When you're managing a facility, you're managing for success and growth. However, you're also managing for safety. One of your most important roles as a facility manager is to ensure that your employees feel safe and supported in their work environment. You can do this through work space design, training, and access to safety equipment.
1. Office Spaces Should Facilitate Movement
In these days of home offices and flexible work spaces, small office cubicle areas have become more common. However, small should still be safe. As you plan your office, plan for everyday employee comfort and collaboration, but also plan for disaster. What would happen if there was a fire in this room? How easily and quickly could your employees reach the emergency exits? Take special notice of any of your employees who have mobility challenges, and ensure that their workstations are not only easily accessible every day but are easy to evacuate in case of fire.
In addition to planning for emergency traffic flow in areas with offices or cubicles, think about your open and communal work spaces as well. If your employees like to spread out in those open spaces, can people move around them, or would those sprawling chairs and couches become a hazard if people needed to evacuate the building? Plan for collaboration, but ensure that employees know that furniture must still maintain areas for movement to emergency exits.
2. Ensure Access To Equipment
Your employees not only need to be able to remove themselves from their offices and from the building safely, they also need easy access to equipment that will allow them to be safer during a minor emergency. For example, in areas where a fire could occur such as a lunchroom or a work space with machinery, staff should have easy lines of movement that allow them to access a fire extinguisher in case of a minor fire.
3. Perform Routine Maintenance
Conducting routine maintenance on your company's assets not only keeps them in good repair so that your business can function well, it also ensures that these assets do not become a safety hazard. If materials or waste products are not handled or maintained correctly, they could cause a fire at your business. By using a software program to schedule routine checks of your equipment, you're investing in the safety of your workforce.
When you schedule maintenance on your assets, remember to do the same for your fire safety equipment. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers all need to be maintained regularly.
4. Create A Consistent Routine
Of course, none of these safety routines work without training. Have regular fire drills, and make sure that your staff know about the location of the emergency equipment. Have a reporting system that's cloud-based to ensure that problems with equipment get fixed quickly and smoothly.
5. Keep Information At Your Fingertips
If it is necessary to evacuate a building or if a building is damaged, it's helpful to have all of the information about that building at your fingertips. Ensure that facilities asset information, information about work spaces, and information about employees is stored in a central system that you can access from the cloud in case of emergency.
When you're working as a facilities manager, one of your roles is to ensure that everyone in your facilities is safe. You can do this by developing strong maintenance routines for safety equipment and other equipment and by designing work spaces in a way that allows everyone to move freely from place to place, including emergency exits. If you're trying to improve your facilities routines, contact iOffice today to learn how our facilities management software can make your workplace a safer place to work.