Managing facilities is about much more than physical 'things'
For office managers who work tirelessly every day to maintain facilities, it's assumed that the primary objective is to manage real, tangible, physical "things." To be sure, physical elements are one piece of the puzzle. When running an office building, it's important to have thorough knowledge of how many desks, chairs, computers, filing cabinets and other objects you have at your disposal. By keeping a good handle on all of this information, facilities managers can stay on top of their jobs on a daily basis.
But the challenges don't end there. Michel Theriault, the principal of facilities management consulting firm Strategic Advisor, explains that there's more to it than that. On his site, Managing the Built Environment, he explains that the job isn't just about managing "stuff." It's also about working with people, doing more to cultivate an environment that develops talented employees.
"This shift from the physical to the people element has been happening gradually over time in the facilities management profession, but as the cost of people, both recruitment, retention and performance, increases, our impact on the company is also increasing," Theriault wrote. "While not always measurable or clearly a direct relationship, the focus on the workplace environment has meant facility managers need more than just technical skills, and it's more than just an efficient layout - it's about employees being motivated and productive."
What can facilities managers do besides handle physical objects? There are several things. Here are a few.
Keep employees happy and productive
Work closely with department heads
Consider opinions of others
Constantly present new ideas
Work to develop talent
An office is much more than a collection of desks and chairs. It's a haven for people, and facilities managers should look to make the most of those people.