Facility Manager Communication Tips for Promoting a Healthy Workplace

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager

Facility managers are a central point of contact for building issues, space planning, and workplace data analysis. This means being able to communicate clearly company leaders, employees, vendors, and visitors It’s no surprise “good communication skills” top most facility manager job postings.

Frictionless communication is key. This goes beyond what you say and how you say it. In the age of multiple communication channels, a multigenerational workforce, and fast-paced work environments, good communication is equal parts effort and strategy.

Here are a few tips for facilitating clear and honest two-way communication in the workplace:

Create strong communication channels

Technology is your friend. Harness it and use it to develop robust facilities management communication strategies. Namely, set up communication channels that make it easy for people to report issues or submit requests.

  • Email: Answer emails within 24 hours to develop a communicative rapport with staff.
  • Messaging: Whether you use Google Chat, Slack, Messenger, or another platform, maintain activity during work hours with push notifications enabled.
  • Forms: Great for feedback, suggestions, and reporting problems. Make sure there’s a framework for follow-up.
  • Phone: Put your extension in your email and on materials relating to facilities management. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone when it rings.

The result is simple: make yourself easy to reach and respond as quickly as possible.

Establish routines and processes

Good facility manager communication depends on a sound framework. Communication routines and processes bring stability to your role. And, they help people you’re communicating with understand what to expect.

Take email, for example. Read and reply to messages two to three times per day—first thing in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day. If employees know they can email in the morning and get a reply by lunch or email at the end of the day and get a reply first thing in the morning, it sets realistic expectations.

Another example is form submission and follow-up. Build forms to encourage good communication from employees. Sort forms into your inbox, so they’re organized by the nature of the submission, time, department, etc. From there, develop processes for handling submissions—address the issue directly or pass it on to another department.

Developing routines and processes for communication makes it easier to stay on top of inquiries and ensure they get the attention they deserve.

Be direct and to-the-point

A general rule of interpersonal communication—one that’s especially important for facilities managers—is being succinct. Don’t mince words or overcomplicate things. There’s much less chance for miscommunication if you eliminate excess, potentially confusing information. You’ll develop a reputation for being helpful and the authority on workplace operations. And, if you don’t have the answer someone is looking for, point them in the direction of someone who does.

Strengthen interpersonal communication

Face-to-face communication is just as important as email, messaging, and other forms of digital contact. Some of the best communication tips for facilities managers are the ones you can practice in everyday interactions:

  • Be positive: Negativity stunts communication. Maintain a positive air to encourage honesty and comfort for employees who are voicing concerns.
  • Be responsive: Validate conversations in a meaningful way that shows the other party you were listening—whether it’s restating their concerns or proactively addressing their issues.
  • Be respectful: People want to be heard. Listen, engage, and empathize. That speaks volumes when it comes to respect.
  • Be reliable: Be reachable and approachable. If people can count on you, they’ll talk to you.
  • Be exemplary: Set the standard for communication in your workplace. Set the example you want people to follow in terms of quality communication.

A facility manager is the voice of the workplace. Make your voice heard through interactive technologies and responsive interactions. Creating strong communication channels help employees feel heard, respected, and valued.

Keep reading: multigenerational workforce checklist


Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash



Eight Essential Hot Desking Tips

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

Hot desks are a hot commodity in many modern workplaces. Employees appreciate the freedom and diversity of hot desk workstations, while facility managers recognize them as a smart way to utilize office space and improve workplace flexibility.

A few simple hot desking tips go a long way in guaranteeing their success. If you already have hot desks in your office or are considering a few of these flexible workstations, take a look at these eight tips for successful hot desking (read more on what is hot desking):

