By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Facilities management processes are the backbone of a well-functioning workplace. Not only do they standardize some of the most critical workplace operations, they set the standard for how work gets done. Without defined processes, there’s room for error, non-compliance, miscommunication, and mismanaged expectations—all things that stunt productivity.

The broader workplace is primed for standardization and automation. But there are several core processes to anchor first, as they set the tone for critical operations.

Here’s a look at five facility management processes to implement or tighten up for a safe, productive, efficient workplace:

1. Work order submissions

What’s the standard operating procedure for reporting facility issues in your workplace? If there isn’t one, there needs to be. Make work order submissions and facilities requests as direct and simple as possible. Eliminating steps between problem identification and resolution is key to facilitating quick results.

For example, a submission form on your company’s intranet or Slack channel for facilities issues provides employees with a direct mode of communication. It replaces “telephone tag” that can occur when an employee reports an issue to their supervisor…who then emails facilities…which contacts the facility manager…and so on.

Work order submissions are perfect for addressing employee comfort issues to fixing workplace hazards.

2. Room reservations

Lost time is a drain on productivity, resources, and revenue. Every minute employees spend trying to find the right space to work in is 60 seconds they can’t get back. One of the simplest, yet most critical, facility management best practices is a room reservation system.

Reservation systems should be dynamic and adaptive, capable of handling the many moving parts of your workplace. Automate where possible. SpaceIQ’s Slack integration is a great example of this. By asking Slack for a meeting room, the system automatically shows available spaces, room capacity, location, and booking options. When booked, the room appears unavailable to anyone seeking that space. It prevents the wasted minutes and frustration that come from searching for space.

Consider this: If you save 10 minutes in room searches each day, that’s 43 hours a year—more than a standard work week.

3. Directory management

Your workplace should be collaborative—not just between departments, but across the entire company. In order to communicate and collaborate, employees need access to each other. This starts with an up-to-date directory.

Facility managers need a process for maintaining a real-time directory that’s open and accessible. This is more of a challenge in today’s dynamic workplace. Hot desks and flexible workspaces mean employees are always on the move. Remote workers have different schedules and contact information. Growing companies are constantly adding new employees.

Directory management through an Integrated Workplace Management System (read more on what is IWMS?) should be a priority—including automating tasks that keep directories relevant. A check-in system that updates hot desk occupancy, for example, means employees always know where to find co-workers—reducing confusion and unnecessary inquiries while increasing collaboration and productive communication.

4. Emergency delegation

An emergency is no time for chaos. In the event of a fire, inclement weather, or other disaster, an action plan prevails. Your employees should understand their responsibilities and how to act accordingly. Emergency delegation is centrally important among facilities management processes and procedures.

Start by naming emergency leaders—individuals responsible for critical tasks. Have standard operating procedures for these tasks, such as checklists or “if this, then that” actions. Then, develop a general situation-based plan for all emergencies. Where should employees exit in case of fire? What should they do during an active shooter situation? Where should they take cover in case of a tornado? Develop these processes in granular detail and make everyone aware of the appropriate actions. Then, quiz and drill everyone to ensure they’re prepared for any eventuality.

5. Workplace analyses

Every facility manager needs a process for collecting, aggregating, analyzing, and presenting workplace data for better decision-making and growth. Data and analyses provides for dynamic  understanding of workplace needs and trends.

Use an IWMS in conjunction with data collection tools, such as net promoter surveys or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Make sure there’s a method for collecting, categorizing, and ordering data. Then, ensure that data can be presented in a way that makes it easy to identify trends, anomalies, or demands. For example, occupancy sensors can send weekly room and desk occupancy data to your IWMS. The easier you make collecting and reviewing data, the more you’ll know about your workplace.

Structure creates stability

Every workplace process you create adds structure. The more structure you have, the easier it is to shape the best possible workplace for your employees. Start with these five core processes. Good processes make it easier to adapt as your workplace grows and becomes more complex.

Keep reading: how to select the best facility management software for your workplace.