Research Topics

both completed and upcoming studies

Is Facilities Management Strategic?

by jimware on September 21, 2016

office-buildingIs Facilities Management Strategic? What does it mean to be a strategic business resource?

Those questions are crucial to the future of the Facilities Management (FM) profession.

Please contribute to an important conversation and research project addressing the current state of the FM profession by helping to answer those questions. If you are an FM professional I invite you to participate in a brief global online survey about your FM organization and its current role and relationships, as well as your views about current challenges and opportunities for FM leaders.

The survey includes just 15 questions and will take less than 15 minutes of your time. Click here to complete the survey:

This survey represents an important opportunity for you to contribute to a global conversation about the emerging strategic impact of facilities management. If you complete the survey, we will be happy to send you a summary of our findings once the study is completed.

The survey is part of a study sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS has commissioned Occupiers Journal to update our 2012 report, “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM,” to provide a 2016 view of the state of FM, and analyze trends and developments over the past four years.

The 2012 report can be downloaded for free at this link.

We are also interviewing selected senior FM executives and professionals as part of this project. If you are an FM practitioner who has tackled a strategic project for your organization, we would like to interview you; please contact me directly at my Occupiers Journal email address:, to volunteer your story.

One more thing: fellow Occupiers Journal director Paul Carder and I will discuss the project and offer preliminary findings at education session 7.03 at World Workplace in San Diego, California, on Friday morning, 7 October. Hope to see you there!


PLACEMAKER: Research Programme: Questions?

by Paul Carder on April 17, 2014

by Paul Carder @paulcarder &

This post relates to the open LinkedIn Group of the same name:

PLACEMAKER is our next research programme, and we would like to get you involved. It comprises the kind of exploratory research, across multiple-disciplines, which we love – and upon which most of you will have a view! It is also related to my PhD, which officially started on 1st April at UWE Bristol, and as you know will be a long process (hopefully around four years). So, personally, I also very much welcome all your feedback – now, and into the future…

For now, I just want to put these questions out there, for you to comment upon, and add to:

  1. What is the relevance of PLACE to an organisation? Or to a part of an organisation, in a specific place?
  2. Location is one key aspect, but what are the characteristics of PLACE at different levels – region, city, sector, street, building?
  3. An organisation, any occupier of PLACE, is the demand-side of the ‘economics of place’ – what are those demand factors?
  4. Users (employees, contractors, consultants, visitors) form part of the ‘demand’ profile – what level of user engagement occurs?
  5. How does the supply-side of the ‘economics of place’ position itself to deliver to this demand profile?
  6. How do regions, cities, and sectors of cities, impact on and relate to demand from organisations and their workforce?
  7. How does the economics of agglomeration, and the competitive advantage of cities, relate to PLACE?
  8. What, and who, is a PLACEMAKER? City Mayors, property owners/developers, hub operators, and occupiers?
  9. How do they work, and interact, for mutual economic advantage?
  10. What will the future PLACE look like, for organisations and their knowledge-workers? Hooks to PLACES? Or free-roaming?

There are many more questions that we could ask – but what are the key questions? I look forward to your comments! Thank you in advance, Paul.


Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of facilities professionals at the June luncheon meeting of the Houston Chapter of IFMA (International Facilities Management Association).

My topic was “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.” That’s the title of a research project that Paul Carder and I led in 2o12 for RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). We did the research in our respective roles at Occupiers Journal as Managing Director (Paul) and Global Research Director (me).

The presentation was well-received; it addressed four broad questions:

  1. Why isn’t FM a more strategic resource?
  2. What does it mean to be “strategic”?
  3. How are FM groups organized and managed today?
  4. What do FM leaders need to do to become a more valued resource?

