Those working in commercial maintenance face an ongoing challenge. How can they properly keep facilities up to standards while keeping costs down? And is there any way to predict what changes and challenges are coming within this industry in order to keep up with them? Savvy managers can stay ahead of changes in commercial maintenance and keep facility operation costs down by taking a look at the tips below.
1.Changes To Office Communication
The most successful facility operators are the ones who are the most flexible. There’s nothing wrong with developing a routine to get regular tasks accomplished, but as older workers retire, are you willing to modify some of those routines to accommodate the younger members of the “digital revolution” that are taking their place? For example, in the past you may have had held meetings to discuss schedules or other work issues. But today’s device friendly software offers apps that allow supervisors to be in constant contact with workers who are in constant contact with their smartphones. Are you taking advantage of this?
2.Green Is Here To Stay
While buildings that were constructed with sustainability in mind were once a novelty, they’re becoming a trend, and in a couple of decades, the construction norm. If facility managers are not already comfortable with data collecting techniques like the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, then they should become so, as this will increasingly become part of their reporting requirements. This is a good time for facility managers to be comparison shoppin
g for “green” suppliers and sub-contractors as well, in terms of both price and quality.
3.You Can Never Be Too Educated
Complex building systems can make life easier, safer, and environmentally better in many ways for those who both work in and maintain these facilities. But these more complex systems mean more training in order to operate them, as well as ongoing training to reflect updates. Facility managers will need not only need to keep abreast of these training needs, but special needs within them, such as for bilingual employees.
4.Being Able To Do Business In An Emergency Is Good
In a natural disaster or aftermath of a manmade crisis, will your facility be open as usual in case anyone shows up? Do you have a emergency preparedness plan in place not only to benefit users of the facility, but police, fire, and other first responders? As more and more government agencies are expecting businesses to assume responsibility for having plans on their end, facility managers are being expected to create and implement these plans. Such plans should contain outreach protocols as well as internal procedures.
5. Working From Home (Or On The Road)
As mentioned in item # 1, your employees, especially younger ones, are increasingly comfortable working with apps on mobile devices, which is a great way to conduct some facility management business. But some of these employees may be “mobile” in other ways as well. They might be working on facility assignments from the road, using wireless access and vehicles as “offices”. Or they might be working from home one or more days a week. Both of these scenarios can result in productive work and reduced facility costs if handled properly. Prudent managers should have a firm policy in place for working in such situations if employees want or must utilize them.
6. Changing Office Structures
Times have changed for offices. Many of them have gone from desks and “cubicle farms” to “open floor plans” and some very odd hours indeed. All of this affects facility managers, including when and how much of a building should be open, and where and how building resources should be directed. Wise facility managers are advised to stay current with these frequently changing ways of office running, as it will affect their own work.
7. Embracing (Appropriate) Technology
Like the construction industry, facility management companies have ben slow to embrace technology. After all, there has been no real need in the past. Now it seems as though there’s a new software product coming out every week, and each new generation is an improvement on the previous one. Today’s internet based software allows facility management companies to handle administrative functions, maintenance appointments, reallocating floor plans and renovations with a few clicks. But managers should not assume that all software is appropriate for their particular needs. Questions to ask before adopting a particular package include:
Is this software compatible with our own technology needs? Will this software be easy for the entire staff to learn and use? Do upgrades download easily and with a minimum of disruption? Does the software manufacturer handle all IT needs? Is there a quick response and correction time when problems occur? And finally, can this software be customized and adapted to reflect the frequently changing needs of a busy commercial maintenance firm?