A Day in the Life of a Modern Facilities Leader

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on March 10, 2016

As a modern facilities leader, it’s not always easy to describe what you do to your friends, family—or even the people with whom you share office space every day. For some folks, the term facilities leader conjures up images of a man in overalls, turning wrenches and replacing light bulbs. For others, it’s a sort of IT guru who oversees complex and highly technical software behind closed doors. And when you try to explain your day, you can’t help but resort to the jargon you’re accustomed to throwing about in your department. Which, to be honest, doesn’t help matters.

modern-facilites-manager.jpgThe issue is, this disconnect can cause more than simple confusion. When your co-workers don’t understand what you do, they may take your skills for granted or become frustrated when you’re unable to handle an issue they believe falls into your realm. But when everyone in your building—from the intern to the CEO—understands what you do, they can assist in helping their workspace run more effectively, efficiently and make your life easier.

In an effort to help close the gap and improve understanding, we’ve compiled this: a glimpse of a day in the life of a millennial workplace leader named Andy, who oversees a large urban coworking space.

5:30 a.m. The alarm clock rings, and Andy groggily wipes his eyes. Usually he arrives to work at 8 a.m., but today is his early day—which he schedules once a week to do a thorough walk-through of the building before everyone else arrives. He checks his iPhone and opens his integrated workplace management system app to make sure there are no emergencies, then showers, dresses, fills up his travel mug with coffee and grabs a banana for the road.

6:45 a.m. Andy pulls into the parking garage of his building. It’s still dark, and he’s one of three cars in the entire floor. He grabs his coffee, and makes his way to the elevators. Today, Andy starts his walk in the basement, other days he begins his walk on the roof. He always varies the pattern to make sure he won’t miss anything important.

As he begins his walk, he looks to make sure the generators are still functioning properly, the pipes are free of leaks and thermostats are set to the correct temperatures. He checks the bathrooms on each floor to make sure nothing is broken.

9 a.m. Andy holds a morning meeting with the heads of each of his teams—groundskeeping, custodial and maintenance—which he does at least once week. Each team lead runs through their checklist. They discuss weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. He reviews outstanding service requests listed in the service request module of the IWMS application, cleaning schedules, safety inspections and hears status updates on the current waste reduction project.

facilities-manager-working-desk.jpg10:30 a.m. It’s nearing the end of the quarter, and soon it will be time to present his budget to the C-suite. Andy spends the rest of the morning reviewing vendor reports and pricing out new options. He also takes a moment to check the space utilization reports, and discovers there is currently space for at least 10 new members. Comparing utility reports, he finds that he and his team have been able to reduce energy usage by 20 percent since last quarter, and knows the leadership team will be pleased.

Noon Andy attends a lunch meeting where he interviews a candidate for a junior FM position to help him handle his ever-growing workload. Along with managing his team of 25, he’s highly involved in hiring and onboarding new employees for his department.

1:30 p.m. Andy has been asked by the CISO to deliver a briefing on building security to all members of the coworking space. Luckily, the IWMS visitor module makes it easy for members to host clients and identify unauthorized visitors. An experienced speaker, Andy can keep the presentation fun and interesting.

3 p.m. Andy checks in on room reservations to see the large conference room is reserved for a meeting in an hour. He notices a two-day-old service request to replace a broken chair hasn’t been handled. He quickly messages the head of building maintenance, and the chair is promptly replaced before the meeting.

4:30 p.m. Before heading out for the day, Andy passes the CEO, who asks for an update on energy usage. When he tells her about the energy savings, she’s elated. She knows his work has just saved the company thousands. “You’re a rock star, Andy!” she says.

Feeling proud of his accomplishment, Andy heads for the elevator. Suddenly, he receives an alert—a pipe has burst in the basement and he’s needed immediately. On his way downstairs, he texts his girlfriend that he’ll be late for happy hour and shakes his head with a smile. As an FM, there’s never a dull moment.

Being an FM is exciting, but requires a varied skill set and technology to help. Discover what you need to make your job easier by learning how to select the ultimate IWMS tool for your building. 


Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.

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