And here is the presentation, just posted on Slideshare and downloadable at this link:


When: Thursday, March 7, at Noon Pacific Standard Time


Please join me and my colleague, Pi Wen Looi of Novacrea Research, for a lunch-and-learn session to learn about “Leveraging Mobile Work to Engage Your Employees.” We’ll present our 2012 Mobile Workforce Survey findings and share ideas about how you can use these insights to engage and leverage your mobile workers.

We planned to conduct this webinar well before Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! issued her now-famous edict mandating all Yahoo! staff to “cease and desist” working from home and to come to the corporate office every day. But the buzz surrounding that decision makes this webinar all that much more timely.

This session is designed for anyone who manages Gen Y workers, remote workers, IT professionals who are involved with mobile technology, and knowledge workers who work on-the-go.

Past research on the mobile workforce has focused on either the technology needs of mobile workers or the challenges of managing a virtual workforce. Our newly designed Mobile Workforce Survey is the first study that takes an integrated look at both the hardware needs of mobile workers (e.g., mobile devices) and the factors that impact their organizational engagement and personal views about mobile and remote work.

Key Takeaways

  • How and where knowledge workers are getting their work done today
  • What tools they use to be productive
  • How their mobility is affecting their work and their professional and personal relationships
  • Tips for managing and engaging remote workers


Please click on the link below to register for the free webinar, which is being hosted by People-OnTheGo, a firm focused on workforce productivity and achievement.


Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 12:00 noon PST
Place: Online

Pi Wen and I hope to “see” you on the webinar next Thursday. Feel free to invite your colleagues; the more the merrier!


What is really going on at Yahoo?

by jimware on March 1, 2013

There’s been quite a buzz building around Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent proclamation that all employees are now expected to be in their assigned corporate office every day. No more “telecommuting” or working from home.

There is no way I can summarize all the insightful commentary about Ms. Meyer’s edict that is all over the Internets and the mainstream media this week. However, I can point you to several really good starting points for understanding what all the buzz is about.

And I’ll humbly start with my own interview with talk show hostess Turi Ryder on WGN 720 radio (Chicago) on Wednesday evening: “The Perks and Catches of Working Remotely.” It was a fun and provocative conversation.

Here’s a one-paragraph summary of that 20-minute conversation, brilliantly written by my good friend, colleague, and “pioneer” in the the field of remote work, Jessica Lipnack. Her post is titled “Jim Ware to Yahoo: ‘You have a management systems problem.'”

But for a really thoughtful and passionate statement on the issue, you’ve got to read Jessica’s lengthier and far more important note, “Marissa, we need to talk. This genie is way out of the bottle.”

That is the most articulate statement about remote work and its benefits that I’ve ever seen. Read it and bookmark it. I guarantee you will want to come back to it whenever your company starts wavering or waffling about the pros and cons of flexible work.

It’s not a simple or straightforward issue. If you have the time, read through the many Comments (both supportive and dismissive of Marissa Mayer) from readers that accompany Jessica’s posts, and this one additional article on Kara Swisher’s AllThingsD blog, which is where I believe it all started:

Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)


Corenet Summit: Off and Running

by jimware on October 8, 2012

Theme this year is “Reimagination: RE-orient, RE-ignite, RE-invent – all about the importance of innovation and creativity.

First order of business: presenting the Global Innovator’s Award – goes to Space Florida – the Boeing Commercial Crew program.

The keynoter this morning is Bill Benjamin, on “Leadership 2.0” – stressing the importance of understanding emotional intelligence. Shifting towards human-centered workplace management that produces employee engagement. Focusing the workplace on well-being.

Stay tuned for real-time reports as the speech unfolds.


RICS backs global study by Occupiers Journal

by jimware on June 21, 2012

Dear Friends,

We are extremely pleased to report that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyrs  (RICS – is supporting our global study, “Raising The Bar – enhancing the strategic role of Facilities Management”. We have already had several hundred responses to our online survey, and we have conducted a few dozen one-to-one interviews with Heads of CRE and/or Facilities (see below for details).

The RICS support will now allow us to run several round-table discussions in key cities around the world, from late June into September.

