By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
Churches are gathering places. They’re not only for worship, but also serve as areas for people to come together as a community. A church welcomes hundreds (even thousands) to services, but throughout the week it becomes a place for everything else: weddings, fundraisers, town hall meetings, clubs, and fairs. The space a church offers lends itself to so many events, which is why organizers need facility management software for churches.
A church’s space may be versatile, but that doesn’t make it automatically ideal for every event. A craft fair requires numerous tables and a natural flow to move people. A town hall meeting may use pews, but require a space for media in front of the pulpit. Each new event brings new demands.
There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into utilizing church space. An organization tool like space management software makes it all possible.
Using the features of the space
Church facilities management software is great for recognizing space-use potential. Unlike other multipurpose venues, churches offer key features that broadly lend themselves to occupant needs. Understanding what these features are, where they’re located, and how they’re used is what can makes a church more useful than a rec hall or a community center.
- Sound system: Most churches have a built-in PA system. This naturally lends itself to events with featured speakers or audiovisual requirements.
- Pews: Pews offer ample seating for larger gatherings. Planning accommodations is much easier when you know how many pews are in the church and how many people each accommodates. As a bonus, they’re instantly focused on the stage.
- Stage: The stage is paramount for weddings, presentations, speaking engagements, and plays. Unlike other facilities that require risers be brought in, churches have an ideal focal point that’s readily available.
- Architecture: Nothing beats the acoustics in a church. Moreover, houses of worship are inherently designed with a focal point (sanctuary), centralized gathering area (nave), plenty of open space (narthex), and various offices and classrooms.
Even for organizers intimately familiar with the layout and opportunities of the church’s floor plan, facility management software illustrates the many possibilities from a top-down view.
Planning around the church’s layout
Why use facility management software for your church? The simplest answer is for diagramming.
Where will the craft fair vendors set up in the narthex? How will you plan the wedding processional so the groom doesn’t see the bride before her entrance? How many entrances are there to the nave and where will speaker X, Y, and Z enter and exit during the presentation?
The layout of a church offers so many possibilities not just for space utilization, but for the logistics of actually using the space. Planning ingress and egress, preventing crowd bottlenecks, establishing prop and fixture locations, and arranging the dynamic elements within the space requires no small feat of facilities management.
Accommodating diverse needs with diverse space
There’s virtually no end to the practicality of using church facility scheduling software. For as many different types of events a church can host, there are important logistics unique to each one.
Facility management software is instrumental in coordinating the changeover between events. While parents attend the town hall meeting in the nave, there’s daycare in one of the offices and a Cub Scout meeting held in the basement. Again, planning and scheduling software ensures each group has the right space for the right time.
Churches offer the full gamut of space. The grandeur of the nave compared to the simplicity of a classroom. The versatility of the sanctuary vs. the possibilities of the narthex. Miscellaneous rooms of all sizes cater to every possible need of groups using them.
For churches, the value in space planning software comes in providing accommodations for as many people and groups as possible. Read more on space planning buyers guide. Leveraging the unique layout of the church in new and efficient ways gives the building broad purpose outside of regular services. Whether that opens a revenue stream or strengthens ties to the community, the result is positive for the church and anyone using it.
Creating the right gathering space
Whether it’s nuptials or a debate, community or worship, people naturally congregate in churches. Ensuring they have the right space for the occasion is important. Living up to the concept of the church as a gathering place distinguishes it from a rec center or a banquet hall. When church facilities seamlessly meet the needs of the people using it, there’s no reason for them to gather anywhere else.
Keep reading: How to select facilities management software.
By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
We tend to think of buildings in the physical sense. It doesn’t get much more physical than brick and mortar, steel, and glass. But buildings are joining the digital world. Nothing puts this in perspective like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and BIM facility management software.
Rather than looking at what the building is in a material sense, BIM software creates a digital representation of the physical characteristics of the structure. More importantly, it delineates the functions of the building itself.
BIM facility management software asks and answers a crucial question: Are your facilities meeting your needs?
The goals of BIM
If the goal of facilities is to support employees and facilitate business operations, the goal of BIM software is to understand facilities. Digitally modeling the building creates a top-down look into the workplace and all affiliated amenities.
Building models visually represent physical structures and bridge them to physical and digital aspects of the workplace—all while incorporating essential processes. BIM shows how many bathrooms are on the fourth floor. It can just as easily project the need for more square footage or provide a virtual heat map of your most-used spaces. Facility managers use BIM to route evacuation plans and create emergency procedures. It’s the simplest way to understand the entirety of facilities by taking yourself out of them and looking in.
