9 Resolutions Every Facility Manager Should Consider For 2015

by James McDonald on December 31, 2014

It’s that time of year again. The New Year is upon us and we must all take a moment to examine our personal lives and resolve to make the most of the coming year. From losing weight and exercising more, to fostering those friendships you’ve neglected all year, your resolution list is indicative of where you feel your personal life needs attention.

While a majority of us will create a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015, many fail to address what areas of their professional lives need attention. As a workspace manager, you likely spend much of your day putting out fires, seeing projects through to completion, and ensuring you have armed your workforce with the necessary tools for a healthy, productive environment. Even if your facility is running smoothly, there is always room for improvement. There is no better time to examine company procedures and make professional resolutions for the coming year.

9-FM-RESOLUTIONSTo identify projects that might need the most attention, begin by creating a list of organizational priorities. What is the current budgetary status? Have you reached quarterly and annual goals? What are the new long and short-term goals? Are there any immediate concerns carried over from last year? What core business functions need restructuring and have you prioritized them? After careful analysis and answering of some tough questions, Facilities Managers can create an attainable list of their New Year’s resolutions. The following might be a great place to start:

1) Set aside time to strategize and plan. Many FM titles today reflect the need to strategize. From implementation of new software tools to workspace redesigns, FM professionals must be adept at collecting data and developing a plan from all pulled information. Develop a strategy that clearly identifies specifics regarding the who, what, when, how, and why of your company’s goals. Such a plan will help you start the year off on the right path and will help you keep your entire workforce on the same page regarding organizational goals.

2) Create standard reporting procedures. While the executives may not have asked for it, adopting a standard for reporting provides you valuable insight into various departments and procedures. Develop a scorecard to help you measure progress for all areas of responsibility including budget analysis, as well as core facility functions. This will help eek out any concerns, allow you to shift focus when needed and help you ensure your 2015 goals are managed, tracked, and achieved. Be sure resorting is laid out in a language everyone can understand, painting a clear picture for the C-suite regarding your need for additional resources, investment in new tools, etc.

3) Take the time to listen more. While you are likely ion your position due to experience and knowledge, there is no way for you to know everything about facilities management. There are simply too many details and the profession is too complex for any one person to know it all. Spend some time networking with the community of FM professionals, read blogs, and attend conferences. You might be surprised to hear your colleague’s experiences and what solutions worked for them.

Along with your colleagues, it pays to listen to your employees who are on the front-line, working with the tools, products and services day in and day out. Additionally, contracted workers may offer valuable advice pertaining to how equipment is operating and maintained. Pull knowledge from every resource you can; it only stands to make you a more informed and well-rounded manager.

4) Examine organizational procedures and ensure each department’s roles are clear. You are overseeing a huge project that spans multiple departments. While each department plays an important role, the lines are often blurred in a projects of this magnitude. As the manager, it is your job to ensure each department has a clear understanding of the project’s overall goal, as well as the role they play. Communication is key, so make sure an interdepartmental tool is implemented so the right hand always knows what the left hand is doing.

5) Encourage additional training for your staff and provide them the tools and time they need to do so. The truth is, we are in a constant state of change. Those who wish to be successful professionally, regardless of their chosen career, must consistently seek out new knowledge. Hopefully you have built a solid support team, so encourage them to learn and grow. Give them the training and education needed to help them achieve both individual and team goals, solidifying your entire team’s success. Remember, the greatest of leaders lead by example, so be sure to continually educate yourself as well.  

6) Focus on finding ways to advance your career. The FM’s role is often that of the unsung hero. Whether you manage a small office or a global corporation, you have a laundry list of duties. As long as everything is going smoothly, you go quietly about your day. But when things go awry, everyone turns to you first. As you go about leading your organization to success this year, focus on ways to ensure your voice is not only heard, but recognized. Develop a positive image for yourself and promote not only your successes, but how you maneuvered setbacks as well. “Develop your skills in presenting and writing and then use those skills, along with solid evidence of your department’s success and value, to convince others in your organization that facilities is an important part of the company.” –Michel Theriault

7) Reduce costs. Obviously, cutting costs and increasing the company’s revenue is always a goal. But examining organizational procedures carefully can aid you in your cost-cutting initiative, revealing options your team might not have thought of. In the past, companies did not adhere to a regular maintenance program for facility equipment. When something broke, the contractor was called in to fix it. Many companies are now realizing the benefit to creating a maintenance schedule for all facility equipment. “Did you know that the average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dust, dirt, and allergens in its ventilation system each year? As a result, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling is wasted. Just imagine all the money lost in an average-sized manufacturing facility!” That old adage “you have to spend money to make money” comes to mind here. Along with the money saved in energy costs and replacement of damaged equipment, organizations save on downtime and productivity lost when equipment fails.  

8) Be more organized. Efficiency is key for every facility’s success. This means scrutinizing company policies, eliminating unnecessary, redundant steps. If you have an unorganized, messy workspace, the facility inevitably follows, becoming “organized chaos.” Make it a point this coming year to keep your space more in order and the rest will follow suit.  

9) Invest in a Facilities Management Software solution. Remember we discussed that sometimes you have to spend money to make money? Investment in a FM software solution such as IWMS is sure to help you and your Facility manager team reach company goals and fulfill each resolution on your list. Dashboard reporting provides you the necessary data to strategize and identify aspects of the organization that need work. Communication is seamless, ensuring each employee, spanning every department, is on the same page. If you have not considered FM software for your company, make a point to start research and open up a dialogue with executives regarding future investment.

How often have you started a New Year with intentions of meeting every one of your resolutions, only to find them a distant memory just a few short months later? We are all guilty of it. Regardless of what you resolve to accomplish this year, make a point to follow through. Write your professional goals down and keep the list handy as a reminder. If you start early and remain diligent, you stand to deliver results that you, your staff, and the company can celebrate.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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