The FM Professional

Common HR Issues That Directly Impact Facility Managers

Nick Mason
January 26th, 2017
office employees having a meeting

While HR oversees various aspects of employment, and facilities management deals with workspace design and physical resources, the two departments share the same unifying focus: addressing employees’ needs.

Oftentimes, one department’s action (or inaction) impacts the other. Let’s look at a few HR issues that can directly affect your work as a facility manager.


New hires

two employees looking at a computer

Onboarding new employees is primarily the responsibility of the HR director, but this process also requires the involvement of a facility manager.

You’ll need to work with HR as well as the employee’s supervisor to determine desk placement and security access setup (which may include both physical and IT security). You might also be expected to handle workplace safety practices, such as updating the employee evacuation plan or training the new hire on office safety procedures. To make sure you don’t overlook anything, have a process or checklist in place for new employees.

Company culture

office employees sitting on the ground

Maintaining a positive, respectful and professional work environment may fall under the HR umbrella, but as you know, the office space can have a significant impact on mood and productivity.

Many organizations today are progressively changing their office spaces to reflect their values.

From boutique decor to flex spaces to in-house yoga studios, workspace design influences the overall culture of a company. As a FM, you’re constantly seeking ways to increase productivity, satisfaction and creativity in the work environment. If you’ve noticed that your organization’s culture has suffered, you can work with HR to determine what changes can be made to the workspace to encourage creativity and improve morale.

Flexible work arrangements

office employee using a laptop

In the past few years, flexible work arrangements have become a common presence in modern offices. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics, nearly 3% of the American workforce choose to work from home half the time. While these arrangements are put in place by HR, a facility manager will need to help with seating arrangements.

As you’re responsible for space management, you can collaborate with HR on the most suitable workspace for remote employees.

For example, flexible seating like hot desks are ideal for workers who don’t require a permanent space. By using a space management tool, you can view which desks are available and allow employees to book one whenever they’re in the office.

The key thread that connects each of these issues is communication. The more HR and facilities management work together, the more effective issue resolution and office changes will be. A system where the HR director can send advance notice of any requests to the facility manager is crucial. As the FM, you’ll need to respond efficiently to ensure that the work environment remains comfortable and productive for everyone.

Photos: Tim Gouw, Startup Stock Photos, bikeriderlondon /, Bench Accounting