BIM software capabilities boil down to improvement. How can cloud-based BIM software make the workplace better? That all depends on how it’s used:
- Real estate cost conservation and optimization
- Improved, optimized facility functions
- Business growth predictions
- Increase facilities management’s role in operations
- Answer demand for employee accommodations
- Improve workplace culture and cohesiveness
- Raise workplace safety and reduce risks
BIM software is a tool. Aligning it with facility management goals or the company’s greater objectives is integral in effectively using its features .
Modeling the physical space
How does BIM benefit facilities managers? At the simplest level, through design planning. The first step in using BIM software is creating a 3D floor plan, which unlocks tremendous potential for facilities management, including:
- Comprehensive, at-scale view of floor plans
- Asset location and proximity
- Emergency exit and general safety planning
- Management of HVAC, plumbing, and other utilities
- Space planning and allocation
- Space optimization
Improvement starts with understanding. Modeling facilities through BIM software provides the most basic, physical understanding of space layout, scale, and proximity.
Tracking crucial assets
Beyond the workplace itself, it’s important to track assets within it. BIM for facilities managers allots for this. From fixed assets like the TV in the conference room to mobile assets like the copy machine, BIM puts the location of everything in perspective to the physical space. Then, it enables facility managers to track and manage them.
Take an AV cart, for example. Stick a sensor on the cart and sync its signal with BIM software. Voila! You can see its location at any given time. If it’s on the third floor today and is needed on the first floor tomorrow, there’s time to relocate it. It takes seconds to find the cart and minutes to move it—all thanks to BIM software.
Depending on the level of integration, BIM software gets even more sophisticated. The computer at workstation #34 isn’t working, so a support ticket is issued. An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) processes the ticket and pings the BIM software for the workstation’s location. The IT department receives a work request describing the problem, with directions on how to get to workstation #34.
Wherever the physical workspace and tangible assets are involved, BIM software has a role to play.
Managing the functions of work
Since BIM software supports facilities, it also indirectly bolsters the work done in them. BIM software might not impact how employees use collaborative workspace, but it was likely instrumental in understanding the demand for that type of space.
In some cases, BIM software plays a direct role in managing the functions of work. Assigning hot desks or reserving hotel desks requires an understanding of their location and availability. Coordinating an office move hinges on having a robust floor plan of new vs. old facilities. Implementing wayfinding software requires a digitized version of the physical workspace. Each plays a role in how employees interact with facilities. In this way, BIM software is as practical for the function of facilities as it is in understanding and planning them.
The importance of a digital twin
BIM software creates a digital twin of our workplace. It’s a great way to quantify and measure the physical aspects of a workplace, then use that information for improvements. Combined with smart Internet of Things devices, digital twins are the foremost resource for observing the efficiency and capability of a workplace and the things in it. And it all starts with BIM software, a vital tool in smart facilities management.
Keep reading: What is IWMS software? Learn what it is and how to use it.
By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
Visitors to your workplace may know who they’re meeting, but they might not always know where they’re going. An interactive office map takes the uncertainty out of navigation. Unlike a two-dimensional map, an interactive one allows visitors to zoom into a specific areas and change perspective on where they need to go. After all, the purpose of a map is to help someone get to where they’re going as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
Mobile technology drives the interactive map. It’s not only about seeing where you are or where you’re going, it’s about using the map as a workplace wayfinding tool. Take a look at some of the essential modern-day tools your interactive office map should provide.
1. Top-down floor plan view
The default for any map is a top-down view, including an interactive office floor plan. It’s important to show a birds-eye view of everything and give the viewer their bearings. Even if they know exactly where they are, contextualizing that starts with an understanding of what’s immediately around them and where they exist in relation to other spaces.
The beauty of interactive office maps is the “interactive” part. The top-down perspective also enables users to pinch and zoom to a specific level, then narrow focus to an area of importance. The ability to digitally drag the map around is also valuable. It’s great for tracing a route, finding a particular type of space, and understanding proximity to rest rooms, exits, and other amenities.
Top-down views are essential, especially in larger facilities and on campuses. Unlike a physical, foldable map, a digital map provides a complete lay of the land—with the control needed to navigate it.
