By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
SpaceIQ

Every company wants to save money. Bottom line savings can be elusive, which makes it important to spend consciously and save wherever possible. So why would a company want to hire a facility management company and spend the (sometimes) significant costs associated with facilities upkeep? For one simple reason: because the cost of not maintaining facilities is even greater.

The workplace touches every part of business. Leaving facilities to languish or under-maintaining them generates costs that companies can’t always anticipate—most of them avoidable. A facility management company puts the many priorities of facilities first, so they come together in the ways employees need them to.

Why do we need facility management?

Think of the workplace like a second home for your employees—largely because it is. Most full-time employees spend a minimum of 40 hours a week at work (often more). And while we’re living in a new work-from-home era, the workplace is still most people’s “second place.” Facility management keeps employees’ home-away-from home neat and tidy, while ensuring it meets their needs and expectations for work.

Imagine asking employees to do their best work at a dingy desk that has an overflowing trash can beside it, or asking a 10-person team to cram into a four-person workspace and collaborate comfortably. It’s not reasonable! It’s the duty of every company to provide a workplace that’s clean, comfortable, accommodating, and safe.

Why outsource facilities management?

Not every company has the means to provide an encompassing level of facilities management in-house. The decision to outsource to facilities management companies depends on a lot of factors, including cost, talent availability, technology, or size of facilities, to name a few. They might not have on-staff craftspeople or facility management software—or, the cost of investing in these resources might not make sense.

The other major reason to outsource facilities management is for sheer convenience. Facilities require a lot of oversight. The ability to delegate most or all of this oversight to a company whose sole focus is to deliver a superior standard of service often makes sense. The less a company has to focus on facilities, the more attention it can devote to other mission-critical efforts.

Software offers an intermediate opportunity

For companies that don’t necessarily want to invest fully in a management company or keep everything in-house, facility management software is a great compromise. There are opportunities within different applications to streamline in-house, low-level management and upkeep for facilities, as well as tools that help manage contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs) with vendors and management companies.

For example, a support ticket system can route everyday employee requests to in-house staff for quick attention and resolution—refilling towels in the bathroom, replacing light bulbs, fixing a broken door, and the like. Conversely, enterprise asset management (EAM) software is useful for recordkeeping when it comes to vital building systems, and allows in-house staff to outsource work to a service provider with timeliness and specificity (we need X performed by Y date).

Software itself is an investment, but one that generates strong ROI when leveraged into a broad facility management plan.

Consider integrated facility management

One of the best reasons to work with a facilities management company is to create an integrated facilities management approach. Integrated facilities management is the practice of consolidating services and costs into a single umbrella provider (or as few as possible). It’s a method of simplifying facility management so there are fewer SLAs, more consistent terms, and a well-established partnership with defined expectations.

Integrated facilities management is popular among companies that want to outsource as much as possible to a facility management company. It’s a form of automation, with the expectation that the chosen facilities partner will tackle everything: from proactive maintenance to reactive repairs, as well as budgeting, capital planning, and reporting of core facilities metrics.

Make the investment in facilities

While bottom line savings and cost-conservation are important initiatives for a company, so are strategic investments. Few investments offer a broader return than an investment in facilities and a partner to help maintain and manage them. Even companies with a facilities manager and craftspeople on-staff need to consider the benefits of working with a partner to emphasize total facilities management.

As we enter a pivotal time for commercial real estate and space management, facilities upkeep is only becoming more important. Delegating upkeep or leaning on a service partner to maximize facilities is a smart investment for the present and future.

Keep reading: Quick Facility Management Guide for Beginners