The FM Professional

How Effective Are You at Improving Facilities Management?

David Spence
May 10th, 2018

What specific steps can lead to better facilities management? Let’s look at a few possibilities. We’ve all seen those motivational posters—the one touting words like “success” and “motivation.” These are great ways to inspire you and your office visitors, but beyond putting up visual aids that provide positive feedback, what else can you do to achieve success?

Make Your Department Better, Faster, Stronger

1. Internal and Peer Surveys

We’ve talked before about the importance of customer surveys. A survey of the people you work the most closely with can also be a great resource for you, too. Besides surveying your “customer” departments, survey the workers in your own department, and the other departments you often collaborate with. The former will help give you insider’s perspective, while the latter will help you see where facilities can improve when working with members of HR, IT, telecom, etc.

2. Thought Experiments

Success may lie in simply asking yourself: What if we did X instead of Y? That’s what one company did when it was reviewing the cost of its nighttime custodial services. The company analyzed the energy used by having the cleaning crew work during the day instead of the night. The results? The costs of running overnight HVAC and lighting were much higher than expected, and by having workers clean during the daytime, the company saw significant savings. Review your own company’s processes, and making a small change could similarly result in a big improvement for your company, too.

3. Strategic Planning

It can be difficult to think in the long-term, says FacilitiesNet, but strategic thinking can have a pay-off. Facilities managers who include “analysis, planning and networking” in their work duties will spend less time spent on last-minute emergencies. Plus, there are other considerable benefits, too. “Facility managers who think strategically have learned to view the performance of the facility department in terms of its contributions to the overall organization. And that perspective can help facility managers gain credibility with top management, credibility that can translate into more access to resources for the facility department.”

4. Effective Persuasion

Speaking of top management, the FacilitiesNet article also offers this useful stratagem: When you’re trying to sell an idea, have multiple reasons to persuade the C-suite that your proposal will benefit the company. This will make them more open to your suggestions, in a world where other departments are also fighting for their time and resources. What specific factors will make the biggest impact on executives, besides the obvious one of cost-savings? Think increased time and productivity for the facilities staff, fewer employee complaints, better-functioning assets, and fewer safety concerns.

5. Trend Watch

Staying informed about what’s trending in workplaces and workplace software is essential for facilities improvements. Would a meditation room improve productivity? Are your employees looking for a Hot Desking option? What are the possibilities for online collaboration and flexible work models? Being in tune with office design trends, the latest in workplace amenities and the availability and advantages in space management software can mean the making or the breaking of your FM department.

6. Continuing Education

Finally, one of the best ways to grow as a facilities manager is actively pursuing continuing education. This could be as formal as attending a professional seminar or networking an industry convention. It could also be as casual as reading your favorite FM website’s newsletter. (Whatever you choose, just be sure that you make a commitment to it. It’s easy to say you’ll read that newsletter, but never get around to it.) If you carve out the time in your schedule to learn new things, it can open you up to a whole world of great ideas.

Facilities management is such a dynamic field that being static is not an option. While the way you do things may be just fine, you’ll never know whether there’s a better method unless you try doing things a little differently. Or, as life coach Tony Robbins is famous for saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

Photo: Christian Fregnan
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published December, 2013