Almost 1 in 3 facilities management professionals are making mistakes due to unmanageable workloads

Almost 1 in 3 facilities management professionals are making mistakes due to unmanageable workloads

New research from Watco has revealed that over a quarter (26%) of facilities management professionals feel stressed at work, amid growing industry challenges including a skills shortage, supply chain issues and pressure to improve the overall workplace experience.

It found that over 1 in 4 (29%) respondents have had an increase in their workload over the past year, and almost a third (28%) admitted that they often make mistakes as they have too much on their plate.

On top of this, a further third (32%) said that stress has ‘often’ made them feel like leaving their role. These realities pose problems not just to the smooth, safe operations of a facility but can also result in significant costs to businesses. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual report in 2022 revealed almost 1 million workers in Great Britain suffering from a work-related illness caused by stress, depression, and anxiety. It also brought to light that stress-induced absences cost employers over £5 billion a year in this country.

On the latest research, Lisa O’Neill, Group Marketing Director at Watco commented: “We know that FMs cannot be expected to solve every challenge that they are facing. However, the research revealed a common result where tasks and responsibilities are getting more unmanageable. Therefore, shifting approach and incorporating simple tools such as a maintenance checklist can help to stop minor issues growing into big problems and ultimately, start to control ever-growing to-do lists. This can save money on repairs and free up time for the more complex tasks and priorities such as health and safety.”


The survey of 250 facilities management professionals also uncovered that despite the current difficulties in sourcing skilled workers and accessing EU labour pools, reflected in the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) 2022 report, less than a quarter of businesses (22%) are prioritising investing in the workplace experience, and over 60% of respondents reported that they do not feel valued by their employer. 

Lisa continued: “Assessing the broader picture, steps must be taken to maintain the safe and smooth running of operations while navigating this skills shortage. FMs must support the employees they already have while working to improve the overall workplace experience. For example, taking steps to address workloads, offering professional development via industry resources, or demonstrating a commitment to safety regulations and legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act, ensuring that the facility supports all employees in feeling both happy and safe.”

Revealing further sector challenges, the results indicated that only a proportion of FM professionals are prioritising as required to maintain smooth operations while navigating the ongoing supply chain disruption outcomes.

Ranking the top three priorities for their role, respondents revealed that only the minority included:

  1. working effectively with different parts of the supply chain (21%)
  2. controlling costs (14%)
  3. keeping on top of admin, such as policy documents (14%)

Lisa concluded: “In light of the unrelenting challenges that FMs are facing, it is no wonder that they are making mistakes and want to see improvements. Our research has highlighted the huge range of responsibilities that must now be taken care of in order to ensure a safe and well-maintained facility, and the part that FMs must play in this. Our new report, part of our ongoing Lifting the Lid series, will help provide readers with the knowledge and suggestions required to better manage costs and get workloads back under control to improve the overall workplace experience.”

For more information on the broader challenges facing the FM sector in 2023 and how to navigate these, download Watco’s free report here: Navigating today's facilities management challenges | Watco

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