Every organization leans on various functions and services to provide support to the core business operations. In essence, facility management ensures that this support is available in the right form, at the right time and quality, and at the right cost.
Facility Managers are responsible for looking after all the stuff that keeps a business up and running. The most important aspect of facility management is to ensure that the working environment is safe and comfortable for the employees. Responsibilities of facility managers include a wide range of functions within their day to day role. However, these functions can vary depending on the organization the manager works and the sector within which the organization operates.
To truly understand what a facility manager does, it is better to break down their scope of work. That means taking a closer look at the most important and main functions of facilities management.
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The core objective of a facility manager is to create an accommodating and comfortable working environment for its employees. This serves many purposes, including attracting and retaining new talent, creating a positive working culture, and improving productivity and efficiency within the workplace. Facilities managers, therefore, require good leadership skills besides people management skills.
Leadership is one aspect of the role, but facility managers also provide support to employees in many ways, including:
- Coordinating desk arrangements
- Handling emergency plans and procedures
- Workload planning
- Stress, disciplinary, and grievance procedures
- Facilitating move and space utilization
Facility managers are the bridge between the workplace and the employees working within it. Each time an issue of accommodation, safety, or comfort arises, it is up to the facility manager to remedy the situation.
Health and Safety Management
Managing Health and Safety in a working environment is another domain of facilities management and the key to effectively run a department. There are many national, industrial, and global legislations that address and govern health and safety in the workplace, and one of the main functions of facilities management is to ensure compliance with these laws. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe consequences. Apart from resulting in an injury to an employee or a visitor, it can result in:
- Loss of staff
- Loss of customers
- Negative publicity
Streamlining work activities brings order to the workplace. It creates a system of expectations, which creates a balance and positively impacts that way people utilize the workplace. A workplace includes a multitude of processes, such as:
- Submitting work order requests
- Reserving unused space within the facility
- Emergency procedures planning
- Checking in guests and visitors
Streamlining several processes is also where facilities management expands its reach. Other processes that pertain to many aspects of a business involve employees, different departments, fixtures and equipment, assets, and spaces.
Managing budgets has always been time-consuming and a difficult job, whether you are facility managers or sales managers, and often the facility management team works with the Finance Department to keep track of their budgets. Depending on the industry the organization operates and the type of organization, the given budgets have to cover a wide range of aspects. Facility Managers need to be able to manage their budgets properly so that it does incur an adverse variance, where actual spendings are higher than budgeted.
Facilities Maintenance and Improvement
In essence, perhaps the most important function of facilities management is the facilities upkeep and improvement of physical buildings. In addition to tending physical buildings, it also involves cultivating partnerships, asset management, and future planning. Here are a few examples of this broad range of responsibilities:
- Maintenance of vendor contracts
- Routine repair and maintenance, and building improvements
- On and off-site property management
- Workplace cleaning and maintenance
- Workplace heating and cooling
Anything that involves physical buildings falls in the realm of facilities management. Facility managers need to convert facilities into a competitive advantage, instead of a cost center because facilities are the second-largest expense after the workforce. It’s all about ensuring that the workplace is safe and meets the needs of people using them.
Integrating Technology into Facilities Management
Technology has changed the face of facilities management. Twenty years ago, facilities maintenance tasks were managed in papers and spreadsheets, which was rather time-consuming and oftentimes racked up large cabinet files. Various functions of facilities management can now be streamlined using robust cloud-based Facility Management software applications. Besides making life easier for facility managers, such software applications save time by offering real-time data analytics by providing instant access to facility details, and emergency procedures to ensure a serene working environment for employees. Some FM software platforms help campus-based schools track complex work orders and churches manage facility rentals.
To conclude, when you combine all these functionalities, they provide a clear picture of what facility managers do. Broadly speaking, facility managers focus on optimizing the workplace to improve productivity and efficiency. But on a deeper level, it offers a company a steady foundation for success.