2. Drag-and-drop functionality
The interactive components of a map shouldn’t end with pinch-to-zoom functionality. They should also include drag-and-drop options—especially for digital map designers. Creating a floor plan is a dynamic exercise. Moving desks, fixtures, employees, and other non-permanent assets can get complicated if everything is digitally fixed. Drag-and-drop makes it simple to map things on-the-fly.
On the user side, drag-and-drop is ideal for wayfinding software. Drop a marker wherever you are, drag it to where you want to be, and watch your route appear. Or, drag employee profiles to a specific room on the map to book that room and send invites to meeting attendees. The more interactive a map is, the more value it has to designers and users. Drag-and-drop functionality is an essential touch component.
3. Integrated company directory
Maps are dynamic. Even if the space itself isn’t changing, the way people use it and where they exist within the greater facilities are constantly in flux. Having an integrated company directory updates the map by pairing people with places in real time.
Dwight’s desk moved from Sales on the third floor to the Manager’s Department on the fifth floor. Not only will an interactive map reflect the change as soon as it’s updated, the directory will update. Anyone searching for Dwight will see his new desk location and have everything they need to contact him. It saves valuable time and the frustration of not finding Dwight where you thought he was.
4. Point-to-point directions
Interactive workplace systems need to serve the needs of their users. For a map, the almost universal need is wayfinding—getting directions from one place to another. To be truly useful, an interactive map needs to provide point-to-point directions.
Not only should someone know where they are and where their destination is relative to it, they should also receive step-by-step instructions for how to get there. At the least, the map should show a clearly defined route. Ultimately, a person shouldn’t have trouble navigating your facilities with an interactive map.
5. Robust integrations
What makes interactive office map software more valuable than a physical map or a static digital map is integrations. Messaging applications, building modeling software, facility management tools, and mobile applications unlocks the map’s full potential. Asking Slack “Where does Pam B. sit?” or exporting directions to a visitor email are what make an interactive map truly interactive—even more than just touch.
Integrations should focus on wayfinding. The need for information about workplace layout or facility floor plans are an opportunities for interactive maps to shine.
6. Scalable features
All these features are important, but they need one more thing: scalability. Whether your workplace is a few spaces scattered on a single floor or hundreds of thousands of square feet spread across a campus, an interactive office map is a vital tool.
It’s not necessarily hard to find an interactive map that boasts these features. What’s more difficult is getting them to work seamlessly for people using the map. The power of an interactive map comes from its functionality. When features and usability align, no one should ever get lost in your facilities.
Keep reading: What are wayfinding kiosks and digital signage?
By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
It’s normal to be a bit lost when starting a new career or changing jobs. You can go to college for four years, graduate with a head full of knowledge, and still be as green as new grass. Education is a must, but there’s no substitute for real-world experience—especially if a facilities management career is your goal.
Like any new endeavor, starting with the basics is the best way to get a leg up in the field. Fledgling writers are taught to craft great stories using the five W’s: who, what, where, when, and why. Nail the basics functions of facilities management and everything else starts to make more sense.
Here’s a stripped-down five W’s of facility management any newbie facilities manager (FM) can appreciate.
Who manages facilities?
It’s a simple enough question with an obvious answer: facilities managers. Behind that aptly named title, there’s an educational background and robust skill set that comes standard on the broader facilities management career path. Read more on what is a facilities Manager in today’s modern office?
Workplace professionals generally have a four-year degree in Facilities Management or an affiliated field, such as Real Estate Planning/Forecasting. Many business management programs offer a Facilities Management Certificate. Certifications and training also are available via FM-focused organizations, including the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Programs cover niche FM sectors such as workplace technology, HVAC, energy systems, emergency planning, etc.
At its core, an FM career is built on a foundation of business operations, real estate, and workforce management.
What do facilities managers do?
Perhaps a better question is what DOESN’T a facilities manager do? Functions of facilities management touch all parts of the physical workplace. Facilities managers are multi-taskers who must be proactive and reactive to workplace needs. Responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to:
- Safety: FMs are watchdogs for employees, visitors, vendors, and anyone else who enters the workplace. Duties encompass everyday safety like building maintenance, access control, and repairs. Big-picture responsibilities include emergency preparedness, fire safety, and disaster response.
- Aesthetics: Interior design may not be part of a facilities management degree, but FMs are the ones who keep buildings and grounds presentable. This includes hiring and managing landscape crews, bringing in plants and other decor, and touching up cosmetic damage to walls and floors.
