Facilities Management Metrics: Why You Need Them and What They Tell You
By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
Facility management metrics take concepts such as efficiency and attach value to them. A good metric puts decision-makers on the same page when it comes to understanding how their facilities function. Most importantly, they quantify a wide range of insights within a workplace, including organization, productivity, and reliability.
The role of facilities management metrics
Facilities management metrics are a type of Key Performance Indicator (KPI). They define a top level of success and set the benchmark for excellence in whatever’s measured. Some KPI metrics might include space utilization and efficiency, total utility costs, and operational flexibility.
Metrics isolate a qualitative variable and add quantitative insight, like our example of workplace efficiency from above. Another example is reliability. How do you gauge if your workplace’s digital network is reliable? It starts by defining a few key metrics:
- How many unexpected outages occurred over the past X days?
- How long was the cumulative downtime for outages?
- What is the cost per outage based on standard utility costs? Based on revenue per hour?
Attaching data to these questions paints a clearer picture of reliability. You might perceive your network to be reliable and data may confirm it—or, it might tell you differently. This applies to any variable you choose to measure. Quantifying workplace variables means standardizing insights.
Once you’re tracking the right metrics and defining the important workplace variables, you’ll have insights to make improvements or monitor trends.
Choosing the right metrics and defining them
Properly quantifying workplace KPIs starts by benchmarking the right variables. Facility managers need to understand all contributing factors for what they’re measuring. For example, to understand space utilization, data about the following is required:
- Total available square footage
- Cost per square foot
- Total number of employees
- Ideal space per employee
From there, each variable becomes part of the equation to calculate space utilization. In this example, dividing available square footage by total number of employees gives you the actual square feet per employee. Dividing this number by the ideal space gives you utilization relative to your target. Plugging in cost per square foot to both numbers generates a dollar figure.
Facilities managers should measure anything quantifiable against the core KPI. If your goal is reducing utility costs by 4 percent next quarter and your KPI is total utility costs, measure all contributing factors, including variables such as each individual utility cost.
Defining metrics appropriately is the key to understanding how they contribute to your KPIs and how those KPIs affect your workplace.
Using metrics to drive workplace improvements
Once you’ve defined the facility management metrics that matter, work them into KPI reports and then work backward on each variable.
Let’s say you have a space utilization efficiency goal of 85 percent. You identify the right metrics and gather data to quantify them. Then, you take the cumulative figures from your metrics and plug them into your KPI reports, only to discover that your space utilization is 95 percent—higher than you want it to be. Your workplace is too crowded.
Using metrics to identify overcrowding is the first step to improving your workplace. Now, you’ll need to work backward and address the variables that comprise your metrics. It’s clear the problem is too many employees in too small of a space. But, because you have clearly defined metrics, you can plug in numbers and run scenarios before making any real changes.
You might decide to turn 10 of your employees into remote workers, changing five of their workstations into hot desks and the other five into flexible workspaces. The result: space utilization is now 85 percent.
The beauty of workplace metrics and the KPIs they feed is that everything is quantified, so you get insights before making changes. Without the right metrics, who’s to say a change will work? And how would you know even if it did?
Facilities metrics tell you what you need to know
Quantifying the intangibles of your workplace—efficiency, productivity, organization—puts facility managers on track toa highly optimized workplace. KPIs and the metrics that define them help facilitate major improvements that can lower costs, improve operations, raise employee morale, and enhance workplace governance.
As companies become more cost-conscious, facility managers will rely more heavily on management metrics to generate important insights. And, from these insights, they can provide key decision-makers with the right information to drive changes that keep their company competitive.
Keep reading: how to select the best facility management software for your company.