There can be no doubt that the buildings we work in have a big impact on us. This issue was brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many people were asked to work remotely.
Interestingly, around one-third of workers admit that they are less productive when working from home. So, we can say with confidence that even if some companies choose to move to a fully remote working schedule, many will continue to work in offices, commercial spaces, and other industrial buildings.
It is important, then, for us to consider how buildings can operate more effectively. Facilities management can actually have a huge impact on issues as wide ranging as security and productivity—both things that are completely crucial to modern businesses.
Those in charge of good facilities management should see the pandemic as an opportunity to manage some of the issues that they don’t usually have the time to address. This could start with power quality management, something that is often overlooked.
The Importance of Power Quality Management
Many building managers and owners are unaware that there are different quality levels of power. It can be easy to assume that, because your power probably comes from the utility grid, there is a very consistent level of power at all times. However, this isn’t necessarily the case, and if your building has low levels of power quality, it could lead to serious issues.
Having low power quality can lead to poor performance for your building’s electrical systems. Equipment can be damaged, and this can ultimately lead to it failing. Consider the danger that it could have from the perspective of your security. Many security systems go offline immediately without power.
Poor power quality can lead to issues such as power sags. Sags are “short-term events of under-voltage that can occur when heavy loads are switched on.” These types of events can take down security features such as computer monitoring, CCTV, and much more. This shows just how crucial it is to continuously monitor your power quality as a part of good facilities management.
Making Physical Security a Priority
It is important for facilities managers to understand their role. It can vary from company to company, but ultimately it is important to be mindful of what you can. Security may not be a specific remit for you as a facilities manager, but there are still many things that you can do to optimize security overall.
It’s a great idea to periodically review the security features that your building has in place. They could include cameras, sensor lights, fences, locks, and more. You should ensure that you create a plan for monitoring them and feeling certain that everything is working correctly.
Air Quality and Productivity
Of course, it’s not just security that can be affected by facilities management. Good facilities management should place a focus on the comfort of a working environment and ensure that the relevant systems are not only running, but also doing so at an optimal level. Air quality is a key issue here.
There are many reasons to focus on air quality. For example, good air quality can actually provide enormous benefits in terms of productivity. Evidence has shown that employers who carried out air cleaning saw an increase in productivity of 11% Simply breathing in a slightly higher quality puts workers in a better position to work effectively.
Poor air quality has been linked to negative health outcomes for staff, too, and even if the issue isn’t that serious, it can still have a negative effect on facility management efficiency.
Working in a Clean Environment
It should certainly be noted that facilities management can have a range of different effects of productivity beyond the obvious. For example, it is well known that keeping a working environment clean and tidy is an important way to ensure that productivity levels are kept high. Employees are less motivated to work in an environment that they don’t consider to be clean and hygienic.
Not only is working in an unclean environment distracting, but it also implies to the employees that their employer doesn’t care about them enough to keep their workplace clean. Little details such as ensuring that desks are properly cleaned over the weekend and having garbage bins emptied can make a huge difference.
Good facilities management, then, should put a focus on keeping the work environment as clean as possible.
Comfort and Ergonomics
So much of good facilities management comes down to focusing more on providing workers with a comfortable environment to be in. This can include everything from ensuring the right temperature via an HVAC system that is running correctly, through to making sure that all workplace equipment is comfortable to use.
Some facilities managers forget that they should be thinking about the details such as the comfort level of chairs. Opting for ergonomic chairs can make a big difference; employees working in an ergonomic environment were found to be 17.5% more productive than those who were not.
Once again, this comes down to the kind of issues that might only seem small, but they can actually add up to a huge difference.
The Importance of Lighting
Lighting is another key area of facilities management that can impact productivity. Natural light is well known to be the most effective form of lighting for boosting productivity. But there are some cases where natural light is not an option, or where you need to add supplemental lightning to ensure an area is well lit.
It is most effective to provide as much flexibility with lighting as possible. Some workers will prefer brighter lights, whereas others will see productivity boosts in relatively lower lighting. When possible, try to give staff plenty of options for their lighting.
Security and productivity are both absolutely crucial to the effective running of a business. The more that facilities managers can do to maximize their approach to these key issues, the better it will be for the company as a whole.
Chester Avey has over a decade of experience in business growth management and cybersecurity. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other like-minded professionals through his writing. You can connect with Chester by following him on Twitter @ChesterAvey