  1. Balance capacity: Converting 100% of your workstations to hot desks will create more problems than it solves. Focus on balancing capacity by evaluating workplace metrics like occupancy, space utilization rates, and productivity benchmarks. Find the balance between static workstations and hot desks to ensure you can accommodate both at utilization levels appropriate to your workplace.
  2. Diversify workstations: For employees, hot desks are unique. Diversify hot desks by location, atmosphere, and amenities. This encourages employees to choose spaces most conducive to their mood and workflow on a particular day.
  3. Provide resources: Every hot desk should be different, but all of them need baseline resources for efficient, effective use. A desk and chair are good starting points. Provide phones, ethernet access ports, Wi-Fi relays, and computers where needed. And don’t forget about the small things like outlets and lighting.
  4. Get IT coordinated: An often-overlooked part of hot desk set up is coordinating IT services. How can you manage hot desking if workstations aren’t networked? Ensure workstations have appropriate network access—computers, VoIP phones, networked devices, etc.
  5. Centralize check-in: Hot desks can quickly go from convenient to chaos if not centrally managed. Create a system for delegating available space, tracking desk occupancy, and locating employees. Centralized management prevents overbooking, space conflicts, and problems locating employees.
  6. Encourage etiquette: Set etiquette standards for hot desks. Usage rules keep hot desks appealing, welcoming, and comfortable for every employee. Institute policies for cleanliness and behavior, as well as variables like noise. Making employees responsible for their space—even if just for a day—promotes pride of ownership and respect for fellow employees.
  7. Get feedback: Measure the appeal of your hot desks through continuous employee feedback. What do workers love about the hot desking arrangement? What do they hate? How can workstations be better? Understanding the role hot desks play in everyday office productivity is the key to unlocking the full potential of these versatile workstations. And, with solid feedback you can make adjustments to improve the appeal and effectiveness of hot desks.
  8. Monitor utilization: Hot desks aren’t a “set it and forget it” workplace variable. They need to be monitored. Use utilization data to determine who’s using these desks, how often, for how long, and to what benefit. Remember, hot desks are meant to improve workspace utilization. If desks are underutilized, figure out why. It could be a case of having a disproportionate number of desks. Or, it may be how your hot desks are structured. Without utilization data, you can’t make positive changes.

If managed properly and continually monitored for improvement opportunities, hot desks can be a superb addition to the modern workplace. Follow the above eight tips for developing a flexible, grounded framework for hot desks.

Keep reading: how to prevent hot desking problems


What Facility Managers Can Learn from the Best Places to Work

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

Businesses like Google, Facebook, Huffington Post, and Urban Outfitters are consistently praised for their innovative workplaces. Unsurprisingly, they’re also consistently ranked for employee satisfaction and career quality. It’s a correlation that’s causing many businesses to take a closer look at what these brands are doing right. They’re asking a simple question: What can facility managers can learn from the best places to work?

Drilling down into the specifics of what makes these workplaces unique is an encompassing task. What many facilities managers are discovering is that no one thing sets them apart. Instead, it’s how they cohesively leverage the factors that make a great workplace.

  1. Culture: The best companies to work for are the ones with ingrained culture. Employees want to come to work because they enjoy the atmosphere. They feel empowered by their office design, are comfortable with their workspace, feel welcome amongst peers, and are recognized as individual, respected workers.
  2. Floor plan: Office layout plays a tremendous role in how a workplace ecosystem functions. The best companies have designed their workplaces at a fundamental level, using floor plans that promote an ideal work environment. The decision to choose an open office floor plan vs. individual offices isn’t an accident. Incorporation of neighborhoods, hot desks, and flexible workspaces isn’t happenstance. Effective floor plans are conducive to the type of work environment a company is trying to build.
  3. Resources and equipment: Top-tier workplaces are built for productivity. Imagine not being able to find a project screen in a Google conference room or a laptop docking station at Facebook. These companies take stock of what employees need and provide them throughout the workplace. Essential resources and equipment are part of a productive workspace.
  4. Furnishings: There are infinite variations of desks, chairs, tables, and other office furniture. Choosing the right furnishings for your office is no small task. Consider variables like comfort, size and price, color, material, and functional features. From traditional desks to untraditional furnishings like a hammock, consider what makes sense for your workplace.
  5. Artistic features: Art is something you’ll find in every innovative workplace. Art is about more than décor or breaking up white space on the walls. It’s about creating an atmosphere and giving the workplace personality. Art bridges the gap between a standard workplace and one based on comfort. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures, or modern art fixtures, introduce art to your workplace.
  6. Workspaces: Successful facilities management is about making the most of the space you have. No space is more important than the individual workstations where work actually gets done. It’s no surprise the world’s top companies focus extensively on developing workspaces to foster productivity and positivity.
  7. Philosophies: What’s the philosophy of your workplace? Top companies have something that governs their workplace vision. It could be modern minimalism. Or, it might be a biophilic design or an intangible concept like Feng Shui. Whatever design philosophy speaks to your company and culture, make sure it governs everything about your workplace. Anchoring everything to a common concept creates a cohesive workplace that simply feels right.
  8. Well-being: Leading companies are sensitive to the mental and physical well-being of employees. Asana provides nap rooms. Google offers in-house guitar lessons. Microsoft holds Zumba classes. Facilities, activities, and attitudes all contribute to better work wellness. Taking stock of employee well-being can boost morale, productivity, and engagement.

