Everyone faces challenges in their jobs and facility managers are no exception. Luckily, with each challenge there are opportunities to rise to the occasion and gain a competitive advantage while finding sustainable solutions for the long term benefit of the industry. Here are 5 of the the challenges that facility managers face every day.
1. People don’t know what facility managers do (not even their own colleagues). Facility managers focus on improving efficiency by reducing operating costs and increasing productivity. They manage and operate buildings, and ensure that the building has the most sustainable working environment for its employees and activities. Facility managers are involved in both strategic planning and day-to-day operations like procurement and contract management, maintenance, cleaning, catering and vending, health and safety, security, utilities and communications, and space management. Because their positions are so diverse it’s hard for other employees in the organization and outsiders to get a full understanding of what they do and they are often tasked with things outside of their primary duties as a result.
2. The public is very enthusiastic about energy saving, but investors lack confidence. Investors can’t see a clear picture of their return on investment due to the varied nature of energy efficiency plans. There is a need for more uniform standardization that allows investors to see how their money will be used and what kind of return they can expect.
3. Facility management needs to be better incorporated into design and construction in order to be effective. Operations and design go hand-in-hand when considering highly efficient buildings. A well managed building may never achieve top energy scores if it was not designed accordingly. Similarly, updating an old building without improving operations will have little effect on overall efficiency.
4. Risk of building data security breaches and cyber-attacks. There are thousands of entry points in and out of companies and data security is still lacking across many automation systems. The risk of breaches and cyber-attacks is a real possibility that facility managers face on a regular basis.
5. Getting occupants to buy in to energy efficiency efforts. Without 100% automation throughout a building, all the planning in the world will not stop careless employees from ignoring environmentally friendly practices, like turning off the lights when leaving a room. Technology, including automating sustainable choices can help, but strong leadership goes a long way in getting employees to respond.
Knowing the issues is half the battle. Through strong leadership, any company can overcome these challenges and help build new standards for an industry on the rise. With the advancement of smart buildings and more attention on energy efficiency, facility management is more important than ever and will continue to grow in the years to come.