Soft service facility management may not be as essential as hard facility management. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to manage if you want to elevate your business or commercial organization. What does soft facilities management mean? Let’s find out.
What Is Soft Facilities Management?
What is a soft service in FM? Soft service facility management, or soft FM, deals with the environment’s non-technical and non-physical aspects. It deals with managing facilities that aren’t directly connected to the building.
Instead, it handles the management of how your facility is used. It usually benefits the employees and workers that work in the building. It focuses on keeping the area clean, safe, and comfortable for the people within the premises.
That said, soft services usually consist of actions and services that can change. They’re non-essential and can vary widely in terms of management. Soft FM can also vary in terms of how you use them and who they’re for.
Hard vs Soft Service Facility Management
A soft services definition can be hard to grasp on its own. Comparing it with hard FM and seeing the difference may be useful.
Hard facility management deals with the opposite. It handles the technical and physical. For example, hard FM will deal with all your plumbing and HVAC problems. These are physically linked to your building and are necessary to maintain.
On the other hand, soft FM may deal with things like cleaning, waste management, and security. These elements are not essential to the building or running the business. However, they are useful and uniquely important in maintaining your facility’s environment.
Examples of Soft Facilities Management Services
A better way to understand soft facilities management services is through examples. Here are some common types of soft FM that many companies often have:
- Cleaning and Janitorial Services. These include the regular cleaning of the premises. They include cleaning the lobby, restrooms, and offices.
- Reception and Concierge Services. These include front desk management, mail handling, and visitor management services.
- Pest Control. To maintain proper hygiene, these services prevent and control pests like insects, rodents, and other animals.
- Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Services. These include landscaping your garden, lawn, and other public outdoor spaces or green areas.
- Security. These services deal with building security. They establish security personnel, emergency response units, access control, and CCTVs.
- Waste Management. These are an additional part of your standard cleaning services. They deal with the collection, segregation, and disposal of your building’s waste in an environmentally friendly way.
- Housekeeping. These involve room cleaning, linen management, washing services, and others you find in hospitals, hotels, and residential buildings.
- Catering and Food Services. These focus on providing food and beverages to your staff. They deal with establishing cafeterias, canteens or catering to special events inside the building.
Why Is Soft Facilities Management Important?
Businesses often think hard facilities management is crucial. They don’t often give as much weight to soft services in facilities management. However, while soft FM may be non-essential, they’re uniquely important.
That’s because they can greatly affect your workplace and workforce. In fact, one study has shown that cleanliness may impact worker productivity and job satisfaction. Thus, your facility’s cleanliness, pest control, and waste management can benefit or damage your employees’ output.
Another study also found that improved cafeteria nutrition may affect employees’ attitudes. This means that providing healthier food in your canteens may also improve employee productivity.
Apart from these, many other soft service facility management aspects are almost necessary. For example, maintaining proper security is essential to ensuring your employees and property are safe. Cleaning and waste management services also prevent your building from deteriorating. This makes it last longer.
In addition, focusing on soft service facility management can attract potential applicants and keep talented employees. People want to work in a well-maintained facility, not a rundown office space. It can also reflect well on your company and elevate your image.
That said, it’s important to consider soft FM as an investment rather than an unnecessary cost. They indirectly affect your company and workers. Furthermore, they can make your environment more functional and productive.
How to Manage Soft Facility Management Services
Soft services facilities management can be difficult to maintain. There are plenty of categories within it, after all. All of it can be hard to keep track of. Here are some ways you can handle soft FM in your business:
1. Keep a Suggestion Box
Business owners can’t always see every soft FM-related problem within the company. Keeping a suggestion box is a great way to understand what employees need. You may also conduct an informal survey to see what you need to take care of.
Regardless of the method, having a suggestion box is a great way to create a feedback loop. It covers your blind spots and ensures people feel heard. Moreover, doing it helps your employees feel that you care about their well-being. This boosts overall morale.
2. Hire Contractors
It’s not always easy to fulfill all your organization’s soft FM needs. That’s why we recommend hiring one or multiple contractors to manage facilities. The advantage of hiring only one contractor is continuity. There will be no problems with communication when some facilities are connected, like cleaning and waste management.
Meanwhile, hiring multiple contractors is beneficial if you want to ensure safety nets. When one contractor is unavailable, the other aspects of your facility won’t be affected.
Regardless, hiring one or more contractors is essential to soft FM. They’re experts at what they do. Hence, they’re more familiar with protocol and proper maintenance procedures. Moreover, these contractors usually handle both hard and soft facility service management. Hiring one will be beneficial for maintaining both services.
3. Appoint an In-House Facility Manager
Apart from hiring contractors, you can also appoint an in-house facility manager. This manager is in charge of overseeing everything related to facility management. They’re also in charge of working with your third-party contractors to ensure everything runs smoothly.
This limits the communication and scheduling problems that may occur if you work with multiple contractors. Furthermore, it ensures that problems will be resolved in a timely manner.
Soft FM: An Important Service
While soft service facility management isn’t as necessary as hard FM, it’s still important to maintain. It elevates your organization. Moreover, it keeps your workers and visitors happy, thus boosting productivity.
Maintenance Specialists Inc. offers various facilities management services you can avail of. Call us today at 704.405.6000 or get in touch with us online for a free estimate!