Beware! The top 8 Scary Terms Facility Managers Hate (And why)

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on October 30, 2014

As the Facility Managers, you’ve heard it all before. “I don’t care how it gets done, just make it happen.” “I know you’re already working on a tight budget, but we’re working with even less next year.” The Executives, IT and HR—they all need your assistance and every task you perform directly affects the company’s bottom-line. So, let’s face about those dreaded terms every FM cringes when they hear and the details behind each one.

1) Budget Cuts

It doesn’t matter how long your company has been in business, what industry you are a part of or your Beware of the top 8 scary terms FMs hateexperience level in the FM field, you will never escape the dreaded term “budget cuts.”
From determining how to fit more workers into less space to reducing facility maintenance costs, budgetary slashes are an integral part of your job. While getting the C-suite onboard with management tools such as IWMS may prove quite challenging, investment in the proper solutions will help gather the necessary data to identify what adjustments are necessary to maximize on your resources and ensure the entire facility is running at top speed.

2) Help Desk

Managing an organization requires building solid relationships with the IT department, collaborating with them on what software and technology is right for every member of the company. IT is responsible for ensuring everyone receives the technical support they need and are often set in their ways. Their Help Desk software tools perform all necessary tasks and they feel work order requests should funnel through this same system. While this is an effective solution for managing and tracking all technical aspects, it is typically limited specifically to IT metrics. The analytics your team must examine go well beyond Help Desk capabilities and additional resources are required for your team to properly manage and analyze. While you might be able to manipulate IT’s Help Desk to track facilities related metrics, a more viable option is to choose a FM software solution that is compatible with current software and automates communication between the two systems each. Initial integration may be a little time-consuming, but the added benefits far outweigh any associated upfront costs. As processes your IT team is involved in are automated and improved, they will likely thank you.

3) Sustainability Goals

Consciousness surrounding reducing energy costs and our environmental footprint has increased over the last decade. Facilities are realizing the benefits of “going green” expand beyond Mother Nature and funnel right back into company profits. Such awareness has led to sustainability initiatives including recycling projects, decreased energy consumption, and investing in environmentally friendly products. While such projects will have lasting effects on both the environment and the company’s budget, such a venture is quite the undertaking, typically requiring additional funds during initial investment.

4) Track Assets

Your organization invests a large portion of its annual budget on assets. From IT equipment to furniture and trash bags, details regarding every resource are critical to the Facilities team, as they are expected to calculate costs associated with initial investments, maintenance, and productivity downtime associated with repairs. Tracking such data can prove quite challenging, particularly with the added element of employee mobility. Investment in asset tracking tools provides management efficiency, providing data about what physical assets are owned and/or leased, costs associated with each item (both initial and maintenance), as well as their location, who is using the asset and their performance. Not only do employees have the ability to locate needed equipment with ease, the facilities team is able to perform key metrics to help determine equipment performance and forecast issues, heading off any downtime before it occurs.

5) Workplace of the Future

Today’s Facilities Manager is facing unprecedented workplace challenges. FM teams have always been charged with the task of ensuring each employee has access to the tools they are comfortable with, in a setting that supports productivity. But with 4 very different generations all working under one roof, this role proves more demanding than ever before. Workspaces are undergoing redesign projects with the current workforce in mind, but management must also look ahead to future employee needs, which are sure to evolve. Pioneers in the FM field recognize that the workspace is an open range, the possibilities endless. Space management software enlightens your team as to how real estate is currently being used and where adjustments can be made. Move management tools offer support in creating scenarios in which the space can be transformed to fit current needs, yet easily adaptable to future needs. While we may not have a crystal ball, collected data and communication with staff provide Facilities Management with the tools they need to support the evolving workplace.

6) Employee Retention

While your title may not reflect it, the Facilities Manager is an honorary member of the HR team. Part of that role is ensuring the workplace is appealing to top talent. And since employee-related costs represent a large portion of the company budget, it is just as important that you retain such talent. This goes back to the workplace environment, which includes being apprised of the latest technological tools and implementation of policies such as Social Media. There is no software platform that can guarantee employee retention; it requires taking the time to communicate and understand the staff and their needs, acknowledging and embracing their differences and what drives them. Each member of your company’s team adds value to the organization and it is your job to ensure they receive the support they require.

7) Real Time

Historically, important information such as employee location, productivity, space utilization, and asset management were collected and maintained on spreadsheets. Each time a change was made, the spreadsheet was updated and shared with all involved parties. This antiquated method left much room for error as it was reliant on all parties to communicate with each other immediately when changes occurred. Emergencies arose, meetings occurred, and employees went out on sick leave or vacation, often leading to spreadsheets being overlooked. Executives and Facilities Managers must often make split decisions, making access to real time information critical. An IWMS tool eliminates any mistakes and avoids the redundancy of multiple users having to enter the same information across multiple platforms. All users can gain access to the most up-to-date data at a moment’s notice, ensuring decisions are made with the most relevant data.

8) Integrated Workplace Management System

With so many details regarding the organization to manage, there is no denying that a FM software tool is a valuable resource. Overwhelmed with the multiple tasks you already have to manage, how are you to find time to sift through all the details surrounding a FM software investment? With so many options available, it is critical to involve the right people throughout the planning and decision-making process. But who should be involved? What questions should be answered? And how do you know what decision is right for your company, both now and looking to the future? Our ebook 8 Practical Guidelines to Evaluating Facilities Management Software is a great resource for answering many of these questions. Once you have determined the best fit for your company, you now face the all-important task of convincing the C-suite of its necessity. Often taking on the oral of the unsung hero, you know you will hear all about it if things do not go as planned! Trust in yourself, the process, research, and communicate and you will find yourself armed with the tool that leads your company to places you never before envisioned.

The Facilities Manager faces multiple challenges in a workday, each equally as important as the next. With so many looking to you for guidance and support, it is critical you face each day with enthusiasm. But with much of the organization’s success riding on the decisions you make, that responsibility can sometimes rest heavy on your shoulders. What are your cringe-worthy terms and how often do you face them on a typical day?


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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