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.   

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

Read More on this topic.

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.

Read More on this topic.

ADA Compliant Parking Lot

Parking facilities need to be ADA compliant.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides specific guidelines and rules regarding accessible parking in any facility.  When you are not in compliance with accessibility rules, it can lead to hefty fines and lawsuits.  Do you know if your parking facility is in compliance?

The first thing you must do to be ADA compliant is to provide an adequate number of accessible parking spaces.  This is dependent upon the size of your lot.  For example, if you have 1-25 spaces in your facility, you must have one accessible parking lot. 

 Guidelines vary slightly for medical facilities and in some places, accessible parking spaces are required to meet specific parameters--the width must be 8 ft for a car and 11 feet for a van and the access aisle must be 5 feet wide and be as long as the parking space.

When it comes to signage, handicap parking signs must contain the International Symbol of Accessibility and be located in front of the parking space.  They must be installed 5 feet about the ground so they have high visibility.  If the facility contains fewer than 4 spaces are not required to have signage for accessible spaces.

Pavement Markings--while accessible parking spaces are not required to be painted with blue lines or have the International Symbol for Accessibility marked on the pavement, this is a common practice and it should be highly considered.

WePark

San Francisco has the highest proportion of coworking spaces relative to its population, according to a recent article published in Fast Company.  Coworking spaces have become a popular option for freelancers, remote employees, and entrepreneurs.  But in many major cities, coworking spaces bring with them extremely high costs.

 On April 29, San Francisco based coder Victor Pontis, a San-Francisco based coder, decided to prove a point while launching the initiative called WePark.  The point is that space dedicated to on-street parking in major cities could be put to more human-centric use.  This is not the first time that someone has thought of using parking spaces for co-working. In fact, every September, activists all over the world participate in PARK(ing) Day--which encourages people to put parking spaces to use (other than for parking.)

 While WePark is a pop-up style event, its creator, Pontis believes that it is a movement that is taking on speed and isn’t going to go away. He believes that one of the best ways for it to work is in collaboration with established brick and mortar businesses, which will give the co-working parking space users access to Wi-Fi, restrooms and water, and electricity in case charging of laptops and other devices is necessary. While this is just the beginning of a movement, there are plans for organizing it in a more sophisticated way. 

 You can read more about WePark here

Adequate Lighting in Parking Facilities

Most experts agree that lighting is the most important safety feature in a garage/lot to minimize the risk of theft, accidents and violent crimes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 in 10 property crimes—including motor vehicle theft and property theft—occur in parking lots or garages.

 One of the most effective ways to deter crime in parking lots/garages is by making sure that the lighting in the facility is adequate.  According to a DOJ report, “one the few facility features that has been documented to reduce crimes in parking facilities.” Lighting design plays a very important role in creating a secure parking lot/garage.

First, consider the design features that actually invite crime into a parking lot/garage:

●     Vague and Unclear Signage. Because large parking facilities can often become confusing and difficult to navigate, poor signage can distract people from what’s happening around them as they try to search for their cars--making them susceptible to crime.

●     Failure to Control Access. When parking lots are unsecure, they provide criminals with easy access. Entrances and exits should monitor access and control traffic flow.

●     Poor Lighting. When a facility is well-lit, it eliminates the potential for hiding spaces and helps to increase awareness of parker’s surroundings.

●     Lack of Surveillance. By making sure a facility is properly monitored with security guards and camera systems, it can be a major component to deter crime. 

●     Lack of Maintenance. When criminals see that a facility is rundown, it alerts them that security is not tight and actually invites criminals into the facility.

 

If you think that you might need to make improvements in your lighting, here are a few things to consider:

●     If your parking facility is over ten years old, updating your lighting to more modern fixtures will provide ongoing savings with reduced energy costs.

●      Lighting plays a critical role in how well camera systems work in an outdoor environment. In order to get the most out of your CCTV security system, having uniform lighting is important..

●      Be informed about the ordinances that your city or town has enacted regarding “light pollution.”  Ordinances set limits on the amount and type of lighting that you can use in your facility.

