Online tools in six categories that FM professionals need to try
Your life as a facility manager can be a hectic one, filled with constantly evolving problems and plenty of moving parts. Creating a comfortable and productive office environment requires you to stay organized and communicate clearly.
And, if we're being real—we all have budgets and are limited in knowing the latest technology that is constantly evolving.
Thankfully, there's a host of free online tools out there to help you with everything from task automation to gathering workplace input. So we did some digging to find some of the best facility management tools out there that can make your day easier and more efficient.
This email organizer is great for those email subscriptions that fill your inbox but never get read. Login with your email address, and Unroll.Me will show you a list of everything you’re subscribed to. You can then easily sort through the ones you want to keep or discard; simply click “Unsubscribe” for the ones you’re not interested in. For the subscriptions you do want to keep, you can consolidate them in the Rollup, a digest that presents all the email messages in one convenient place.
If you’d like a more intensive email organizer, SaneBox offers a number of features for keeping your inbox well organized. The software looks at which email messages you open, how quickly you open an email, and how quickly you respond to it. It then sorts your email into categories, based on order of importance. Email messages that you are most interested in arrive in your mailbox like normal. Those that are less important are placed into a folder known as SaneLater; each day, these will be sent to you in a digest summary. And those that you don’t want to see again can be placed in the folder SaneBlackHole, which will then cause any further email messages from that sender to go straight in the trash.
Another way to ensure crucial email messages reach you is AwayFind. The app lets you receive notifications on your phone when you receive an important email (“important” being the key word). You can specify which people or topics you’d like notifications about. You’ll know when the COO emails you, for example, or when you receive a message about the next budget planning meeting. If you’re not sure how you should prioritize email messages, AwayFind can do that for you; it also tracks how quickly you respond to messages and rates a person’s importance based on the speed of your response.
Ever experience logging on to the internet to do one thing, and then get distracted by something entirely unrelated? Pocket can help with that problem. Pocket is a content aggregator lets you save the articles and videos that interest you in one place. That way, you won’t have to scroll through a never-ending list of bookmarks to find what you’re looking for. Even better, you can access the content when you’re offline. So if you often find yourself coming across great articles on office design when you’re looking for tips on energy management, Pocket lets you save the former for later.
Use Asana to manage and track your projects, ensuring your team keeps on pace and works effectively driving results. The application wraps its sleek user interface around a rich feature set, including third party app integrations, progress visualization and all the classic task scheduling features you would expect in a robust management app. The app is free for teams of up to 15 member profiles. Asana is a trusted project management app for large organizations, including NASA and Tesla Motors.
Automating tasks can help you stay organized and save hours of your time. IFTTT allows a user to create custom automations between many popular apps called "recipes" using simple conditional statements (i.e.: if this, then that). For example, you can autofill a spreadsheet with information whenever an employee sends an email request to reserve facility space.
The best part about IFTTT is that there are dozens of linkable apps to choose from, allowing you to customize your recipes to your specific needs. After all, staying organized is a major component of a successful facilities management professional.
As a facility manager, tracking office inventory is a task that demands attention to detail and the ability to organize information in a clean and clear way. Stockpile is a free and simple app that you can use to manage your inventory online, so you can focus on more important tasks. Best of all, the app combines the unlikely worlds of "free" and "unlimited," providing unlimited users, items, and locations.
Draw.io is a simple diagramming app (online Visio) that can help you visualize your physical space or sketch out a process to provide further clarity to a conversation. With over one million users and counting, the app sports a very simple and to-the-point user interface, allowing you to forego a difficult learning curve and make mockups quickly for that next decision-making meeting.
6. Feedback and information
Free Suggestion Box
You can use Free Suggestion Box to quickly get suggestions and comments from your workplace. Gathering this feedback gives you the data to provide the most comfortable, safe, and productive office environment possible. It also signals to your team that you support an open and honest workplace culture. The app keeps all user submissions anonymous, meaning you can get honest data that isn't influenced by social pressure.
If you’d like to see all the articles published by your favorite news sources in one place, look no further than Feedly. Feedly is a news reader that lets you stay up to date on the latest articles published by your favorite industry blogs and websites. You can simply specify which ones you want to follow, or you can browse through feedly’s topic categories to browse the latest stories published in that category. For example, you may want to search through “business,” “design,” or “startups” to see what’s happening in each of those realms.
It's imperative to get employee input after undertaking something large and impactful—like an office move, for example. Survey Monkey is a free, easy-to-use tool that allows you to create and send surveys over mobile, web, and social media and to analyze the resulting data. This survey tool, in addition to many other tools, can be integrated with OfficeSpace software so an email with a link to the survey is sent directly to your employees.
The right combination of tools can help rid you of unnecessary frustrations, freeing up your time and energy so you can focus on creating a beautiful, functional workplace environment.
If you want to take your organization skills to the next level or require visualization aids that go beyond a simple sketchpad, OfficeSpace can help simplify office moves, handle requests or track resources — all on a budget.