To Outsource or Not to Outsource? The Tasks FMs Should Keep In-House

Office team in a meeting going over business details and tasks

Effective outsourcing can free facility managers to create a competitive advantage for their company while retaining ownership over the tasks they do best. Determining which tasks to contract out and which ones to keep in-house can be a challenging process—FMs need to have a strong understanding of both their team’s strengths and their organization’s wider objectives to strike the right balance. With the goal of making outsourcing a breeze, here are a few guidelines to help you weigh when to outsource and when to lean in.

Know Your Wheelhouse

Tasks that are central to the company’s strategy or are already done effectively by the facility management team should stay in-house. This may seem obvious, but there is still some skill involved getting in-house projects right.

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As FM, you need to understand your company’s business strategy, your own facility management strategy and how well your team performs specific tasks. Does keeping a quarterly security systems review in-house save you from going over budget? Do you have a team member who’s HVAC certified? Relying on existing skill sets means you’ll need adapt when your team changes over time, but data tracking and clear on-boarding processes can go a long way to mitigating talent turnover. Make use of specialized tools like the OfficeSpace integrated workplace management system to help measure and gauge the effectiveness of your existing in-house procedures.

Clear communication is another key component when aligning with wider company goals. Connect with other departments to stay up-to-date on their facility needs, and ensure you’re receiving strategy insights from your company’s management. Having a long view into budgets and objectives will let you balance costs, priorities and personnel when keeping the appropriate resources and tasks in-house.

Finally, is there a specific branch of facility management you simply enjoy doing? Consider keeping it in-house: there’s a lot to be said for rewarding yourself and your team with the roles and tasks they like best.

Outsource Specialized Tasks

Contractor hired to outsource specialized tasks

Highly-specialized tasks such as safety inspections, regular janitorial services or major renovations will likely benefit from being outsourced. A simple costs analysis can help here: keeping specialized tasks in-house may require you to invest in expensive tools and training that won’t be used very often, if at all. These investments of time and resources will also take employees away from their main tasks and create new requirements like storage or regular training. When these factors stack up, it’s time to look for a new solution.

Contractors, on the other hand, will have the particular skills required to complete more complicated tasks and can act as reliable experts in their fields. With clear scopes of work in place, they will be able to give you more accurate data around timelines, costs and hurdles for major tasks. Elevator maintenance, fire alarm systems testing and extinguisher checks, pest control and steam trap maintenance are all areas where an outside contractor can save your team both resources and time.

It’s especially important to outsource tasks to experts when it comes to compliance and regulation-based maintenance.

Safety inspections and environmental protections may even legally require a licensed professional contractor—it won’t be news to FMs that remaining current on local legislation is a key component to maintaining a safe and operationally-sound company.

Take Advantage of Change

One strategic approach to outsourcing is to couple it with a larger company change. Whether paired with an office move or a renovation, outsourcing can be communicated alongside simpler messaging like where to find the fourth floor kitchen and how to access the new elevator.

Employees may struggle to focus and adapt to new processes and training if they still have to manage their older processes at the same time. A company-wide shift can be an opportune time to bring in contractors to take part of the workload while teams go through the change process.

Ride the Wave of Collaboration

Office team collaborating in a project

Working with external contractors can bring FMs a new opportunity to build creative partnerships. Projects like an office redesign or boiler replacement can benefit from having a contractor’s fresh ideas alongside the practical experience of your company’s in-house team. Team members can take the opportunity to learn from the contractors and vice versa. Collaboration doesn’t absolve FMs of the need to set clear boundaries and goals while being great mediators between teams, but it does open up new possibilities for optimizing your facilities management.

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Outsourcing can ultimately make a team more nimble and versatile while they work on the tasks they excel at. FMs should tap into outside help when they’re looking for a new perspective, taking on a specialized project or preparing their team for a big upcoming change.

Looking for the tools to track your facilities management processes and get a bird’s-eye view of your upcoming outsourcing needs? OfficeSpace can help with that; request a demo and let us show you how.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / g-stockstudio, Pexels / rawpixel, Shutterstock / Standret