Your company doesn’t have to be as big as Amazon, as techy as Facebook, or as freewheeling as Airbnb to create a workplace employees can’t stop raving about. Focus on individual factors that contribute to success and deploy them in your own workplace.

Keep reading: ways to enhance workplace wellbeing.


Eight Facilities Manager Interview Questions

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

Looking for a new facilities manager? Quizzing candidates is your prime opportunity to gauge whether they’re qualified, competent, invested, and motivated—provided you’re asking the right facilities manager interview questions.

high performing workplace tips

Beyond the usual queries about a person’s character and work experience, hiring the right facilities manager requires a few more targeted questions. Here are eight to consider when interviewing candidates:

1. What’s your experience with facilities metrics and data?

Facilities managers need to know their way around workplace data. This includes collecting, aggregating, managing, analyzing, and reporting it. Insights about cost, space utilization, and productivity will highlight how a candidate will fuel decision-making about workplace development and growth.

2. Do you have experience with workplace IoT products?

Smart offices are the way of the future. Whether you have a growing Internet of Things (IoT) or are planning a foray into smart office technologies, your new facility manager should be knowledgeable of the IoT.

Ask about the types of devices they’ve worked with and the depth of their experience. Inquire about the IoT devices or ecosystem that intrigue them and what practical utilization they see for these technologies. The more familiar they are with the office IoT, the higher on your hiring board they’ll climb.

3. What’s your familiarity with crisis management?

Facility managers should be natural leaders—individuals who can plan, delegate, and problem solve in critical situations. Ask candidates what experience they have with crisis management planning for incidents like fires, power outages, inclement weather, and active shooter situations. How do they handle plan creation and dissemination? Have they ever had to execute a plan beyond drills and, if so, what did they learn?

4. What is your approach to facility maintenance, both proactive and reactive?

This question is your opportunity to see how a candidate confronts adversity. What’s their solution to preventing common problems and staying on top of routine facility demands? How do they deal with emergent situations that require multi-step solutions?

Pay attention to answers about automation or process creation. This shows how adept candidates are at controlling problems. Put a star next to any candidate that talks about past experiences with facility issues, such as collecting bids from contractors, developing maintenance budgets, or overseeing a temporary displacement of workers.

Ideally, you’re looking for a candidate who understands the ebb and flow of facilities maintenance. Smart facilities managers know they’re charged with managing an ecosystem that needs constant oversight, not just a building.

5. Are you familiar with any FM technologies?

Having some exposure to FM technologies is increasingly important. Are candidates familiar with any of the following:

  • Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS)
  • Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM)
  • Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)

Go even deeper. Ask how they’ve previously managed facilities data and resources like floor plans or employee directories. Gauge their willingness to learn a new system, especially if they’ll be pioneering it in your workplace. Your search should land on someone who’s familiar with FM software (learn more on selecting the best facility management software), open to learning, and adept at using tech on a growing scale.

6. What’s a facilities manager’s most important role?

This subjective question is another that’ll clue you into the mindset of a potential new FM hire. It’ll also give you some indication about how they’ll approach their work.

For example, a candidate might say “minimizing expenditures,” showing a fiscal approach to facilities management. Another might say “reducing friction among employees,” indicating an emphasis on the human element of the workplace.

There’s no wrong answer to this question, just ones that help you learn more about your candidate and their approach to the job.

7. What’s your five-year vision for this job?

If your interest is piqued by a candidate’s candor, consider this question. It’s a gateway into their logical process for the future and what they plan to contribute to your company long-term. A candidate that’s invested in the position (not just a job) will shed light on how they hope to improve your business or add value.

