Woosh loves this enlightening article written by Sara Bean for FM World.
The Netherlands are having no trouble luring an influx of young people into facilities management with innovations such as activity-based working and a service-led focus boosting its profile. Sara Bean finds out what it is that sets the Dutch art of FM apart.
The reasons for this interest is because the Dutch are widely acknowledged as leading the way in the adoption of more productive and innovative ways of working, in particular activity-based working (ABW) and they also take a refreshing approach to facilities management.
FM is taken seriously in Holland, where it is perceived as an important and popular discipline – whether you’re working within the private and public sector, as an in-house FM or as part of a services supplier.
Ron van der Weerd is the chairman of EuroFM and programme manager of ZP7 Real Estate reconstruction at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, and was until recently the dean of the School of Facility Management at Hanze University.
He says: “FM is in a very advantageous position here in Holland because the profession is really mature and pretty well recognised, and that has to do with two key aspects. One is our educational system, which plays an important role, and secondly, we depend more here on a service economy than a production economy.”
“We also have a lack of space in Holland, which is trying to accommodate a pretty large population of 17 million people; so you always have to be very efficient and organised and use space as best you can with the least waste, so all of our culture is about being efficient and effective.”
Figures from the Dutch FM association, Facilities Management Netherlands (FMN), show 260,000 people are involved in the facilities business in the Netherlands with the total market including real estate worth 77.2 billion. This contains both real estate – at 39.9 billion – as well as FM services at 37.2 billion. From that, about 22 billion is outsourced, with a 40/60 split between in-house and outsourced FM.
The Dutch and the art of space management
FM correspondent Andrew Brown argues that Dutch attitudes to space management can also be seen in the way its national football team plays
The Dutch (and to an extent, their north European neighbours in Scandinavia) are regarded as leaders in ideas on how to improve employee engagement, productivity, wellbeing and basically putting people ahead of the capital asset. What you might not know is that this is rooted in Dutch culture. There is a distinct Dutch way of doing things.
Organisations like Veldhoen adhere to the concept of activity based working (ABW) with a philosophy about workplace and how to improve an organisation’s performance. It all hinges on ABW. They won’t bother working with you unless you buy into their way of doing things.
This is a very Dutch attitude and a principled approach that flows through many aspects of Dutch life including, as a prime example, football. Total Football, to be precise.
The biggest and most successful exponent of the total football philosophy (tactics don’t even cover the concept) was Johan Cruyff. He died just before Easter and in every obituary were the words legend, genius and influence.
He changed football forever. His approach was one based upon questioning received wisdom (again a Dutch attitude). He was an original disruptive thinker (something FM in the UK is crying out for right now).
You can read almost anywhere on the internet about total football and Cruyff’s influence, but his determination to be creative and his challenge of authority inspired, astonished and delighted contemporaries.
Together with Rinus Michels, he re-imagined football as a swirling spatial contest: whoever managed and controlled limited space on the field would win. David Winner, author of the book Brilliant Orange, argues that in this Cruyff and Michels drew on wider Dutch culture: for centuries the people of the Netherlands had been finding ways to think about, exploit and control space in their crowded sea-threatened land. It is present in Dutch design, architecture and land management. It’s present in workplace and FM.
Can you see the connection? I’d argue there are lessons here for ‘professionals’ in workplace and FM. We need to rethink what is happening in the UK support services sector just as Cruyff and his colleagues did in the 70s and 80s with regard to Dutch and world football.
FM can learn from workplace. Workplace can learn from football. But whatever happens, with or without ABW, it needs leadership. It also needs rules and a rigid system to allow the freedom of such a swirling spatial contest to succeed.
Because even as players swap positions and roles (think about that in a workplace scenario for a minute) the system fails without the genius and leadership of someone like a Cruyff in its midst. Let’s go Dutch.
Read more about the Dutch FM trends and much more here on FM World’s website: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/features/feature-articles/orange-revolution-how-the-dutch-do-fm/