- Functional Resources: Employees want clean restrooms and working coffee makers. Facilities managers are the ones who make sure workplace temperatures are comfortable, breakrooms stay clean, and biometric door locks work.
- Cost: Running an efficient workplace is expensive—it’s one of a company’s largest fixed costs. Facilities managers not only manage maintenance budgets, but also are looked upon by executive management to maximize real estate return on investment (ROI) by controlling hard costs while creating a workplace that inspires employee productivity and engagement.
FMs focus on supporting employees while, at the same time, turning the workplace into an asset instead of a cost center.
Where do FMs focus their attention?
Facilities managers focus on three key areas:
- Building, space, and property management
- Oversight of people and processes
- Incorporation of workplace technologies
These categories are broad, encompassing virtually everything having to do with the workplace and what happens within it. That means everything from emergency preparedness plans, to workspace planning and management, to finding a landscaper. Despite the huge scope of responsibilities, the ultimate focus of an FM is to leverage the workplace as an asset in furthering the success of the company.
When should a company hire a facility manager?
The obvious answer is when the workplace takes on a life of its own, so to speak. Small companies often put FM duties on the shoulders of admins or office managers. But their expertise only goes so far. When technology integration, maintenance, move management, and other duties expand, it’s time to hire a great facilities manager. As dependence on the workplace grows, so do facility demands. It takes more than checklists to manage large-scale tasks—it requires a full-time, well-qualified professional.
Why is facilities management important?
Facilities are central to operations. Giving people a place to work and supporting their contributions comes down to good facilities management. There’s no substitute for a workplace where people feel comfortable to do their best work.
Beyond giving people a great workplace, facilities management is about keeping costs low and maximizing space utilization. An experienced FM understands workplace trends and knows how to leverage them for maximum productivity and increased ROI.
Bonus: How do you get started?
The five W’s have a cousin: How. In this case, how do you step into an FM career?
If you’re interested in facilities management, it pays to get your feet wet. Look for positions at small, growing companies. Consider peripheral positions in vendor/contractor management, office management, and office design. Get familiar with professional organizations like the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM). In addition, study trends in commercial real estate, the workforce, and social politics.
Nothing beats an institutional education, but facilities management is a broad job that welcomes a variety of skill sets. If you’ve got a mind for organization and problem-solving—backed by management or tech experience—you might be more qualified than you think!
Keep reading: Facility Management Guide for Beginners.
By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
There’s no substitute for data-backed decision-making. Big Data has become almost mythic in the realm of facilities management. Harness data and you’ll obtain insights to capitalize on the strategic elements of your workplace. But before unlocking the many secrets of Big Data for smart facility management, you need ways to identify, collect, and analyze it.
Big Data is cultivated and harvested from strategic technologies dedicated to measuring specific variables. The more variables you track and measure, the more of your workplace you can quantify. The more you quantify, the more you control. This is the power of Big Data.
The go-to collection mechanism is the workplace Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT takes physical variables and turns them into digital insights. A broad IoT network highlights the key elements of your workplace and beyond. Once you understand the minutiae of how your workplace runs, it’s time to unlock the power of Big Data for smarter facilities management.
What is “smart” facilities management?
Smart building facility management is the way of the future. It involves building out a workplace IoT network, collecting pertinent data, and aggregating that data into identifiable trends. Those trends and patterns then drive positive change in the workplace.
Smart facilities management can range from simple to complex, depending on the focus. For example, motion sensors attached to lights to conserve electricity is different than using occupancy sensors to determine what time of day people use specific workspaces and for how long. In either case, facilities managers have the tools and insights to shape the workplace around the needs of employees and company expectations.
Building a smarter building
The importance of the IoT in smart facilities management is undeniable. In recent years, IoT in facility management has become the norm. Thankfully, it’s also become much simpler to integrate. Building out an IoT means building out a smarter building—the foundation of smarter facilities management. Here’s how:
- Sensors. Sensors are point-of data collection devices. They measure a quantifiable action. Someone walks past a motion sensor and triggers it. The A/C kicks on from a smart thermostat reading. That action becomes a data point, studied by facility managers to affect change. The more sensors measuring different variables, the more insight and understanding facility managers have in how the workplace functions and what it needs.
- Beacons. Beacons are the nodes of the IoT. In a workplace with dozens of deployed sensors, beacons tie them all together and relay the continuous data they’re transmitting. Beacons are organizational tools, meant to bring order to the IoT.
