In this episode of the podcast, we celebrate World FM Day with three inspiring guests from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Lara Paemen, Rebeca Arguedas, and Ted Ritter share their insights on how facility managers can get involved on global, local, and industry levels to make a difference in their organizations. They also dive into the various themes that are influencing facility management in their respective regions, including sustainability, technology, and employee well-being. Tune in to this engaging conversation and learn how you can take your facility management game to the next level!
In this episode of the podcast, we celebrate World FM Day with three inspiring guests from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Lara Paemen, Managing Director IFMA EMEA, Rebeca Arguedas, Directora General en United Facility Services, and Ted Ritter, the head of the global IT community for IFMA, share their insights on how facility managers can get involved on global, local, and industry levels to make a difference in their organizations. They also dive into the various themes that are influencing facility management in their respective regions, including sustainability, technology, and employee well-being. Tune in to this engaging conversation and learn how you can take your facility management game to the next level!
Celebrate World FM Day: https://worldfmdayinfo.ifma.org/
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[00:00:00] Welcome everybody and, thank you for joining us today on this podcast for World FM Day. I'm Lara Paemen, managing director for IFMA EMEA, so for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and I'm joined today by Rebecca and Ted and I'll let them introduce themselves. Rebecca?
Hi. Thank you, Lara. I am Rebeca Arguedas. I am from Costa Rica, Latin America, and I am leading the LATAM FM for IFMA.
my name is Ted Ritter based in Phoenix, Arizona, and I head up a global, information technology community for IFMA.
Now, the overall theme for, this year's World FM Day is making a real difference, and I think that's what FMS do. We try to make that difference. Maybe start the conversation here with how facility managers can get engaged on a global level, on a regional level.
We each, work in our own regions and also on a local level. Let's [00:01:00] have a conversation about that.
Sure, well, I'm gonna start saying that for Latin Americans, having now a community after Covid has been a blessing and a really place to find connections and interactions with professionals that in daily basis, Make the difference, but we didn't have a place to gather ourselves and have these conversations.
We have been in this part of making FM a really value profession in our region and it's been supported by having all this community around us, and not just in Latin America, but globally to feedback , any ideas and practices. And for us, making a difference is also having this, place to be around.
I think looking at, my evolution at a time with IFMA, you know, starting out at the chapter level here in Phoenix, [00:02:00] Arizona, and then, discovering councils and communities and getting involved nationally and globally. It's, been refreshing, to just have , a continual evolution of.
Connectivity, with people around the world. I've been very fortunate to be able to present at conferences. I think on almost every continent we have a lot of differences, but we also have a lot in common, from a professional perspective. But in terms of what we focus on from technology, there's a common thread.
It doesn't really matter if you're in Rotterdam or Phoenix or San Francisco or Hong Kong. You're focused on the same challenges and benefits of applying technology.
There's definitely like a common ground here. What I do like about IFMA as well is that, with our local chapters, we can add that, local sauce, on top of everything , and we can, organize activities in local language, as well.
We can. Go into detail, more specific local cases that happen. And then [00:03:00] next to that, we have these regional connections and these global connections where we can learn from each other. Even if you are in one person managing buildings in a very, very cold country, or a person managing a building or sites in the desert areas.
It doesn't matter, there are certain things that are common and, IFMA offers that opportunity to learn from each other across the globe, and I think that's, great.
I think that is like a huge bridge, of trust. Because you can trust professionals from other regions that have the same passion and interest.
I mean, it is a place to ground our purpose, even though it is more challenging in some areas with less resources or not all the material in all the idioms we wish we have. We are, translating a lot of [00:04:00] the facility development professional programs in Spanish right now to have our operations teams, trained with IFMA experience.
And that is fascinating for them too. I mean, having all the global support to have better, Opportunities for education for minorities make this like a bridge to be in, because, IFMA has more than 10 countries, on the association, eh, 100 countries in the association and maybe just 21 that speak Spanish, you know, but now we are trying to make them.
Feel included on that profession, not just like in the operation level that we have been in so many countries because we have a lot of Latin Americas working in Europe, Middle East, a lot of Latin American in the Middle East, and not just in North America, you know? But [00:05:00] now we have a lot of global companies operating in our countries.
We have a lot of companies in South America. We have a lot of companies here in Costa Rica that need a really high level of professional making the difference. So IFMA has all the opportunities we can leverage for them and make them feel that we are gonna help.
I think, one of the things that has kept me involved with IFMA for over 20 years is how genuine, everyone is about sharing knowledge of practices and also sharing, you know, what, what didn't work. We can learn just as much on, approaches that were be avoided. I think that's a common thread no matter what, country you happen to be in.
And I think to what yours are saying, Rebecca, about developing , professional development content and multiple languages, and knowing what's in queue. That's coming. It's impressive. I think's investing a tremendous amount into expanding the knowledge base. The relaunch, the knowledge [00:06:00] library is very good.
Some of the things I've seen of what's gonna get added over the next 12 months is truly impressive.
Absolutely. I like what you said as well, Rebecca, about the trust part. It's finding that trust in the IFMA family as well across the globe and that truly is a family. You can just ask any questions related to work, to the issues that you might encounter, but also to solutions that you have found and there will be a response from anywhere. So, I really like that. What I see here in Europe, is that, everything with regards to sustainability is such a big topic.
It's, obviously led and driven by the European Commission who has very specific targets, for Europe, and Europe is very much advancing. And I like the impact going back to the theme, of world FM Day on making a real difference. I like the impact that our [00:07:00] industry has or can have.