8. How do you believe facility management impacts company goals?

This is a great closing question. It prompts a big-picture answer about the role of facilities management in the overall success of a company. Look for answers that describe the workplace’s ability to empower employees or its relationship to company finances, both in costs and how it generates revenue. Single out candidates who recognize connections to all aspects of business and who can explain those connections clearly.

These questions are a good cross-section of purposeful inquiries designed to help you find a well-qualified candidate who’s invested in your company and the position—not just the paycheck and the title.

Keep reading: the four most important facility costs to track and manage.

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How to Make an Old Office Look Modern: Facility Makeover Tips

By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist

Hip and trendy companies are taking over old workplaces for the classical architecture and distinguished feel of the spaces. But these elements only go so far in creating functional workplaces. The key is discovering how to make an old office look modern for that perfect juxtaposition between classic appeal and modern feel.

While we don’t recommend covering up that original brick wall or drywalling over exposed beams, there are a few simple tricks to blending old and new, traditional with contemporary. Here’s how to bridge the gap between your aged workplace and the modern office workers want:

  1. Update fixtures: Lighting and exposed ductwork are prime candidates for updates in an office inching toward modernization. Ditch the fluorescent bulbs for softer LEDs and swap worn-out fixtures for modern, minimalist accents that compliment the space. If you choose to keep HVAC ducting exposed, powder coat it for a decorative effect.
  2. Add tech: The fastest way to make an office look modern is to roll out technology upgrades. Televisions and mounted video screens make a big impression. A laptop or tablet charging dock can influence the nature of the space. For a broader impression, digital wayfinding is both practical and appealing. You can even add exposed network cabling overhead for full tech effect.
  3. Bring in greenery: Biophilic design is a major element in modern offices. It’s also a superb way to bridge an older workplace atmosphere and modern design themes. Add live greenery throughout the office in the form of floor and table plants. If possible, hang a few baskets of non-flowering plants throughout the office. Plants balance mood, lighten the color palate, and even help purify the air.
  4. Introduce art: Pick an art theme and go wild in your workplace makeover. Whether you choose eclectic, surreal, modern, industrial, or classical art, scatter wall décor throughout the workplace. The workplace of the past may have had barren white walls; the workplace of today should be anything but.
  5. Lose the walls: Speaking of walls, if you don’t need them, knock them down. Not only will you gain newfound square footage, you’ll shift closer to a modern workplace aesthetic. It’s a big task that’ll cost money, but opening up your floor plan definitely screams modern office.
  6. Choose a minimalist theme: Like picking art, settle on an office design theme and stick to it in a minimalist way. For example, choose modular furniture with clean lines or industrial accents based on the aesthetic that suits your brand. Going overboard can leave you with a workplace that feels cluttered. Stick to simple accents and build a cohesive theme.
  7. Accent texture: Texture is readily present in old office spaces—it just needs accenting in a modern way. Create focal points with brick walls, exposed architecture, or original features. Accent brick with a subtle carpet pattern or offset exposed steel with leather furniture. Combining and accenting textures is a beautiful way to bridge an old workplace with new concepts.
  8. Consider color: Color is crucial. Whether you choose to focus on your brand’s colors or have a different palate in mind, pick accents that inspire. Find cohesion by hanging red art on a cream brick wall, putting blue furniture on a beige carpet, or painting walls purple to offset black and steel architecture. Color binds the many elements of your workplace together and can be the key in reinvigorating it.
  9. Try window treatments: Window treatments are a great design element in their own right. They’re also seen as a modern touch. Install blinds or cellular shades to add a nice contemporary look to your workplace. As part of a full facility makeover, window treatments have the transformative ability to turn the clock forward.
  10. Put comfort first: Antiquated office spaces don’t have a reputation for being comfortable. Specifically focusing on comfort in your workplace breaks that stigma. Invest in comfy furniture, ergonomic desks, and informal environments where employees can de-stress. Comfort adds a modern touch few individual design elements can by themselves.
  11. Keep it clean: Regardless of the changes you make, ensure your workplace is always clean. Disorganized or cluttered workplaces quickly lose their appeal, which can drag down the atmosphere. If there are older elements in your space, the clutter may magnify them, leading to an overall feeling of dinginess. Keep in mind, clean is a connotation of “modern.”

Short of taking a wrecking ball to your office, there’s not a lot you can do about the building materials and architecture. To bring your antiquated workplace into the modern era, you’ll need to focus on the design elements you do have control over. Keep the above tips in mind as you strive to make an old office look modern.

