The Top Five Priorities of a Facility Manager to Managing Expectations

One of the most important skills as a facility manager is managing expectations. It is difficult to prioritize tasks while maintaining a happy workplace, but it is completely doable! Keeping these five points in mind, expectations will be managed, and satisfaction will be at an all-time high.

1. Safety and Compliances

Safety and compliances are at the top of the list for ensuring the well-being and security of clients and employees, as well as everyone working in a facility. All bad plumbing, electrical, and design flaws should be of immediate concern and at the top of the list. The expectation here is that, as a facility manager, you are maintaining a safe working environment for all parties. Keeping up with compliances and codes will manage the expectations that you care about your work.

2. Understanding the End User’s Final Goal

Understanding what the end user wants is a large component of the job as a facility manager! Yes, you are there to do your job, but no project is the same and expected outcomes may differ from project to project. You are in the service industry, as a facility manager, serving up a great outcome according to the end-user is what you should strive for! Manage their expectations from the get-go and take the time to fully comprehend what the final results should be according to the project.

3. Flexibility with Communication Styles

This ties into being able to understand the goals and wishes for the project and managing the expectations in the process. As a facility manager, there should be the understanding that you are working for the end user. Communicate early on what you expect from them and ask what they expect of you. Be clear with how you work, what type of communication you prefer, and also let the customers communicate how they like as well.

4. Longevity versus a Quick Fix

As stated above, you are expected to complete the job and manage expectations in the process. You are there to complete the job with as a few problems as possible on the day to day basis while keeping the end goal in mind. With that said, it is important to look at the end goal in terms of longevity instead of using quick fixes. Everyone loves instant gratification, but it is prudent to look to the future satisfaction. A quick fix might lead to more problems down the road, but a solution that may take more time and effort might be better for client satisfaction for the long term.

5. Documentation

One of the last priorities to keep in mind would be keeping everything documented. As a facility manager it is your job to know what the client said and wants. Do not walk around saying that you will remember what was said in a meeting or on the phone. Documentation of conversations, contracts, compliances, and all the extraneous materials needed to get the job done ensures a higher satisfaction. This will manage the end user’s expectation by reassuring that they are in the right hands and can trust that the job will be done well.

Keeping the priorities of a facility manager in mind, expectations can be properly managed and client satisfaction can be met! Whether it’s abiding by security guidelines, complying with a final vision, supervising and maintaining open communication, planning for a successful future, or making sure there is documentation to refer back to, HF Planners has experienced facility managers to manage all of your expectations. Need help starting a project? Contact us today to find out how we can help keep projects moving and on time to meet the deadlines.   

Managing Expectations 101

In an ideal workplace, you understand exactly what is expected of you and what you expect from the people around you. However, often times things are lost in translation or simply not stated at all. There is a way to hone in on the skill that eradicates all doubts and unknowns for employees and employers expecting outcomes. This skill is called managing expectations. At any level, you have the opportunity to clearly lay out the plans and rules about what is expected of your employees, bosses or colleagues from the start! Managing expectations is an underrated skill that ensures satisfaction on all ends from manager to employee to customer. Here are a few sure ways to sharpen the tools you need to help with managing expectations:

1. This is an applicable statement for most things in life: it is best not to make assumptions. Do not assume someone understands completely without asking. It is wise not to assume the person completing the task will do everything perfectly, and do not assume that everything will occur seamlessly. With that being said, it is best to be clear with everything from the start. Set clear guidelines and write them down either on paper or via email to set the standard. Something that the employee will be able to refer back to after instructions were given is an extremely useful system.

2. Be realistic. Did you hire humans or robots? Chances are you hired humans, and mistakes will happen.  Encourage questions by setting this reassurance up in advance. You are more likely to have employees who are comfortable to address an issue early on if it arises and quickly diffuse a situation. With smaller, more achievable goals, the motivation will remain high through the entirety of a project. The end goal will seem less daunting. If employees know that their expectations are reasonable, they feel comfortable to ask for help when needed.

3. Have concrete guidelines. Define what success means to you as a manager (or an employee). The expectations should be mutually understood regarding what success looks like for the context of the company and role by providing or asking for examples of previous work from past successes. Another element of success is to ask about what should be prioritized. Everyone has different opinions on what should be prioritized if it is not explicitly stated. Also, having concrete deadlines for documents like permits and compliances complete tasks more efficiently. Without any assumptions (back to point one!) there will be no confusion when things should be done, and the road to the end goal will be a smooth ride.