On these topics like sustainability, like creating more greener environments, healthier environments, for people to work and live. What are the themes in your region?
Before the pandemic we were a really green country. You know, Costa Rican branding is supported on a green and lit and everything went to that.
So we have been, having a lot of sustainability practices, but maybe not the resources to measure. To really know what's the impact we are doing. It was more like all the intention and the practices, like wondering how to reduce, the waste and our footprint and everything. But, not having that resources for measuring now that you guys in Europe are more focusing on that you [00:08:00] are given us these tools to now say, okay, we have been green, but this is the way we can tell the world with these indicators what we are doing After Covid, now we are more into to wellness. We are a lot of focus on wellness and all the certifications feed well and all these practices because LATAM labor needs to be supported a lot on these issues because our population, our way of living.
It's not that sustainability is not important anymore, but we need to share more of our people now.
I think facility management is, is really about people.
And now we are trying to give them the space we deserve.
Exactly. Yes. What about you, Ted?
Thinking back that the pre pandemic, during the pandemic, for the technology [00:09:00] community, we had, something, interesting happen. Our membership group where most of the components of, most associations dropped.
It's not just that we, increased our membership a little bit. It's a geographic reach that extended was truly remarkable. We went from having members in 16 countries to 32. The pandemic brought to focus how important it was to provide solutions for wayfinding and how to deal with, partial occupancy into buildings, which ties to wellness.
And then it's like, ok, we're gonna start to be more engaged. Are we operating efficiently? Is it sustainable? Where can we, take advantage of some of the technologies, especially iot? It gotten so affordable compared to what it was five years ago? At Facility Fusion, we were talking about, a sensor that was almost the size of an iPhone, five, six years ago.
It's now the size of a thumbnail. And cost the 10th of what it used to, and does twice as much. That gives us the ability to monitor indoor [00:10:00] air quality that gives us the ability to monitor all aspects of facilities we just didn't have a while ago. So I think how can we leverage this, rapid advance of more affordable technologies to, support sustainability, support work as well support, reduction of, energy consumption.
Yep. I think that's probably the theme.
What I'm always, fascinated by, we're interested is how can we get this knowledge also to lesser mature facility management markets? How can we make sure that the technology and the knowledge that is developed in other parts of the worlds or other countries, how can we get that there? How can we make sure that . We continue to educate people on what's going on in other parts of the world. I think it's something definitely with our professional development programs, we do a lot to train people, but also just, [00:11:00] different scenarios, different building cases that went wrong, as you mentioned. How can we share that even more across the globes in from markets that are mature to lesser mature markets?
I will say, including more cultural behaviors and cultural adoptions because you said it before this is about people. I mean, technology is gonna improve, it's gonna give us new ways to do an easier and cheapest. Thank God for us. But if we don't get the people to trust, not in the technology, but in the process, to believe in the results they are going to have in the way they need or they think they need, that won't work.
85% of technology implement fail because of the people. So I think that we need to include more [00:12:00] culture. Like culture beats a strategy, right? I think that we cannot forget about that. We have seen a lot of implementations, bringing a lot of teams from all over the world with this expertise that you are like fascinated and you can say, I want to do that, but you need to make how we said it in Spanish, we have to make it tropical, for us, because, we move different. We are in Latin America. We are passion. We need urgency. We need change. We don't want everything standard. We don't want to feel the same to the others. We don't have to be in a frame. I mean, it is a lot in our culture.
That definitely define the motivation. And the results of any implementation and processes.
Any thoughts on that Ted?
I think there's an element of fun that comes into it. Thinking back to [00:13:00] a large technology implementation that was, different countries, different languages, came up with a common thread. I was doing initial visits, and this was a while ago, but, we described things in terms of the Simpson family, the cartoon series, the Simpson.
These are the players that we're dealing with inside the facility. What can you do to make the communication fun and put someone just at ease especially for sharing the concepts.
I think our industry and our profession is fun because we have impact, we can make impact on the lives of people working and living. And I think we should see it as that, as well. The cultural aspects are so important. As you say, Rebecca, having skilled professionals in the industry is essential, and I think that's what everybody's looking for, whether we're LATAM or EMEA or in the Americas, or in AsiaPac. Having skilled professionals and looking for, everybody's looking for skilled professionals as well. [00:14:00] That is a global thing that unites us and there's an eagerness to learn. You can feel that, you can sense that in the fm communities as well.
But it on top of everything. It indeed needs to be fun for people. This is such a beautiful profession that you can enter at any stage in your career, and you can do it until the end of your career. But if you do that, you need to have a good laugh, once in a while.
And it is great that we have this World FM day because of this impact you are saying, and that if we have these celebration moments about, what we are doing. It creates community. It is not just a professional stage. It is a community. It is a way of living because FM doesn't work eight to five or 40 hours a week or 48. we all know that every country, every continent has different labor rates or [00:15:00] hours for the profession. But we work in every day, every time we are like firefighters, right? So having the spaces to celebrate, to create community, give us engaging in like the belonging that humans need to feel entitled and satisfied.
I think that's super well said, Rebecca. I love the fact Celebrations create communities. I think that's exactly what World FM Day is about. It's celebrating our profession, celebrating the industry.
We have additional resources. Visit world fm day info.ifma.org, or you can just click the link in the show notes. We would love to hear what you are doing to celebrate, do posts on social media and hashtag world fm. Thank you for joining us today and thanks Rebecca and Ted.