PLEASE EMAIL ME TODAY at if you would like to attend a round-table meeting.

We are looking for the following people to attend:

  • Heads of CRE & Facilities (or similar) from client organisations (corporations or government)
  • CRE/FM internal ‘business partners’ in Finance, HR, IT, Procurement

Also, if you work alongside a CEO/ Managing Director of large service provider, providing CRE/FM multi-service delivery to your organisation, let us know if you believe they should also be involved in the debate. Especially, if they are potentially willing to host meetings/dinners in your city.

You will have already heard about our study, “Raising The Bar – enhancing the strategic role of Facilities Management” via this ‘OJ’ group. But you can read more on our website:

If you have not completed the online survey, it is still open – you may go direct to the survey here:

I look forward to hearing from you, and will also post further details over the forthcoming weeks.


Paul Carder
Founder / Managing Director

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We have a view, formed by numerous discussions with senior facilities and business executives, that Facilities Management can be more “strategic.”

By “strategic” we mean playing a leadership role in achieving close alignment between business imperatives, operational capabilities, and organizational performance. In many organizations, facilities management is not seen as making a meaningful difference to the operational effectiveness or “bottom line” results of the business — unless the business is looking to cut costs, in which case facilities management often suffers.

We believe that facilities management can, and should, be a strategic management discipline, but facilities leaders need to work on a number of multi-disciplinary relationships, across the organization, to gain the buy-in needed to provide effective workforce support. In fact, we believe that some facilities management leaders could “Raise the Bar” by managing many other infrastructure functions, in “shared enterprise support” teams, if they can more clearly articulate and communicate this broadened scope across the organization.

This inaugural project of the GRID program is designed to enable study participants to become acquainted with each other and professional best practices, to identify critical facilities management challenges, and to focus in particular on the key relationships between FM and other key functional areas such as business unit leadership, the COO, CRE, Finance, HR, and IT.

The study is addressing the following questions:

  • How is facilities management currently organized and governed?
  • What are the most common organizational structures and reporting relationships?
  • How well are facilities and workplace strategies aligned with the business, with financial strategies, with CRE, and with functional peers?
  • How is the facilities management function measured and managed?
  • What issues and challenges are facilities managers facing in 2012?
  • How strategic is the facilities management function in 2012? What are the barriers, if any, that prevent the facilities function from operating at a more strategic level?

The study was launched in March 2012 and will conclude in the June/July time frame. Each organization that participates in an executive interview  (there is no cost to participate) will receive:

  • a copy of the draft report;
  • an invitation to participate in a conference call to review the draft report
  • an invitation to participate in a workshop focused on the report findings and recommendations; and
  • a copy of the final report

Everyone who completes the online survey and requests a summary of the study findings will receive a summary report at no charge. The survey is online now. If you are a senior facilities professional in an “end-user” organization, please take 10-15 minutes to complete it:

If you are interested in contributing to the study, please contact Jim Ware, Global Research Director.


Defining “Definition”

by martinleitch on April 17, 2012

Bruce Springsteen at SXSWOn 15 March 2012, Bruce Springsteen delivered the keynote speech at the SXSW 2012 conference in Austin, Texas. During his address, Bruce listed no less than 60 names of music genres and sub-genres. For someone who grew up with little more than pop, rock, soul and folk, this was, to say the least an eye opener. After listening to the address, I reflected on how each of these names could be explained for the benefit of a music layperson such as myself. I suspect it would be quite challenging.

This got me thinking about something I know a bit more about – facilities management and specifically the increasing number of discussions around who we are and what we do.

  • What is Facilities Management, or is it Facility Management?
  •  Is FM a core, non-core or essential service?
  • What do these terms mean anyway?
  • Is IFM the same as TFM?
  • What’s the difference between hard and soft services?

There seems to be a need to define every aspect of the industry. Inevitably the hottest debate is around the term itself.

[Read more…]

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