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Online FM Business Summit concludes first EuroFM ‘Stay Connected’ series

July 3, 2020

On 25 June, the European Facility Management Network hosted the third and final session of its ‘Stay Connected’ series. After the Research Symposium and the Student Festival, this time it was the turn of the business community represented in the organization to hold their Online FM Summit. The series was introduced after the association had to postpone its renowned annual EFMIC Conference, scheduled for the beginning of June in Barcelona till the end of October. Altogether, the three online sessions (spread over four 2-hour Zoom meetings throughout the month of June) attracted 115 researchers, students, young professionals, practitioners, and ambassadors of EuroFM. 

During the concluding EuroFM Online FM Business Summit, the organization celebrated its 30th anniversary and for this reason, current President Goran Milanov (Vidako, Bulgaria) and founding President Keith Alexander (UK) reflected on the rich history, challenges and opportunities for the FM profession and the role that its European umbrella has to play in connecting the three areas of expertise: Research, Education and Practice of FM.

“Organisations don’t want facilities, they want a productive workforce”

The online Business Summit also addressed current trends and developments in areas like technology, sustainability, and innovation. Opening keynote Yvette Watson, co-founder of PHI Factory, presented 5 innovations defining the future of FMAndrew Mason, Chair of SAFMA and EuroFM Ambassador for South Africa, leaped into the future to present an ‘FM Futurespective’ of the workplace. “Organisations don’t want facilities, they want a productive workforce” as he explained the new mantra of FM.

In between keynotes, the network provided the platform to the three finalists of the Student Competition featuring in the previous week’s Student Festival. Whereas an independent jury of professors and teachers had selected the three finalists, now it was the turn of the participants to cast their vote after the finalists had introduced their video. Winners became Kristin EuchnerRandi KleistDiana Vidal, and Sakithya Shanmugaratnam from DHBW Stuttgart. All videos including those of the three finalists can be viewed on EuroFM’s YouTube Channel.

“Fun, inspiration, knowledge and networking”
The team was congratulated by one of their competing finalists Robin Ganninger from the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, who added: “We were more than happy to be a part of this year`s European Facility Management Network student competition! I had the pleasure of participating in this competition for the second time and I really appreciate that EuroFM has once again organized a fun and inspirational event. It is always a great opportunity to share knowledge and get in contact with people all over the world.”

“A promising mix”

In between these plenary sessions, EuroFM ambassadors, including overall session moderator Levent Alatli (founder and former president of TRFMA and EuroFM ambassador for Turkey) hosted three concurrent breakout sessions each focusing on a different aspect of the FM future. Topics that were debated were ‘Sustainability and FM’, ‘Staying connected in the digital area’, and ‘Going back to the office after Covid19’.

EuroFM Business Chair Renske van der Heide (TOPdesk, Netherlands) looks back with satisfaction: “It was great fun being part of the organizing committee. Although the business community is sometimes underrepresented in the EuroFM community, this series has shown that there is great benefit in combining business expertise with scientific knowledge and the fresh ideas of students and young professionals. It’s a really inspiring and promising mix.”

Staying connected online
Reviewing the whole series, EuroFM President Goran Milanov concludes: “The ‘Stay Connected’ series was a big success. When we first started discussions about the concept of these sessions during the early days of the lockdowns, we thought of replicating parts of the programme on the actual days of the conference. In hindsight I am glad that we split the programme into different sessions, enabling us to be more concise but still dig deeper into the areas of interest of our three core audiences, researchers, students, and business people. Also, the fact that we were able to learn about the different functionalities that online meeting technology has to offer like for instance the breakout sessions, voting, and fun elements such as a ‘pub quiz’, has provided us with a wealth of knowledge and experience for the future.”

“As a non-profit organization with limited resources, the virtual association has a lot to offer in terms of learning and knowledge sharing and we intend to explore this avenue further after the summer holidays. I thank the members of the Board and especially Tuuli Jylhä, Olga van Diermen and Renske van der Heide who coordinated the programme of the three sessions, as well as our new association management partners at Lejeune who helped us a great deal in making this possible.”

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