Your role as the Facilities Manager is about blending the people, space, and workplace tools, so they all work synergistically towards meeting organizational goals. One of the most effective ways of doing so, is through FM technology such as an Integrated Workplace Management System. Since such an investment stands to affect every aspect of the facility you manage, full commitment on everyone’s part is critical. To gain such a commitment, your Facilities team must identify organizational issues and investment opportunities that enhance processes and communication. This is not just about the initial monetary investment, but more about empowering your workforce so they are in a position to not only meet individual and organizational goals, but exceed them.
Before investing in such a massive project, consider case studies of companies whose situation closely matches yours. What solutions worked for them and what did not? Which investments benefit most align with your company’s needs? What are the long and short-term benefits (and negatives)? What about the integration process- who will take care of installation, teach your workforce how to use the software, and avoid the potential disruption in workflow during installation? Careful consideration of the organization’s current business practices, as well as your vision moving forward, will help you determine if such a solution is right for you. Consider these 7 indicators when evaluating your company’s current situation and where FM technology fits in to the big picture.
1) There is Conflict Over Open Spaces
To support the growing demands of today’s mobile workforce, many businesses are moving towards more open floor plans. Shared spaces and telecommuting has become the norm. While such an approach encourages a team atmosphere where employees collaborate on projects, this adds an entirely new challenge to the Facility Manager’s job. If John leaves his desk for lunch, only to find a coworker has taken over the space upon his return, issues arise and the team culture begins to break down. When utilizing an open and shared space floor plan, it is critical your company invests in the proper tools to ensure everyone still has access to what they need, when they need it.
2) You Do Not Have a Clear Understanding as to How the Space is Being Used
Real estate represents a large portion of your company’s budget. Whether the organization’s goals are to grow and expand, or remain the same in size, it is crucial that management fully understand how their space is being employed, and how it will accommodate future needs. As employees are promoted and new employees are hired, your spatial needs can change often, with many moving parts. Through the use of space management software, Facilities Managers are able to better map out a plan moving forward, determining where adjustments should be made and if a move is in order.
3) Is the Paper Trail and Lack of Communication Hindering Your Job?
Spreadsheets, phone calls, and emails. Are you being bombarded with requests from every direction and in every form? With so much to keep up with and no solid system in place to record it all, important tasks are bound to fall through the cracks, causing organizational dissention.
One of the most important aspects to your job is to ensure the workforce (and you) has all the tools they need for maximized productivity. If your team is still using antiquated methods such as spreadsheets and emails to assign tasks and update on progress, it may be time to update the company’s technology. It is your job to stay apprised of the latest technology, helping your team stay connected through real-time information, open communication, and mobile options. Without these tools, achieving goals is, at best, stifled.
4) Is Your Workforce Facing Unnecessary Downtime?
If the air conditioning goes out, or the Internet connection is not equipped to handle all of the business’ needs, downtime occurs and valuable productivity is lost. Your workforce will become frustrated and the company’s bottom line will suffer.
While some obstacles are unavoidable, it is important your Facilities Team keep them to a minimum. The most effective way to achieve this is through routine maintenance of already established equipment, as well as careful planning and attention to detail for all new implementations. Facility Maintenance software provides users the ability to create service tickets and offers detailed information on the servicing, maintenance, and location of all company assets. Automated service tickets add more peace of mind, allowing your Facilities Team to focus on other important aspects of the business. Not only will the company’s bottom line be improved because of decreased downtime, energy costs will likely decrease as well, as equipment runs at maximum efficiency.
5) Your Data Comes From Disparate Systems and Offers No Real Transparency into Organizational Needs
One of the best ways to determine if your company is on the path to reaching goals is through the collection of data. For many companies, however, this information is pulled from multiple resources, with no real process in place for data analysis. Such information offers no real value unless it can be pooled together and analyzed, offering full visibility into the company’s position. Abandoning each department’s software system is likely not the answer, as it would cause unnecessary downtime and dissension. An integrated system, however, can merge all data into one dashboard, offering your team the information needed to identify the key areas that might need work.
6) Are Mobility Needs Being Met?
Technology’s mobile options are allowing employees to work on the move, adding a new dynamic to the “workspace.” Such mobility increases creativity and collaboration, as employees are free to move about the building. The more companies embrace the idea of telecommuting and offer their employees freedom, their spatial needs are diminished, while productivity is positively impacted.
Increased productivity and decreased facility costs is what every FM is striving for. But how do you ensure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information, receives important notices in a timely manner, and has access to the office space they need, when they need it? For many, FM software, with complementing mobile applications keeps everyone moving in the right direction.
7) Your Company is Able to Attract Top Talent, but Retention has Become a Challenge
Attracting the most talented employees is only half the battle. Once you have them through the door, it is important you give them a reason to stay, which means offering them the workplace culture and tools they require for success. Hopefully, you have a very diverse group of individuals, as diversity sparks innovation. It does, however, make your job of identifying the right tools to accommodate your workforce that much harder. If your company still relies on outdated methodologies and information systems, it is likely you will lose key employees to company XYZ who invests in the cutting edge of technology. Attracting and retaining top talent and leading your team to success requires a progressive attitude and a willingness to branch out into unknown territory.
The Facilities Manager’s job is about empowering their people and accommodating their workspace needs. First, you must establish a level of trust, so that they not only know you have their best interests at heart, but are also there to listen when issues/needs arise. Communicate with all members of your team, as they can offer the best analysis of the organization and what tools are needed to be successful. If you found yourself relating to many of these topics mentioned above, it is time to explore Facilities Management software and what role it can play in your company’s success.