●      Lighting requires regular maintenance.  If the lighting in your facility is older or dirty, you will get less output.  It is important to have lighting cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires business and facility owners to provide a safe and healthy workplace.  Often facility owners don’t understand the complexity of this law--it extends beyond the building and includes safety in your parking garage or lot. It’s basic premises law, employers are responsible for any area that they own.

It is important to understand ways in which employers can keep their parking facilities safe because if not properly maintained it can lead to accidents.  Workplace accidents cost business owners, lower employee morale, decrease productivity and workers’ compensation claims.

By following these safety tips, not only can employers keep their employees safe, but avoid the unnecessary negative impacts that it can have on a business.

1.    Install clear and proper signage.  In order to keep traffic flowing smoothly, signage and directional signs should be easy to understand to guide vehicles in the correct direction. In a parking lot, drivers may be backing up or driving the wrong direction and not focused on pedestrians. Lots and/or garages should also use visible striping and paint so that people can identify, parking spaces, handicapped spaces and crosswalks.

2.  Maintain cement and pavement.  Make sure that all walkways and roadways are maintained so that they are know potholes and walkways do not have areas where someone could slip, trip or fall.  When inclement weather occurs, it is important because wintry weather or rain can create slick, icy or wet patches that can lead to injury. 

3. Provide ample lighting.  By making sure the lighting in the parking facility is adequate, it will help decrease the possibility of accidents, property damage, theft or violence.  Performing quarterly maintenance checks is important to replace burned-out or non-functioning lights. Also, make sure that trees and shrubbery do not block light fixtures.

Are you ready to create a safer workplace for your facility? Let the experts at HF Planners help.  HF Planners, LLC provides Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. We have a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

Co-Working In Parking Areas

San Francisco has the highest proportion of coworking spaces relative to its population, according to a recent article published in Fast Company.  Coworking spaces have become a popular option for freelancers, remote employees, and entrepreneurs.  But in many major cities, coworking spaces bring with them extremely high costs.

 On April 29, San Francisco based coder Victor Pontis, a San-Francisco based coder, decided to prove a point while launching the initiative called WePark.  The point is that space dedicated to on-street parking in major cities could be put to more human-centric use.  This is not the first time that someone has thought of using parking spaces for co-working. In fact, every September, activists all over the world participate in PARK(ing) Day--which encourages people to put parking spaces to use (other than for parking.)

 While WePark is a pop-up style event, its creator, Pontis believes that it is a movement that is taking on speed and isn’t going to go away. He believes that one of the best ways for it to work is in collaboration with established brick and mortar businesses, which will give the co-working parking space users access to Wi-Fi, restrooms and water, and electricity in case charging of laptops and other devices is necessary. While this is just the beginning of a movement, there are plans for organizing it in a more sophisticated way. 

 You can read more about WePark here

 HF Planners, LLC provides Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. We have a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

7 Concepts on the WELL Building Standard

Over six years ago, IWBI gathered a diverse group of professions to develop the Well Building Standard. It was established because they understood that while 90% of people’s time is spent indoors, there had been no reliable standards established to promote health and well-being. There are many benefits for building owners to promote standards in which people can thrive in.   

 

Buildings are monitored over several years to identify how they are performing in 7 key areas.  The 7 key concepts of the Well Building Standards are:

 

Air: This area focuses on cleaning protocols, banning cigarette smoking and vaping in and outside of a building, having air filtration systems to keep the air inside the building as clean as possible.

 

Water: This concept focuses on providing quality water that is available for employees and building occupants to drink.  Buildings can do this by having filtered drinking water dispensers in refrigerators, or simply a water cooler.  It is required that drinking water be available to all employees within 100 feet of occupied desks.

 

Light: The focus of this concept is to create an office that ensures that all desks have access to natural daylight.  There are many ways to accomplish this, even if windows are limited. Glass walls, circadian task lights and other forms of artificial light that mimic daylight. 