Keep reading: what are the modern workplace trends, must have areas and modern spaces.


Four Keys to an Effective Facility Manager Emergency Plan

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

In times of crisis, well-defined action plans are the difference between catastrophic loss and a best-case scenario. In the workplace, facilities managers are the first line of defense for emergencies. A well-developed facility manager emergency plan is paramount to surviving what Mother Nature, among others, throws at you.

Developing an action plan is far from easy, considering all the systems a facility manager handles. Tackling this monumental task involves breaking down the workplace into its most fundamental elements and planning for each of them.

Start with the three main aspects of facilities management emergency preparedness when developing an emergency plan:

  • Assess vulnerabilities: Vulnerabilities are opportunities for catastrophic failure. Fire, flood, power outages, inclement weather, terrorism, and natural disasters are all catalysts. Identifying how your facilities are vulnerable in these situations requires a thorough assessment.
  • Define roles: Who is responsible for what in an emergency? Delegate specific tasks to individuals equipped to execute on them. Identify workplace leaders and assign emergency actions accordingly. Defined roles make for decisive action at times when it’s needed most.
  • Communicate the plan: Having an action plan is useless if no one knows what that plan entails. With emergency plan in hand, communicate it. A top-down approach is usually best. Inform those with defined roles and in leadership positions. Then, publish the most basic, straightforward iteration for employees. Practice makes perfect, too. Hold drills and exercises to acquaint employees with the plan.

These steps are the framework for how to approach an emergency action plan. Developing the plan itself involves drilling deeper into the vulnerabilities, necessary roles, and communication required to adequately protect people, assets, and the business in a moment of crisis.

Developing the plan

The process of planning for facility emergencies is relatively linear. Structure is essential in preventing chaos, so formulating an action plan along well-defined guidelines is key. The four essential pillars of any emergency plan are:

  • 1. Track personnel: Employees are your most-valuable asset—and the focus of an emergency action plan. Getting them out of harm’s way and keeping them safe trumps everything else. To do this, facilities managers need an up-to-date accounting of all employees, where they sit, whom they report to, and their contact information. Not only does this prove useful in delegating duties, it creates accountability and a system of record.
    • Who are department leaders and supervisors?
    • Who are subordinates and whom do they report to?
    • What systems of traceability are in place to account for personnel?
  • 2. Identify mission-critical systems: What business systems are most important and/or most vulnerable? At what level of operability do they become endangered? Most importantly, what systems are already in place to avert crisis? HVAC, plumbing, data systems, electrical, communications equipment, and infrastructure are starting points. Once identified, facilities managers can create solutions for potential threats to these mission-critical systems.
    • Have a backup generator in the event of a massive power outage
    • Install overhead fire suppression systems in a server room
    • Create off-site backups or cloud storage for critical data
  • 3. Track assets: Tracking assets is all about accountability—specifically for insurance claims. If a fire ravages the fourth floor, what assets are at risk? What is the value of those assets? Conversely, what action plans are in place to protect computers, printers, servers, furniture, and other assets? Without compromising worker safety, identify opportunities for mitigating damage to assets in a catastrophe.
    • Use an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platform to track assets
    • Insure and itemize high-value assets
    • Create safeguards to protect high-value assets or minimize risk
  • 4. Define emergency actions: Emergency actions are the duties assigned to leaders in an emergency. Who leads their department to the emergency exit and takes a head count outside? Who’s responsible for keeping records of high-value assets? How do you ensure an emergency action plan is properly followed? Once you define the necessary actions, assign them to responsible individuals and make sure they’re understood.
    • Develop individual action plans for leaders that detail their duties
    • Keep essential individuals included in all action plan communications
    • Give key stakeholders accessibility to keys, badge permissions, etc.

Every plan should answer a simple question: Who is responsible for what when X happens? The where and why are unknown variables until an emergency arises. A good action plan will adapt to them.

Adapting your plan is crucial

An appropriate facility management emergency response is always evolving. Just like the workplace ebbs and flows, grows and expands, so should your emergency plan. Reassess your plan on a quarterly basis (or even more frequently). Hopefully, an emergency never hits your workplace—but if one does, you’ll be prepared and can minimize damage.

Keep reading: How to know if your facility management software is the best for your organization and learn if it is right for urgent situations.


The Four Most Important Facility Costs to Track and Manage

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager

Cost governs just about everything in the business world. It’s no surprise that facilities come with one of the highest price tags. But “facilities” is a broad category spanning more than just the cost of a lease or utilities. Breaking down facility costs sheds light on what it actually takes to run a business. More importantly, it yields insight into potential savings.

What are facilities and administrative costs?

Facilities and administrative costs are associated with physically running the business. They’re specific segments in the broader realm of operating expenses, and include the following:

  • Cost of your lease
  • Building upkeep and repairs
  • Cost of capital improvements
  • Building operational expenses
  • Departmental costs

Together, facilities and administration costs are part of the collective fees it takes to run your business. Unlike overhead—hard-to-track general costs—facilities and administration costs refer to specific, traceable dollar figures.

Facilities managers are responsible for tracking and reporting on facilities and administrative costs. Every business will track facilities costs they deem most important, but four stand apart as integral for showing what it takes to keep a workplace running.

high performing workplace tips

1. Used and unused space

A lease is the single biggest operating expense on a company’s balance sheet. It’s also one of the most difficult facilities expenses to contextualize and understand. You can’t truly understand the cost of your lease until you understand space utilization.

Anyone can figure out the cost per square foot of their lease—it’s just the cost of the lease divided by the square footage of the office. A $5,000 monthly lease for 1,000ft2 amounts to $5 per ft2. But that’s only a benchmark. If you’re only using 800ft2 of space, space utilization costs come into play. Eighty percent utilization brings the cost per square foot up to $6.25 per ft2. You’re essentially paying a premium on the space you’re using—or, a penalty for space you’re not.

Space utilization costs factor into other workplace measures. Knowing how much used and unused space you’re working with influences decisions like whether to expand or consolidate, or how to properly design a floor plan. Few metrics are as important as space utilization for unlocking real operating costs.

2. Worker Productivity

Throughout the life of your business, you’re bound to make decisions that lose money. Thankfully, losses can be recouped through a good investment. One cost you can’t get back, however, is lost time. Minimizing wasted time starts by improving office productivity.

Productivity is part of facility direct costs. Your workplace’s design and function dictate worker productivity. To quantify this, facilities managers need to look for productivity traps. For example:

  • How much time is lost because of overbooked meeting rooms?
  • What is the cost per hour of network downtime?
  • What is the productivity rate across certain areas of the workplace?
  • What are the most time-consuming tasks in the workplace?

Identifying waste provides tangible numbers for lost time and hampered productivity.

Let’s say, for example, an average of 15 minutes is lost due to conference room overbooking. This time may equate to $5 of revenue lost per employee. If four people can’t find a conference room, it costs the business $20. Now, say this happens 10 times per week. That’s $200 weekly and as much as $800 a month in lost revenue from stunted productivity.

3. Life cycle costs

Asset management is a pillar of facilities management. Every asset has a lifespan. Knowing the life cycle of your assets (big and small) sheds light on costs coming down the pike—whether in the form of repairs, maintenance, or replacement.

Take a copy machine. Buying a new one is $10,000 and may last a decade. Or, you can repair your 5-year-old model for $2,000 and get another two years out of it. Understanding costs in context with return on investment leads to informed decision-making about critical assets.

Life cycle costs encompass everything from high-value items like copy machines to consumables like light bulbs. Identifying and tracking the life cycle costs throughout your facilities paints a clearer picture of what it takes to operate.

4. Vendor costs

You can’t maintain every aspect of your facilities by yourself. For most things, you’ll have vendor partners. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC specialists, IT consultants, and landscapers represent the most important vendor partnerships to cultivate. Even more important than finding a reliable partner is understanding what you’re paying them and how your facilities benefit.

Track individual vendor costs as closely as possible. Doing so exposes you to important insights, including:

  • Areas of your facilities prone to common repair and maintenance
  • Potential for vendor contract renegotiation
  • Under- or over-budget allocations
  • Opportunity for capital improvements

Seeing an annual increase of 11% in plumbing fees will alert you to investigate further, just like recurring repairs to your building’s rooftop AC unit might point to capital improvement as a smarter investment.

