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Wow. What a difference live events make. At the end of March, we hosted our NFMT show in Baltimore. It was the first time we held the event since 2019. Everyone was all smiles, happy to get back together in person to learn and network. You could truly tell that people were excited to be standing next to a real person and not talking to their computer screen.
Over three days, upwards of a few thousand facility managers attended 60-plus education sessions, saw new innovations from nearly 300 exhibitors, and, perhaps most importantly, networked in-person once again.
Personally, this was my first major event since joining the editorial team and it made me truly feel a part of the facility management industry. Thank you to everyone I met and talked to for making me feel so welcome.
Throughout the week, I hosted and attended various roundtables and networking events. As happy as everyone was, during all of my conversations, you could tell there was one thing facility professionals were still a little salty about: As facilities navigate a new hybrid workforce, where do facility personnel fit in?
Over the past two years, organizations discovered they could trust employees to be productive working from home. Remote work is now touted as a benefit and a perk necessary to attract employees. However, this isn’t exactly true for facility professionals. During the pandemic, many facility managers and their teams didn't work from home. They were essential personnel and reported to the facility every day despite the medical risks. They fielded complaints from tenants, students, parents and others (who were safe at home) from their on-site offices.
Now, as facilities reopen, not everyone is returning to work full time — but facility personnel are expected to. Understandably, many of these employees are feeling underappreciated and a little burnt out. While we personally can’t address how organizations are scheduling their staff, we can shine a much-needed spotlight on these workers.
In May, we are launching the Facility Champion Award to recognize stand-out individuals in the facility management industry. Winners of the award will be those who exhibit strong leadership, demonstrate engagement and pride within the industry, and have proven success in improving their facilities operations. We're not just honoring those at the top of their departments — any title, from the frontline technician to the vice president, are accepted. Head to www.facilitiesnet.com/lp/champion/ to submit nominations until July 15. We’ll recognize winners this fall — and judging by the people I met in Baltimore, there are a lot of champions in this industry. Nominate yours today.