 

Comfort. Well Standards require that 30 percent of workstations provide sit-to-stand capabilities. A new trend in workstations are desks that electronically can be adjusted to suite the occupant in terms of desk surface and computer monitors. The comfort level of employees has a great impact on focus and overall satisfaction and wellness.  Additionally, thermal comfort should be considered as well.

 

Fitness, Nourishment, and Mind. This concept encourages physical and mental wellness for all staff.  The WELL Standard provides incentives for employees to stay physically active: if employees track 50 workouts in six months, then they can expense $200 of fitness-related costs bi-annually.

 

Statistics have shown that when organizations follow the Well Standards productivity increases.  In one project survey, the staff felt over 85 percent more productive in the space.  Are you ready to create the most productive, healthiest space for your employees?  Let the experts at HF Planners help!

 

HF Planners, LLC provides Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. We have a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

 

About the WELL Movement

If you haven’t heard about the WELL movement, there are a few things you need to do to get started.  WELL is the leading standard for supporting health and well-being in buildings--committed to improving health and human experience through impactful design.

 At HF Planners, we believe that all design should adhere to the WELL Building Standard.  It is important for contractors to understand the WELL Standard and why and how you can become involved. 

 About WELL

WELL was launched in October 2014 through extensive research and development.  The WELL Building standard has become the premier standard for buildings, interiors, and communities who want to implement features that support human health and wellness.  It was developed by combining scientific and medical research, information on environmental health, behavioral, health and risk factors and how they affect practices in building design, construction, and management. The WELL Building Standard was established through an expert peer review process--it includes three phases--scientific, practitioner and medical review.

 The best thing to do to get started: Join the WELL movement!

 Here are two steps to get you started:

  1. First, create a WELL online account. Once you do this, the International WELL Building Institute™ will send you updates.  Here you can also build your profile.  Additionally, you can explore the WELL Project Directory to find publicly registered projects in your region.

  2. Once you become a member, you can read up on the WELL process and check out current projects that will help you become familiar with the WELL Building Standard. 

If you want more information about the WELL Building Standard, give us a call today.  HF Planners, LLC provides Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. We have a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

WELL-ness in the Office is on the Rise!

Generating a unique place where occupants demand wellness features is a great way to attract and retain top talent.

RESEARCH VALIDATES BENEFITS

“Tenants are competing for talent, and want to provide the best possible space. Unlike LEED, which is about the building’s performance, wellness is more focused on people.”

To stay relevant with the trends, reach out to HF Planners, LLC to learn how to implement a WELL-ness program in your space.

For more information:

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Emergency Action Plan

Any type of emergency can take seconds to escalate.  Being prepared in the event of an emergency is critical for protecting your employees and your business. Your facility needs to have a comprehensive emergency action plan in place.  It has been proven that workplace emergency plans can maximize response times and minimize the impacts to employees and your facility in the event of an emergency. 

Once you have created your emergency action plan, there are four other ways to ensure that your facility and your employees are prepared for an emergency.  By considering these items, you can protect your business.

1.    Mitigate facility/site conditions: Often, there are conditions that exist in your site or facility that could impact safety or a successful response.  Your facility operations manager should conduct regular site inspections to eliminate any posed risks that exist which could cause harm to employees, the environment or infrastructure. 

2.    Conduct regular risk assessments: Once potential threats are determined; actions can be taken to minimize their impact or possibly eliminate the risk of an emergency. 

3.    Emergency Response Training: Regular emergency response training is crucial so that all employees and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency. Training should include reviewing the response plan and making sure that all employees are familiar with it, identifying the roles and responsibilities of individuals, refresher courses (if necessary), and plan review training when updates or revisions have been made to the emergency action plan.

4.    Response Drills and Exercises: Drills should be conducted not only to prepare the staff but to test the response plan and its effectiveness and any potential problems.  Employees will also understand the expectations and the procedure more effectively through regular drills.

To help your company get an effective emergency action plan in place, give HF Planners a call.  We provide Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. HF Planners, LLC has a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!