Facility management is a blanket title that covers a lot of different bases. But generally speaking, it refers to the maintenance and management of any facilities that businesses need to work. 

The facilities in question are usually hardware related to buildings where the work happens. Things like central heating, air conditioning, or plumbing are some common examples. But facilities could also refer to things that aren’t equipment like security, or groundskeeping.  

Facility management can be split into two categories:

  • Strategic and tactical roles – Giving advice to business owners and different departments to help them understand how their decisions will affect the overall business. Think of it like a logistical role. For example, they might give insight into how late-night working would affect security.  
  • Operational roles – A much more hands on, skill-based role. They work with actual hardware in the facility to keep everything running smoothly and safely.  

What do facility managers do?

As we mentioned up top, the term facility management can cover a lot of different areas. So, let’s look at some examples of specific roles. 

Cleaning and groundskeeping

This is probably the most common role people think of when talking about facility management. Their job is to maintain and clean your place of work. This maintains the property value and work environment; both customers and employees appreciate a clean space. 

It’s not just for aesthetics though. In a lot of cases the job covers a lot of important health and safety obligations. Things like plumbing and proper trash disposal are essential for a building’s operation. Without these things, you could actually be breaking health and safety laws. 

Hardware Inspection & Maintenance

This covers any hardware in your facility. It could include smoke alarms, elevators, or air conditioning. Things that nobody really thinks twice about, until they break. 

It’s a facility manager’s job to perform routine maintenance checks, and repairs when they need to. This is vital for a lot of health and safety reasons and to ensure the smooth running of your building, but it also saves you a lot of money by looking after the essential equipment you have. 

They can also offer valuable advice about the condition of your equipment, the best stuff to buy, and how to treat it so it lasts longer. 

EHS: Environment, Health, and Safety

This role is about making sure that your facility is a safe and environmentally friendly place.

It involves promoting and advising on health and safety procedures, keeping everything safe and legally compliant. 

But it’s also about making sure the facility is complying with environmental standards. This requires in-depth knowledge of the specific environmental laws, and advising business owners on how best to reduce their emissions and waste. 

It’s a vital role to keep employees safe and do your bit for the environment, but it’ll also prevent any lawsuits, compensation claims, or general bad press.   

Space Management and Migration

Facility managers can help with any big changes to your workplace. This can include:

  • Building expansions and renovations.
  • Moving to a completely new building.
  • Moving employees or departments. 

They can advise you on the best way to manage the physical you have, or coordinate any big changes within that space, from a safety/efficiency point of view. 

Transportation

If your business uses shuttle, buses, or taxis, to transport employees, equipment, or clients, you’ll definitely need someone in charge of transportation. 

This role can refer to actual drivers, but it’s mainly about the overall coordination of the vehicles.

They need to know how to schedule transportation in the most efficient, cost effective way. 

For example, they can advise you on the best way to:

  • Stagger shuttles for employee transport without wasting money.
  • Navigate different airports 
  • Transport people and equipment over long distances, safely and efficiently. 

Security Services

Security is obviously an important part of any business. Most people immediately think of manned security, which is true, but security can cover a lot more. Specifically, security management will involve:

  • Installing and maintaining security systems like alarms and surveillance.
  • Advising on security strategy and procedures.
  • Tracking and distributing key cards and passcodes.
  • Recruiting, training, and managing security officers. 

The role of security actually keeps getting more complex as technology advances. A dedicated security manager will advise you on the latest security measures you’ll need to keep your business safe. 

Fire Safety

One that everybody knows, but rarely thinks about. Fire safety management involves:

  • Fire prevention.
  • Planning evacuation events in the event of a fire.
  • Advising on fire safety codes when it comes to the placement of employees. 
  • Maintaining fire safety equipment like site maps, smoke alarms, fire doors, and fire extinguishers.

It’s a job that requires constant attention, and an in-depth knowledge of fire safety codes. 

Operations and continuity

Facility management can also cover a more administrative role. A facility manager might be responsible for overseeing smooth business operations. This role can include:

  • Scheduling conference rooms.
  • Scheduling and receiving deliveries.
  • Issuing and recording equipment use.
  • Making sure there is effective communication between different departments.
  • Creating failsafe plans for things that might interrupt business operations. Things like blackouts, network problems, or natural disasters. 

Responsibilities like these are, again, very much behind the scenes. But it’s incredibly important for a business to run smoothly. Operations managers are usually in charge of the front desk, allowing them to effectively direct employees and customers. 

What are the benefits for small businesses?

The benefits are all specific to the different roles of facility managers. But, in a nutshell, we can say that facility management is about:

  • Keeping your workplace safe, preventing injuries and damage.
  • Keeping your workplace efficient, preventing loss of work hours.
  • Keeping your workplace up to legal standards, preventing bad press and legal trouble. 

The benefits for small businesses, apart from a nicer place to work in general, are less time and money wasted because of inefficient or unsafe facilities. 

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