4. The common theme of all of these points is communication. Being upfront with communication styles is key and can properly manage expectations on all sides. This allows for managers and employees to share the important information correctly. Communicate what work needs to be done and whose responsibility it is. Communicate with appraisal when work has been done well and communicate effectively when work has not been done to satisfaction. Whatever it may be, communicate accordingly and effectively. No one wants to be left in the dark, and clear communication benefits all parties.

Managing expectations can be a very simple task keeping in mind that that no one is a mind reader, and you as an employee, client or manager is responsible for ensuring that communications is clear and all expectations are met!

At HF Planners, we have the experts in managing expectations through detailed facility planning and facility management. During our different phases of design, we can accurately plan and tailor to meet based on schedule, budget, and deadlines. We are able to manage expectations by providing clear communication and materials throughout the entire process. You will never feel in the dark when you work with us! Interested in finding out more? Contact us today!

How to Facilitate the Change to a Hot Desking Office

Hot desking is the new wave of workplace design where there is no assigned desk or designated area for the employees. There is often a variety of different types of areas for employees to work in such as desks, couches, comfy chairs, as well as conference rooms and gathering spots throughout the office. If it is not occupied, you can use it! There is also hotel scheduling, where employees reserve a space, or zone for activity-based working; where employees designate space for them self or their team. With these new types of office environments, you will find a way to facilitate the change with the whole staff on board!

Here are some tips on implementing Hotel Scheduling and Hotdesking:

1. Have your employees’ input in the planning process.

Most of the time, the office is where people are spending an average of eight hours a day, five days a week. That’s a significant amount of time, so why not let them have involvement of the planning or design? Employees can express or present their suggestions for what environment they work best in, and your designer can make the most synergistic space happen!

2. Create a clear and concise policy for the employees.

If there are no set rules, then employees will just assume, and that is not idea in some cases. Part of managing a new office space that consists of hot desking, make sure the employees know the policy on how to treat the office space. The rules could include wiping down the desk or table after use every day so that the work stations stay clean, or if there are stationary computers, make sure everything is saved and logged out of prior to shutting down at the end of the day. Other policy ideas could include noise and headphones rules, which could tie into the design planning of acoustics in the new office space. Whatever the policy may be, make sure it is clear and known so there is no confusion on how to treat the new office space!

3. Introduce technology for communication.

In a traditional office, most desks have a designated phone that is assigned to the person sitting at the assigned desk. However, in a hot desking, hotel scheduling, or activity-based working situation, the designated phone will most likely not be there. There are so many different types of new technology now that can be used to streamline workplace communications with ease. Skype, G-Suite, Slack, Zoom, Outlook, and HipChat are just a few apps and tools to help unify the office into being in constant communication from any computer or phone. With a simple login, any employee can be connected, and they won’t be tied down to a single designated location!

4. Create a variety of spaces for all types of workers.

This ties back to the first point, keeping your employees in mind during planning is key. Whether you are relocating or renovating the existing office space, it is important to understand your employees needs. You and the designer can work together to create a space that makes everyone happy. You do not have to make the office all hot desking if that may not be suitable for everyone. Perhaps someone enjoys personalizing their space, so create a place to do just that. A bulletin board for personal pictures of flyers can help, where people will take pride in showing others a piece of home or life outside work. Lockers or cubbies can also be added so employees have the option to leave items at work they may not want to bring back and forth from the office every day.

With so many benefits to having your workplace make the upgrade over to the new wave of office design, it is helpful to know how to manage the change. With allowing your employees to feel like they are involved, clearly stating the expectations on how to treat the new environment, making sure communication is accessible, and everyone remains comfortable, you can absolutely take your business to the next level!

Ready to get started on your new workplace design? At HF Planners, LLC we have experienced designers to help transform your space into whatever works best with your office needs. HF Planners, LLC provides Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you find the right resources and design styles for your facility. Contact us today!

The Future of the Workplace Workspace

At some point in our adult life, we were expected to accept the 9-5 office position with a desk in front of a stationary computer. However, just months before this assumed transition, we were getting our school work done laying on a bed, papers sprawled about with music blasting in the background. Alternatively, we were in a library setting, often choosing which seat had the best lighting, or could fit as many friends as possible at one table, or had enough outlets to power all the devices that needed a charge. Whatever the situation, we had the freedom to work how and where we wanted, without conforming to the workplace expectation. What if the office finally caught on, and our employers listened to our past college selves, and let their employees choose their own work setting again?

