By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
There’s no understating the importance of the workplace for business success. Facilities touch every part of the business and impact key metrics like growth, revenue, cash flow, and productivity. Facilities should be an integral part of broader company goals and objectives.
Traditionally, facility managers have acted more as space planners and workspace governors. Now, facilities managers are increasingly tasked to set strategic goals using robust data and analytics from workplace management platforms and other systems.
The role of facilities in goal setting
There are three types of facility management goals: those supporting the company, those supporting employees, and those inherent to facilities themselves. It’s easy to think of these goals in a funnel, with broad support at the top and specifics at the bottom. The role of facilities changes depending on the goal.
Take a broad goal, like growing company revenue from $1M to $2M in 2020. Numerous variables go into this objective, each playing a role in its ultimate success (or failure)—facilities included. Because there are so many factors, the weight of the goal is evenly distributed. Marketing has to market more effectively. Sales has to sell better. Facilities need to support employees. It’s all hands on deck.
Now, think about a goal like implementing a digital conference room booking system. There are only a few required factors and the focus is narrow. It’s facilities-specific and may only involve IT. The onus in accomplishing this goal is on a few parties.
In both examples, facilities matter. It’s easy to consider the role of the workplace in workspace-specific, narrow goals; but the role of the workplace isn’t always apparent in broad goals. It’s up to facility managers to ensure the workplace plays a part in strategic initiatives, regardless of scale.
Broad goals: Company-wide objectives
Broad goals are those pertaining to the entire company. Top or bottom line growth. Branding and culture initiatives. Product or service developments. These goals touch every segment of the business in some form, including facilities.
When it comes to broad goals, the objectives of facilities management tend to be passive. The workplace serves a support role—the foundation for any and all contributors to the goal. It’s about preventing burnout and promoting comfort at work. Ensuring employees have the right workspaces and amenities to do their best work. Streamlining daily operations to conserve time, money, and effort. Bringing this stability to the workplace provides sound backing for company-wide success.
Intermediary goals: employee-specific focuses
Because employees directly interact with their workplace, intermediary goals generally involve facilities to a greater degree. One affects the other. Rearranging the stack plan or moving to a new building. Hiring, promoting, or parting with talent. Installing new workplace processes or practices. To see these objectives succeed, facility managers need to draw a line that connects facilities and people in a positive way.
In most cases, facility managers need to consider employee interaction with the workplace and how facilities support employees. How can workplace changes improve productivity? Enable better collaboration? Reduce friction? Changes may be significant, but they’re also purposeful. If you’re rearranging three departments over four floors, the outcome needs to achieve a specific goal that benefits employees in a meaningful way.
Narrow goals: targeted facilities initiatives
The narrower goals of FM support facilities themselves. Employees may benefit from them and they might contribute to broader business success, but the driving factor behind them is facility-specific improvement. Think about goals like reducing energy expenditures or improving wireless signal strength, for example.
Installing motion-sensitive lights. Developing a portal for maintenance ticketing. Porting over to a new Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). These are facility-focused goals, wholly tasked to facility managers. Consider them a reinvestment in facilities that support the intermediary and broad goals listed above. Their focus is specific, but the outcome is likely to be far-reaching.
Always factor in facilities
Facilities have gone from a line item on the balance sheet to a key instrument for goal-setting and objective planning. Facility managers aren’t just masters of space planning and allocation—they’re contributors to growth and optimization strategies. These strategies take place at every operational level—from mission-critical goals to everyday workplace improvements. Wherever it’s involved—and it’s always involved—the workplace deserves consideration.