- Applications. Turning sensor blips into meaningful data is the product of an application. More than making data readable, programs leverage the power of computation to provide automatic insights. Data fed into programs gets processed more thoroughly than any one person might be capable of, yielding insights at a granular level.
- Automation. Automation is an inevitable part of working with the IoT and a boon for facility managers. Automation applies to both data and processes—handling aggregated data and what processes should respond. If an occupancy sensor is active, it will show a conference room as occupied. If a desk assignment is updated, information is pushed to update wayfinding software. The connections of the IoT make automation beneficial and essential.
Quantifying workplace operations and digitizing the delivery system builds the foundation for accessing Big Data. The infrastructure may be physical (sensors, beacons), but the insights and action plans are digitally rooted (applications, automations).
Using insights to affect change
Every data point about the workplace is important—even when they may seem unimportant. Having the luxury of ruling out meaningless data points means you have insights about different aspects of work. Focus on the trends and patterns, qualify the outliers, and use data to create supported theories about how to shape the workplace.
If the sensors at your hot desks show constant occupancy, but your conference rooms are rarely used, it’s a sign of how employees use your space. If your smart thermostat triggers the A/C in frequent intervals, it’s a sign you need repairs and updates to the HVAC system. There are infinite examples like these, each with valuable insight about a particular aspect of the workplace. Putting Big Data to work to understand them is the first step in changing and improving your workplace. From there, it’s about measuring the benefits—costs, culture, productivity, and anything else you’re focused on understanding or improving.
Measuring the power of intelligent insights
There’s no match for technology in facilities management and the power of IoT-collected workplace data—or the insights it provides. Quantifying specific variables and turn them into meaningful improvements means tapping into the core framework of what your workplace is. By leveraging intelligent insights, facilities managers can fundamentally change the impact the workplace has on the people using it.
Interested in turning your workplace into an epicenter for IoT-powered insights? Get the SpaceIQ guide to smart sensors and beacons.
By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
The English language is full of words that mean the same thing. Twelve is a dozen. A groundhog is a woodchuck. If you’re right, you’re also correct. The list goes on. And while we’re familiar with most colloquialisms, it can be confusing and frustrating to run into ones that aren’t familiar—like any of the many facilities management job titles.
If you’re browsing help wanted ads or brushing up on facilities management terms, you’re liable to run into dozens of unique monikers for facility manager. Some of them don’t even sound like they’d be in the same industry, let alone a stand-in name for the title!
Let’s take a look at the many job titles that pass for a facility management position and learn more about why they’re often presented in different ways.
Manager and coordinator titles
Most often, facility oversight is seen one of two ways: as a managerial position or through the eyes of a coordinator. Both are fair assessments. Facilities managers are indeed managers, and their role in keeping facilities humming definitely falls under the realm of coordination. As a result, a facilities manager job description will likely involve the words “manager” or “coordinator.”
Several other qualifiers mark facility management positions. Words like specialist, planner, lead, and administrator tend to signify their broad oversight. How they’re used depends on how the hiring company sees the role of their facilities manager. Are they more of a specialist doing things nobody else can? Or are they a leader who delegates facilities tasks to others? The answer often dictates the job title. Here are some of the most common synonyms for facilities manager:
- Facilities Administrator
- Facilities Helpdesk Lead
- Facilities Supervisor
- Facilities System Specialist
- Facility Coordinator
- Global Corporate Properties Coordinator
- Global Workplace Manager
- Manager of Real Estate
- Move Coordinator
- Occupancy and Space Planner
- Office Services Manager
- Space and Facility Management Specialist
- Space Management Specialist
- Space Planner
- Space Planning Manager
- Workplace Services Manager
- Workspace Manager
Notice the common theme—they’re all qualified by space, workplace, facilities, and real estate. Ultimately, a facility manager’s role is defined by what workplace aspects they oversee.
Is a facility manager a strategist? The abundance of strategy-focused job titles suggests so. It’s not a stretch to see facilities management as a strategic position. There’s a lot that goes into managing space, people, and technology—and bringing them together in harmony certainly takes strategy. What’s truly interesting is the diverse range of strategic concepts in facility manager job postings:
- Facilities Strategic Planner
- Facilities Strategist
- Real Estate Strategic Manager
- Space Planning and Logistics Leader
- Strategic Site Planner
- Workplace Strategist
Strategic facilities management is less a job title and more an approach, which is why it often gets confused within the industry. Strategy is key in bringing facilities together, so many companies proactively seek strategic individuals by putting this qualifier in the job title. Not only does it help to attract the right candidates, it gets them thinking about strategy right away.
