For facilities management specifically, social networks are an especially excellent resource.
They can help secure the safety, comfort and productivity of each person in your company.
Check out five sites that can make facilities management easier for you.
Given the vast number of people on Facebook, the site is an extremely effective means of communication.
Naomi Millàn writes in FacilitiesNet that the facilities department at Grand Valley State University created a page to alert students of construction projects and road closures, explaining how these things could disrupt their daily routines.
Today’s Facilities Manager writer Tom Condon notes that Facebook can also be used to post policies, procedures, phone numbers, etc. Since workers can turn to one place for all of this information, Condon says FMs who use the site in such a way experience a lower volume of calls and emails.
Twitter is a great way to learn news about the industry.
FMs can follow organizations like IFMA or FacilitiesNet, as well as individuals in your professional network, to gather their insights together in one convenient place.
Twitter can also be useful for updating the company during times of emergency. For example, Condon says that in spite of a power failure and dead phone lines, one FM successfully alerted workers of an oncoming tornado using Twitter.
With LinkedIn, you can easily stay in touch with contacts you meet at conferences and networking events.
Using LinkedIn groups, you can also learn from other facilities managers, contribute to discussions and discover articles that you may not find on your own.
Some of the FM-focused groups on LinkedIn include the Facilities Management Group (a private group that requires permission from the group manager to join), Facilities Management Professionals International and Facilities Management Network.
While wayfinding software can also help workers see emergency routes, a quick walk-through video of the route can be a useful reinforcement, too.
You may also want to use Youtube as a way to introduce your team and build a stronger bond between maintenance and other departments. Assuming they’re not camera-shy, you could film short videos introducing maintenance person and their areas of focus.
A visual pinboard, Pinterest allows users to collect photos and ideas in one place. For facilities managers, this photo site can be a repository for layout ideas, furniture possibilities and inspiration from the world’s coolest offices. (This may be especially useful when visiting furniture expos or design conferences.)
To use any of these social media sites successfully, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Be consistent. Launching a social media presence requires a commitment. Once you open an account, be sure to post to it consistently, even if it’s a few times a month. The whole point is to communicate better with other departments, but that purpose will be lost if there’s only silence on your end.
Be aware of a network’s nuances. Facebook is a popular site for businesses and individuals to interact, but it has different vehicles for each. Profiles are for people; pages are for businesses. Use the latter if you decide to create a Facebook for your department. It has more appropriate options for your purposes than an individual profile.
Be open to criticism. If you do post warnings about upcoming inconveniences, like Grand Valley State University did, you may experience complaints from your coworkers. Obviously, their complaints may not always be reasonable. However, don’t respond with frustration or delete the post. That may anger the poster further and prevent a productive discussion of the problem. Instead, acknowledge the comment, explain the need for the construction and apologize for the inconvenience.
Be strategic. Be careful about what you share on your social media networks. Any confidential information is out of the question. Also be sure to protect your accounts by choosing good passwords; using a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols will make your social media sites much less vulnerable.
Social media lets facilities managers collect and communicate ideas more quickly and efficiently. Whether you use it for professional enrichment or the department’s day-to-day activities, it’s a tool that can enhance your performance and delivery.
photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc