Successful facility managers know better than anyone – the job can be really hard to get right. You need to have the right team, the right tools, and the right resources. If one piece is missing, your workflow can fall apart quickly and you can be extremely overworked with nowhere to turn. If you want to step up your game and get into some great work habits, keep reading.
Engage with your employees and professional network
If your issue is that you don’t have the right team, try and build one! Reach out to your employees. Try to get to know them, their skills, and what they like to do. Setting them up for success will reflect positively on them, on you, and your facility as a whole.
Reaching out to your professional network can help you solve tough problems, research new methodologies and technology, and generally keep in touch with like-minded folks. You are guaranteed to learn something new, and regular networking will help shape the way you work.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “lifelong learner.” It might sound a little hokey, but it’s the way people should be working. Being set in your ways can set you right in a rut. Subscribe to blogs, magazines, LinkedIn groups, and join professional groups that will help you along your professional journey.
Know your regulations
A big part of being a facility manager is making sure things are up to code and compliant with legal regulations. There are a ridiculous amount of potential pitfalls to be aware of that can leave you with hefty fines from regulators and inspectors. It’s always easier to stay on top of things. Refer to your state DEQ, EPA, and OSHA sites to get a basic understanding of rules pertaining to your specific situation. Sometimes you can snag a free or low-cost consultation, education, and training (CET) resources there.
You can also find free resources from your insurance carrier or union. It’s possible they won’t have the specific information you need, but then all it takes is a phone call to a consultant or posting a question in one of your networks.
Strive towards higher efficiency
Higher efficiency lighting, heating & cooling will probably cost you more upfront, but making your buildings more efficient will show in the bottom line in the years to come. It’s worth the upfront investment.
Efficiency isn’t just for new LED light bulbs, you should also try to do the same thing with your workflow! We put together a list of tech tools for busy business owners that’s chockfull of ideas that are easy for facility managers to adapt as well.
- Clean off your desk and store things in a document cloud.
- Build a Geographic Information System (GIS) so everyone can know everything they need to about the facility and its system.
- Try a project management or task tracking system to increase communication efficiency.
None of these suggestions are one-size-fits all. Everyone has a different level of comfort with adopting new tools, especially when there’s a learning curve. Whatever you choose, make sure you do ample planning before rolling it out and using it on a regular basis. Communicate with the applicable team that will also be using it, provide training if necessary. Getting on the same page with any new efficiency or productivity tools is key.
This might be the most important key for success and also the hardest to achieve. As a facility manager, you’re going to be at or near the top of the chain of command for a myriad of issues – and lots of extra things fall in your lap. Being available to your team is absolutely essential. Answering their questions reasonably, offering advice (solicited or not), and offering to assist when possible will all help to build a strong backbone in your facility.
That’s not to say you should be constantly working and tethered to your phone – you need to achieve a balance between your professional life and personal life. If all the burden falls on you, appointing another leader will help. Whatever structure you come up with, an accompanying communication system should be tried and true.