As digitization transforms the workplace, facilities management is impacted more by Big Data. Individuals interested in a facilities management career path need to get familiar with collecting and processing data. To that end, they become an analyst of sorts. Hence, the influx of analyst-focused job titles within the facilities management field:
- Facilities Planning Analyst
- Facilities Program Analyst
- Facility Maintenance Analyst
- Real Estate Analyst
Like the “strategic” segment of job titles, adding “analyst” to the facilities manager job title presents the job as what’s expected. Anyone applying for this position should be comfortable with data and knowledgeable in how to put it to work. The demands of a traditional facilities position still exist, but they’re expected to be data-driven. After all, what’s an analyst without data? What are facilities without insights to shape them?
Different names for the same thing
Still confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thankfully, “facilities manager” is the operative title in most job postings and in most professional circles. If you’re asking questions like “What certifications does a facility manager need?” or “How much does a facility manager make?”, you’re going to get the information you need. The only time you’re likely to encounter a lesser-known title is if you’re looking into a specialized field.
While you’re not likely to run into most of these titles, it still helps to know them. You might even glean a thing or two in understanding the reasoning behind them.
Keep reading: What is a facilities manager in today’s modern office?
By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
The landscape of facilities management is in flux. “Normal” workplaces are disappearing. The trends is a workplace tailored specifically to the people using it and the work they’re doing within it. With this level of customization and agile flexibility, facilities management needs to keep pace and stay ahead of demand. That might be why so many innovative ideas for facility management end up shaping the workplace.
Check out eight modern, innovative facilities management ideas and how they’re impacting workplaces and professionals across industries:
- Embracing eco-friendly practices. Millennials and Gen Z care about the environment and demand workplaces with some semblance of eco-friendly practices. Energy conservation, recycling, biophilic design, and environmentally conscious office products all play a role in shaping greener, more sustainable offices. Caring for the environment should extend to all aspects of facilities management and run deeper than just a good effort. Employees want meaningful action, starting with a focus on the environment where they work.
- Elevating self-care. It’s one thing to care about the mental wellbeing of employees—it’s another to make it a workplace priority. Quiet rooms, yoga studios, nap areas, and therapeutic services emphasize self-care. Employees who feel welcome, accepted, and cared for develop an appreciation for their workplace and a bond with their peers and employer. They do better work because they feel better. They stay because they know they’re appreciated.
- Making health and wellness part of work. On the back of self-care and mental health, facilities management best practices have also shifted to include physical health and wellness. Standing desks, mobile environments, and ergonomic furniture are big, alongside in-house exercise facilities, healthy kitchens, and break rooms. Reminding employees of the importance of physical health starts by providing an environment conducive to it.
- Digitizing the workplace. From digital twins to smart sensors, digitization is among the most popular initiatives in facilities management. Companies are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and the sensors, beacons, and programming that come with it. Facilities managers not only are gleaning data to improve workplace design and layout, they’re also cutting utility costs and improving building efficiency.
- Automating the everyday. Digitization inevitably leads to automation. In the case of facilities management technology trends, digitization is broad. Motion-sensor lights, automated support ticketing, and dynamic updates to an evolving employee directory are critical to successful automation. Linking the many digital elements of the workplace and automating essential tasks are simplifying facilities management and making it easier to cut costs.
- Decentralizing the workplace. In many ways, facility management is simplifying while becoming more complex. Take decentralization. Employees can work wherever and whenever they want thanks to cloud computing. To accommodate this, facility management itself has become digitized. Cloud-based insights about varying workplaces and the people laboring in them put facilities management on the same plane as the evolving workplace. It’s not just about managing facilities anymore—it’s about deciding if you even need facilities and, if you do, what they’re worth to your operation.
- Integrated facilities management. Cost control has been and always will be a major pillar of facilities management. Today’s solution to cost cutting without stripping out value is a shift to integrated facilities management. Consolidating vendors, seeking competitive rates, and having a strong relationship with fewer service providers is a smart way to simplify facility management, while also trimming the fat. The more eggs facility managers can put in one basket, the easier it is to manage the numerous needs of the workplace and its many assets.
- Value creation over cost savings. In years past, optimization was synonymous with cost cutting. Today, it means something else: value creation. Instead of automatically cutting costs, facility managers aim to find value in what they’re already using. Repurposing space may not affect the cost of a lease, but it can enhance the value of the area you’re already paying for. Creating value adds to the workplace (and the balance sheet) without taking away from it.
