While the term “facility” can refer to spaces such as an office, warehouse, retail space, or factory, “facilities management” is much broader.
Facilities management encompasses integrating people, places, processes, and technology to form a cohesive and functioning business.
That includes everything from the care of your employees, clients, and equipment to making sure space is in working order and properly maintained.
What is the Role of a Facility Manager?
Whether you have a dedicated facility manager or the job is one aspect of another staff role, such as an office manager, it’s essential to outline the scope of this very important function.
The facilities manager may have a range of responsibilities including:
- General oversight of the facility.
- Maintaining the working order of all systems and technology.
- Overseeing that the facility runs as efficiently as possible.
- Ensuring the safety of workers and customers.
Making sure building codes and government regulations are met, such as adhering to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) in the U.S. or the European Accessibility Act in the EU, complying with OSHA regarding dealing with hazardous materials (HazMat), complying with BOMA standards, and maintaining a general overall safe working environment.
- Finding the best way to allocate workspace.
- Saving money whenever possible.
- Finding ways to boost productivity.
- Creating an environment that is pleasing to both clients and customers.
Evaluating software to better manage the facility and keep track of spaces, physical assets, and maintenance records.
- Locating new space as needed.
An individual well-suited for this role will have strong attention to detail and ideally have a background in the following areas:
- Operations and maintenance
- Project management
- Real estate and property management
- Communication skills
- Finance and business
- Leadership and strategy
- Emergency preparedness and business continuity
- Environmental stewardship and sustainability
Choosing a New Facility
One of the biggest responsibilities facing the facility manager is when a business needs to change location. In addition to rent and renovation costs, there are many factors to consider, including:
- Ideal and minimal address requirements for your business—Do clients visit your office on a regular basis? Is it important to be near them? Should you be in a prestigious location or can you be in a more affordable industrial or office park?
- The overall square footage needed, factoring in current needs and planned growth
- The overall design of your space: Open, cubes, offices, or a hybrid. Perhaps your business has privacy needs such as for HR or client consultations, whereas an open design might work well for a team of web developers.
- Commute time for your key employees
The size of the needed reception area
- Availability, ease of access, and affordability of parking for both clients and employees
- Needed breakrooms, conference rooms
- Storage or warehouse needs
- IT infrastructure
- Lighting and acoustics
- The cost and condition of the HVAC systems, temperature control, and after-hours accessibility to heat and A/C
- Building law compliant for wheelchair ramps, fire exits, etc.
- Building security
- The cost of CAM (Common Area Maintenance) costs, such as for the maintenance of the building lobby, elevator, restrooms, and hallways.
- General upkeep of the office building and exterior (roofing, landscaping, painting, paving)
Because your office is a reflection of your company, does this new space reflect your company culture or vibe? Can it be adapted to project the image your clients and employees expect?
Note for startups: Consider shared office spaces that allow you to share utilities, equipment, conference rooms, and sometimes support staff with other small businesses. Plus, the networking advantage can be huge for startups.
Making the Move
Here are critical action steps prior to, during, and after the move:
- Research potential properties, landlords, and availability dates.
- Ensure the space fits your needs.
- Talk with other tenants in the new space to learn from their experiences.
- Create a capital budget including moving costs, furniture, IT transition, wall décor, and the replacement of basic equipment such as trash cans, coffee makers, etc.
- Make sure the lease terms address all required needs and is evaluated by your legal team before signing. You’ll want to negotiate a rent cap clause so that the rent cannot be raised more than a set percentage each year. Include a first right of negotiation for any adjacent office space if it becomes available—this could save you the hassles of moving again if you grow fast.
- Get bids from potential movers and organize the pack and move process.
- Get the technology working.
- Create a system to organize supplies, collect refuse, and handle recycling at the new location.
- Set up as few break rooms as possible to better facilitate interactions among staff.
- Make the move!
- Ensure your communications team is ready to announce the move to clients, vendors, staff, the media, and other stakeholders.
- Post-move, plan regular company events to increase morale, such as an open house, monthly birthday lunches, departmental brown bags, or community service events.