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what is facilities management and why is it important?

The term facilities management refers to the maintenance and organisation of buildings and equipment. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) defines it as ‘the organisational function which integrates people, places and processes within the built environment and with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business’.

In this article we’ll take an in depth look at what a facilities manager does and why their job is so important.

What are the Objectives of a Facilities Manager?

Facilities management is a support service that ensures the effective and efficient delivery of an organisation’s goals, while also providing a good working environment for employees. Within a small business, facilities management may be part of the office manager’s role but as an organisation grows it will become necessary to employ someone specifically for the job. Effective facilities managers are well organised and methodical, and will aim to control costs, increase efficiencies and optimise business performance.

The Four Pillars of Facilities Management

There are four main areas of facilities management: people, processes, technology and the physical environment (eg. the building they work within). The bosses of a company need to get on with growing their business, but the mundane, day-to-day aspects of running it, which are secondary to the core aims of making a profit, still need to be managed.

This is where the facilities manager steps in. They are responsible for:

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Work Environment

The most important objective for a facilities manager is to create a safe and comfortable working environment for employees. As well as keeping people who work for a company happy in their day-to-day lives, it serves broader goals such as attracting and retaining talented staff, creating a positive working environment and improving productivity and efficiency. A good workplace makes people feel energised and enthusiastic about their work, and makes them want to perform well. A poor workplace, on the other hand, stops people being productive and can even make them ill, leading to a further fall in productivity.

Facility managers create a good working environment and support employers in various ways, including:

  • Coordinating desk arrangements and managing workspace demands
  • Managing employee directories
  • Planning and facilitating moves
  • Putting emergency planning in place for issues such as fire, flood, power outages, terrorism and natural disasters

Facilities managers ensure employees are able to stay focussed on their work by making sure their working environment is set up how they need it, comfortable and, above all, safe. Whenever issues in any of these areas arise, it’s up to the facilities manager to solve them.

Establishing Good Processes

Well-defined processes are the backbone of a successfully functioning workplace. Without them, there is room for error, delays, miscommunication, non-compliance and mismanaged expectations. All of these can stunt productivity, which is what a facilities manager must always be focussed on avoiding. These are four of the processes that should be implemented or improved on for a productive, efficient and safe workplace:

  • Work order submission. Making work order submissions as simple and efficient as possible is key to facilitating good results. A good example of this would be to set up a Slack channel specifically for facilities issues, allowing employees to flag issues quickly and easily.
Facilities Management

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