These eight concepts are at the forefront of workplace modernization. They’re shaping everything from how we use space, define company culture, and physically do work. What’s even more amazing is the impact they’ve had in such a short time. It’s not outlandish to think that the next big workplace ideas are already taking shape in the minds of attentive workplace professionals.
By Reagan Nickl
Customer Success Senior Manager
Facility management is a broad, ever-advancing field. If you’re looking for a facility management guide, there’s no shortage of options stretching back decades. Unfortunately, the reason there are so many is because the job duties of a facilities manager (FM) continue to evolve and expand—especially in today’s age of workplace digitization.
Whether you’re looking to get into the field or determining if your company needs an FM, it helps to understand what the job entails. We’ve put together something of a crash course in facility management. Call it our “Quick Facility Management Guide for Beginners.”
Lesson 1: What is facility management?
The best place to start is with a critical understanding of the functions of facilities management. In practice, they fall into three primary areas:
- Building maintenance and improvement
- Ensuring facilities meet the needs of occupants
- Integrating and leveraging workplace technology
Integrating these practices into company operations sets the tone for success. Think of each facilities management pillar as part of a Venn diagram. There’s overlap between each, and recognizing these cross sections is the foundation for good facilities management.
Lesson 2: Quick facilities management stats and tips
What makes facilities management so important? Aside from cultivating a workplace that’s supportive of staff and instrumental in company success, facility management is of growing concern to companies seeking to optimize costs.
In 2017, the cost of renting commercial real estate topped almost $87 billion in the U.S. Smart companies see the workplace as an asset they can control and reap maximum value from. To do that, they need to invest in facilities management. Take a look at a few facility management tips for lowering costs and why it makes sense to control future costs:
- Pay attention to space utilization. It’s not about how many people you can cram into a space; it’s about maximizing ROI by empowering the people within it.
- Consider different types of workspaces within the greater workplace. Not every person needs the same workspace and exploring different space styles can boost ROI.
- Understand how workplace digitization plays a role in lowering costs. Consider aspects like remote workers, optimization data, and insights about workspace costs.
Optimizing the workplace means understanding it. To do that requires someone with intimate familiarity of the space, the people in it, and the technologies surrounding it. There’s a reason these are the primary responsibilities of facilities management.
Lesson 3: Who sets the standards for facilities management?
Like most professional fields, facilities management is subject to standardization. There are facility management best practices set down by national and international organizations with the expressed purpose of creating benchmarks for quality, consistency, and excellence.
- The International Standards Organization (ISO); namely ISO 41011:2017
- The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA)
- The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) (U.K.)
- The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
These organizations and others like them set the tone for facilities management in the modern age. They formulate best practices, stay abreast of industry trends, report on current events, and offer accreditation and educational programs to improve facility manager stewardship. Ultimately, they’re the main contributors in standardizing the practice of facilities management across industries.
Lesson 4: Developing facility action plans
While they’re charged with managing the physical assets of the workplace, facilities managers also dote heavily on process development. The facility management plan umbrella covers processes like submitting maintenance requests, strategizing a move, and evaluating vendors.
Action plans and processes are vital to a company because they dictate how the workplace gets used. It’s not enough to provide workers empty space—there need to be rules, actions, and activities to ensure their needs are met. It spans simple actions like submitting a support ticket for a broken computer, up to something potentially life-saving, like coordinating an emergency evacuation schedule. If it takes place within facilities, it falls under the umbrella of facilities management.
Lesson 5: Top facility manager traits
The breadth of facility manager responsibilities is ever-growing. Good candidates bring a diverse skill set to the table and put those talents to work daily on problem-solving and anticipating workplace needs. Here’s what’s in demand:
- Good organization and structured management
- Project management and leadership skills
- Problem-solving and creative adaptation
- Leadership and liaison abilities
- Risk identification and management
- Quality control and attention to detail
It’s no coincidence that most of these traits trend toward management, organization, and accountability. There’s a lot riding on how the workplace is managed. Individuals willing to bear the burden need to accept the many challenges of facilities management and have the ingrained skills required to surmount them.
Lesson 6: Keep industry evolution in mind
As mentioned, facility management is an evolving career—more so today than ever before. The best thing an FM can do to keep pace is pay close attention to the needs of facilities and the people using them. The demands of people and the way they work perpetuate trends within facilities management. It’s the duty of a facility manager to see that they’re adopted, optimized, and measured.