The more you track, the more you know

Facilities managers track a bounty of metrics to understand total facilities’ costs. The four above are distinguishably important because of the insights they yield. They measure and account for some of the biggest contributors to total operating cost. And, they provide facilities managers the insight they need to responsibly cut costs and optimize expenses.

Keep reading: A facility managers guide on how to select the best facility management software for your organization.

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Hot Desking Problems, Solutions and How To Prevent Them

By Nai Kanell
Vice President of Marketing

Hot desking can be a boon for your company—especially if better workplace utilization is critical to your current facilities management. Before you start scattering desks and relocating employees, make sure you’re aware of potential hot desking problems and how to prevent them.

When done right, hot desking is a great way to maximize space and create a flexible work environment. Be warned: the factors that make hot desking great can turn your workplace into a chaotic nightmare.

Six potential hot desking pitfalls

Hot desking anxiety isn’t unwarranted by employees or management. Employees are generally wary of change—especially on this level. For management, hot desking is an experiment that may have great results or produce unexpected setbacks.

  1. Loss of privacy: There’s a level of privacy in having a standard desk for every employee. Workers can keep personal items in their desk drawers or take a private call in relative comfort. Not having that basecamp means losing a sense of privacy and, in turn, comfort.
  2. Loss of personal space: Everyone needs personal space. If your employees constantly feel unanchored, they may not feel like they belong. Personal space ties workers to their environment and gives them stability. Hot desking could have the opposite effect.
  3. IT obstacles: It’s easy to configure static workstations for IT accessibility. Everything from login credentials to phone extensions route to a specific desk. But when there’s a new person at that desk each day, IT expectations change. Ensuring everything is properly networked and routed is crucial.
  4. Mental adaptation: Hot desks are still considered an “alternative” workplace arrangement. Veteran workers may balk at the concept more than younger employees who are familiar with flexible work environments. Thrusting employees into hot desking with no regard for adaptation is a recipe for disaster.
  5. Labor inefficiencies: Getting into a work groove is a real concern. Like many hot desking issues, this one stems from the relative unfamiliarity of a new desk and new work environment each day. Lack of continuity from the previous day’s work can take a toll on a person’s ability to do good work.
  6. Seating challenges: Hot desks introduce variability in seating, which means challenges are bound to arise. Employees may become overly attached to specific workstations. Or, certain hot desks may go unused because of their location. You might even have trouble accounting for employees if there’s no occupancy system of record.

Recognizing these potential pitfalls allows for proactive planning as the transition to hot desking begins (read the pros and cons of hot desking).

How to do hot desking right

The issues mentioned above don’t have to happen. In fact, they can be avoided entirely by taking a smart approach to hot desk setup and management. Consider the relationship between your employees and their desks, as well as hot desking and mental health, before making any changes. Here are a few ways to facilitate change without dooming your workplace with a poorly-designed approach to hot desks:

  • Create privacy opportunities: Give employees access to areas that emphasize privacy. Quiet work areas and offices with doors tell other workers “I need to be alone right now.”
  • Give employees personal space: Employee lockers are a great way to give back personal space. Or, in lieu of personal space, emphasize experiential spaces like a game room or relaxation area.
  • Coordinate IT first: Before making the switch to hot desks, collaborate with IT first. Figure out a system for keeping everyone connected regardless of workstation.
  • Make the transition easy: Don’t just flip the switch on hot desks. Introduce them gradually and encourage employees to use them. Ease into more desks and help workers adjust by supporting their needs.
  • Identify inefficiencies early: Gather feedback and listen to employees during the transition. Feedback is telling and can alert you to problems that may impact productivity.
  • Have a system of record: Use an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) like SpaceIQ to identify hot desk locations and real-time occupancy. The platform shows which desks are popular and which aren’t, so you can continue to optimize.

Done right, hot desking has inherent benefits that include better workplace flexibility and space utilization. Just remember, the challenge isn’t in how you arrange the desks—it’s ensuring employees are supported throughout the transformation and beyond.

Consider all variables. If your reason for instituting hot desks is space utilization, be mindful of how the change will affect employees. Likewise, if you’re trying to create a more agile workspace, consider space utilization. A successful hot desking setup creates harmony between employees and the workplace—leading to improved productivity and worker mental health.

Keep reading: learn how to use office hoteling for contractors and part-time workers