effectively. Previous debate on productivity had ignored the role of real estate, FM and workplace. 

IWFM will work to further define the role through its leading work on Professional Standards and in its Research and Insight programme. 


Explore the workplace and facilities management glossary