By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
Why is facilities management important? For the same reasons routine care and maintenance are to a car—to keep everything running safely, frictionless, and efficiently.
Comparing a busy workplace to a complex piece of machinery isn’t an overstatement. There’s a lot going on in a compact space. Everything works together to produce an output—dozens of simple machines doing their part to power a much larger mechanism.
Without routine care, even the simplest machine breaks down. It’s the same in the workplace. The results can range from minor to catastrophic; a spat between employees to a major dip in productivity and revenue. Keeping your workplace machine well-oiled and running right means taking advantage of the benefits in facilities management.
Reducing friction through accommodation
Friction is the biggest enemy of productivity. Just like it causes heat and wear on grinding gears, it can build to a head in your workplace and erupt in confrontation. Lubrication is essential. In a machine, it’s oil; in the workplace, it’s providing the right accommodations.
In many cases, simply providing ample space is enough to mitigate friction. If employees are falling over each other with no room to stretch out or breathe, they’re going to get irritated. Other times, it’s about providing the right space. People get frustrated when they know the expectations, but don’t have the resources to meet them.
In both situations, facility management offers solutions. One of the core tenants of the profession is delegating enough space for the right causes.
Adapting to the changing demands of the environment
Another of the core benefits of facilities management is the ability to adapt. You might switch out the parts of a machine to expand its capabilities. Same goes for your facilities. You’ll eventually need to revamp the workplace to accommodate evolving business operations. Facilities management not only makes adaptation possible, it makes it affordable.
The power of good facilities management is evident in even the simplest examples:
- Improving space utilization through the deployment of a new desking arrangement
- Eliminating unused workspaces to reduce costs
- Monitoring individual workspaces to gauge demand for similar ones
It’s all about understanding how your space is used and what employees expect from it—then adapting. Spatial insights allow adaptation to occur at lower costs, with fewer missteps and setbacks.
Effectively scaling the business
A chief purpose of facilities management is to ensure facilities support the business at every stage of growth. Like an engineer provides crucial support to machinery at every stage of its life, facilities managers tend the needs of the workplace as the business grows around it.
Facilities management provides context and definition to the need for space. Does your business need more space? If so, what type? Does the cost justify the acquisition? If not, how can you maximize what you have? So many considerations go into scaling the workplace to meet the needs of the business. Good facilities management provides the insights for smart decision-making.
Keeping facilities safe and people healthy
If a complex piece of heavy machinery malfunctions, it’s immediately a safety hazard. Proper maintenance and management can prevent unexpected failures, and there are always safety precautions built in. In so many ways, the workplace requires the same. What is facility management without emphasis on emergency preparedness?
Facility management is equal parts proactive and reactive safety planning. Every building needs fire alarms and emergency exits; and when they’re triggered, every employee needs to know the evacuation plan. This falls within the realm of facilities management—as do inclement weather planning, general workplace accessibility standards, air and water quality, and countless other safety mechanisms.
Facility management lays down the infrastructure for safety, both the systems preventing tragedy and the prompt, decisive response to threatening events.
Bringing in outside help
For a machine as complex as the workplace, no single person can do everything. Facility managers are the chief operators, but they deploy a troupe of professionals to help them achieve the all-important goal of ongoing facility upkeep.
Landscapers. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical technicians. Technologists. Caterers. Anyone who has contact with the facilities has to go through the facility manager. Not only does it create a system of authorization for service, it’s also vital in record-keeping. Facility managers help identify and navigate cost centers, negotiate contract terms, and maintain accountability standards across vendors.
Without a centralized person or process for vendor management, a business risks untold sums of wasted costs and expenses. Facility managers are on the front lines of ensuring the workplace benefits from outside experts, whatever the needs of the building or the people within it.
Facilities touch every part of the business
The workplace is central to every aspect of business. Emphasizing facilities management is essential. It’s about enabling employees and giving them the tools to be successful. It ensures scalability and growth opportunities for the business. It protects the business and the people powering it. Without facilities management, there’s too much opportunity for setbacks: disorganization, health and safety hazards, friction, and distraction.
If you think of your business as a machine, pay mind to the maintenance that it needs to keep running. Any mechanic or engineer will tell you the best approach is proactive. A machine stays reliable when it’s properly serviced. Your workplace will stay productive when its facilities are properly managed.