For many on all sides of the issue, the Brexit vote was a bit of a shock and has led to some ongoing questions about what it will all mean to their lives and businesses. Facilities managers are no exception when it comes to environmental and H&S considerations in their organisations.
We wanted to take a few moments to take a look at what is being said and come up with some advice as to how to proceed from this point. Not only will we look at what experts are saying we should expect, but also what FMs should do now and in the future. We will look at the future of employment, environmental and H&S policies, environmental policies, and more. The goal of this article is to supply you with a short, but thorough, view of the FM world as it is at this moment, post-Brexit.
Don’t panic – This is the best advice in almost every situation and this situation is no different. The morning of 25 June was fraught with worry as many people expressed concern that the world would change instantly. It has not and is unlikely to any time soon. The best advice for the moment is “Stay Calm and Carry On”.
Environmental and H&S policies – Many of the policies as they exist in Great Britain were derived from the EU. While there was a great deal of confusion regarding which laws would be in effect on 25 June, “many EU Health and Safety & Environmental directives have been transposed into UK law so currently nothing changes until the UK government puts in place mechanisms for further deregulation”. (1) This statement by the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management echoes the sentiments of many other groups and individuals. In many cases where the laws have not transferred over, experts, including those at MAR Services, are advising FMs to keep up the standards that they have been adhering too as they were under EU law.
Stay the Course – The fallout from the Brexit vote could take years to show its full impact, so the most important thing to remember as you move forward is to stay the course on all of your environmental and health & safety policies and activities. At least in the short term, everything will remain the same.
The Future – Of course, no one can predict the future, but there are several areas of influence that one can look at to know what might come next:
Rules and regulations – As mentioned above, many of the existing laws have been adopted into UK law, so the process of dismantling those laws, if that’s the will of the British people, will take a long time. It seems likely that most of the risk management and environmental laws will stay in place for the foreseeable future. Trade with the Continent will, of course, continue and will be much easier if British companies can point to the fact that they live by similar laws.
- Recruitment – One of the possible outcomes of Brexit is that we start to see a decrease in immigration. For the FM industry, which relies on migrant workers, this could have a huge impact on recruitment. Turnover of lower paid staff is likely to be higher as FMs have to resort to using more temporary agency staff, and hiring skilled permanent workers will become significantly harder. One way to overcome the potential challenges ahead is to outsource your FM services to companies who specialise in recruiting, hiring and training staff, and will guarantee to deliver the necessary workforce, from cleaning operatives to security guards, for a fixed price. Companies such as MAR Services eliminate the need to hire your FM workforce in-house, shifting the burden of employment from you to the contractor, leaving you free to deal with everything else your job entails.
- UK Leadership – Just as the PMexit of David Cameron to the installation of Theresa May went surprisingly smoothly, it’s very likely that all of the UK’s political moves will go just as well. In fact, a case could be made that the worst is over. With a new PM and the first shock of the Brexit behind us, the rest will simply be adaptation to the new paradigm.
- Environmental Policy – It seems likely that the UK will continue a path of sustainable, environmentally-respectful building and maintenance. “The incentives remain strong for business to address climate change and other urgent sustainability challenges,” said Julie Hirigoyen, CEO of the UK Green Building Council in an article by FM World. “We will take the argument to government that a low-carbon, sustainable built environment is good for UK plc, and that this requires a clear and consistent policy landscape – in or out of the EU.” (2)
Stay Calm and Keep Moving Forward
At MAR Services, we are intimately involved each subtle change in the needs of facilities managers, while still being slightly outside it. The assessment from our little corner of the world is that things are likely to be just fine. The work of facilities managers is to reduce risk and keep everything running well in the locations that they are assigned. The need for those services won’t change, although the specifics might, as they always have.
Ensure you don’t let standards slip during this period of uncertainty. One thing that is for certain is that the high standards we have all adhered to for the past decade and more, whether it be our recycling policy, or our facilities upkeep, have a positive impact on both employees and society as a whole. There is no reason to change that approach now.