This concept is called hoteling, hot desking, free address, or activity-based working. No assigned seats, no boring cubicles, but rather spaces where employees are actually comfortable, and the resources they need are readily available. It began with employees wanting more flexible hours. “Longer hours do not necessarily make workers more productive,” and then employers realized that productivity stemmed from employees feeling comfortable in their locations. That’s when designers started helping companies to begin “….revamping its notion of the workplace” (Market Watch The new office floorplans: flexible or demoralizing?” 2019).

 Hoteling is a practice in workspaces that allows for employees to reserve a space and resources they need in the office on a non-permanent basis. Hot desking is where employees are able to come and go freely, with no assigned space. Co-workers can reclaim their old habits and work how they feel accustomed to, and how they used to get their best work done. Activity-based working is an office space that has a variety of settings, from couches, to desks, to formal conference rooms, back to comfy chairs and hammock swings. These methods have been proven to save the office real estate finances and save money on resources because less space and materials are needed when the employees are only using the space and things they need, not what they are assigned. As an added bonus, less space and resources call for more environmentally greener workplaces as well.

 With this new wave of non-conforming work environments, productivity and employee satisfaction has peeked. Who would have thought your college self had it right this entire time?

Want to learn more about the future of workplace office workspace, and to take your company to the next level? Contact us today!

What are the benefits of Hoteling in your office?

Hoteling or Hot Desking – is the new way of reserving your workspace or office.  Reservation-based style of office management on an as-needed basis.

This method has become very popular over the past decade.  The concept came about in the communications and technology sector – where more employees started telecommuting or working from home and would call an office concierge to schedule a seat or office as required.

Benefits of Hoteling:

· Financial - companies use hoteling as a cost savings for real estate costs, companies can allow for headcount growth without the need to invest in more space for employees.

· More Resources – offices who have implemented telecommuting have discovered that while employees were absent, the resources in the office are readily available to the staff and visiting employees.

· Engaged Employees – when providing a space without rigorous daily requirements, and promoting a space where employees can choose where they sit allows for employee interaction and engagement.

·  Productivity Increases – by creating a flexible work environment, employees can now choose what type of environment they want to work in.  Hoteling provides the end-user to reserve a collaboration work area or a conference room to work privately.

For more ways to improve your office layout to incorporate the Hoteling concept into your workplace, contact us today!

7 Ways to Effectively Brand Your Facility

Interior Branding is important, recent studies have shown that more business owners have begun to elevate their brand, by making the link between brand identity and their physical space. Whether a business operates from a single site or multiple locations across the country, when it comes to interior branding consistency is key.

 Here are 7 easy ways to brand your space:

  • Research Your Competition

  • Establish a Budget and Invest Wisely

  • Explore all Options

  • Be Consistent in Your Initiatives

  • Design for Maximum Impact

  • Make a Lasting Impression

  • Be Subtle

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5 Ways to Brand Your Workspace

Interior Branding is important, recent studies have shown that more business owners have begun to elevate their brand, by making the link between brand identity and their physical space. Whether a business operates from a single site or multiple locations across the country, when it comes to interior branding consistency is key.

 Here are 5 easy ways to brand your space:

  • Signage - the entryway configuration is the first interaction any visitor faces when entering the office. Signage would include company name, colors and logo.

  • Storage - common areas in the office should send a message about the organization as a whole.

  • Color - One of the easiest way to brand a space. Colors do not have to be limited to the walls or the floor, color can be integrated to panels on furniture or upholstery in collaborative areas.

  • Layout - depending on the type of organization, whether there is more open area than offices, the layout will impact how the space is configured; like having more collaborative space.

  • Furniture - ensure that you have the right furniture - furniture is all about functionality, which lays a great foundation for branding. Think about using colors and choices that can be modified with your ever-changing business.

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How will Artificial Intelligence transform the future of the workplace?

AI has become streamlined particularly within the Human Resources process but has quickly disrupted the way we virtually operate in the workplace. 

AI in the workplace is currently influencing:

  • Human Resources
  • Unionized Employees
  • Data Privacy and Security Services
  • Employee Benefits
  • Workplace Transition Policies

Embracing technological advances is the future of the workplace, Artificial Intelligence has penetrated into every major industry from healthcare to transportation and is rapidly transforming the employee experience.

New technology initiatives using artificial intelligence in the workplace require the design technology roadmap, defining the short-term and long-term goals.

Customer engagement has now become something that is programmed and no longer measured.


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