The Benefits of Retro-Commissioning for Green Initiatives

Retro-commissioning is a process that analyzes how well building systems are operating together by evaluating an existing building or space and improving its current functions. This provides the opportunity for any problems that were not installed properly during construction or any problems that have manifested during the building’s existence to be eradicated. Many systems operations that have not been updated can cause problems for both the building and occupants, but also for conversation and energy efficiency purposes. Retro-commissioning is a huge step to going green, both for the environment and the budget. There are many benefits to retro-commissioning with the intention of becoming an energy efficient building.

Here some of the top benefits you could reap from having an environmentally friendly and efficient retro-commissioned building:

1. Save Money. One of the top reasons to retro-commission a building is to save money. In a study conducted in 2013, it was found that a newly retro-commissioned building saved 16 percent on energy bills* and received a payback within one year. Between all of the systems and operations that need to properly function within the building, the retro-commissioning process updates any lagging or poorly installed systems to make it run as efficiently as possible. Added benefits to saving money could include the ability to not only retro-commission the building, but also include a re-design for internals efficiency!

2. Environmentally Friendly. It might be an obvious reason to retro-commission with the intention of going green, but it is a top benefit. A company with a Green Business Certification, like HF Planners, LLC with LEED AP’s on staff – a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional, will know how to transform your building to be as efficient as possible. Less emissions and more environmentally friendly systems will create a more efficient building both inside and out.

3. Tax Exemptions and Tax Credits. It goes along with saving money, but as a part of retro-commissioning, there are incentives that each state offers when improving your building functionality to improve its emissions and efficiency. The state of NJ alone has 73 incentives to retro-commission your office building to better the environment**. With a facility management company that will retro-commission your building to code and efficiency standards, a company is able to qualify for tax exemptions and tax credits if they are running most efficiently.

4. Occupant Health. Another important factor in being environmentally friendly while retro-commissioning your building is to consider the occupants and their well-being. Beyond energy savings, there is a definite benefit that comes from a more energy efficient building and more efficient occupants and their health. Identifying potential improvements including indoor air quality as well as operations maintenance comes with savings that could be redirected to improve the health of employees and other occupants. Healthier employees with healthier lifestyles reap so many benefits for a company, and end up having better habits that are aligned with environmentally friendly ideals.

There are many reasons to retro-commission your building for the sake of going green and becoming more environmentally friendly. Not only is there monetary value, but there are employee and environmental values as well. Interested in learning about how your space can be environmentally friendly through retro-commissioning? Contact HF Planners today to speak with our LEED Accredited Professionals today to see how your company can be as efficient as possible.  

 

*Parrish, Granderson, Mercado, Mathew 2013. “Improving Energy Efficiency through Commissioning: Getting Started with Commissioning, Monitoring, and Maintaining Performance” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. https://eta.lbl.gov/publications/improving-energy-efficiency-through

** https://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program?fromSir=0&state=NJ

How to Realign Expectations when They Become Unrealistic

As a facility manager, managing expectations is a large part of the job. You may take all the precautions necessary to set straight any unrealistic expectations from the start, but what happens when in the middle of a project, communications dwindle and expectations become unaligned between the facility manager and the end user? Here are some tips to making expectations realistic if they have become unrealistic:

1. Be Proactive. There is no reason to fixate on the past, so as the facility manager is up to you to look to the future. Being proactive regarding the next step will help with moving forward towards a successful end goal. Be practical with a set plan on what expectations need attention. Begin an open line of communication with the end user and explain what progress has been made and any updated deadlines. Road bumps happen, but it is up to the facility manager to make sure that the end user is informed and up-to-date with any new information or deadlines.

2. Track Progress. A facility manager will most likely have a great support team that knows their individual jobs toward the overall end goal. However, a skilled facility manager will not only understand the expectations of the end user, but they would also understand the expectations the team has of the project, both as a whole and individually. By tracking progress, and knowing the small deadlines, the facility manager can inform the team of what the progress towards the end project is like. Have a standardized checklist, and even if you have fallen behind, know that the checklist is there to help get back on track. Is it also important to continue to share the progress of the checklist with all team members to manage the expectations accordingly.

3. Take responsibility. We all make mistakes; it is almost inevitable. A facility manager is in charge of managing the project from start to finish, so encountering an obstacle, whether it is big or small is expected. The expectations of a project are not the only things that need to be managed, but the expectations of a facility manager’s work are something to consider as well. A facility manager that handles a slipup with grace is much more desirable than one that points fingers and blames team members. Taking responsibility for all aspects of the project, good or bad, a facility manager will manage expectations successfully.

4.  Learn professional empathy. This point is aligned with taking responsibility, but a crucial part of realigning expectations throughout the duration of a project is learning how to handle expectations once they have become unrealistic. As a kid you were told to put yourself into someone else’s shoes to understand their perspective. As a facility manager, pretend it is your company that you are facility managing for. A company has naturally high expectations from the start, and expectations are dynamic through the project duration. Learning professional empathy, and understanding how to incorporate it into managing expectations, will settle any unrealistic ones in the process by offering perspective.

Mistakes and bumps in the road will most likely occur during any project, but it is up to the facility manager to manage the expectations on how the situation is handled. A skilled facility manager will know exactly how to manage the expectations and realign them throughout the process, and will make the process as seamless as possible. At HF Planners, we have adept facility managers that are prepared for any type of bump that could impose on a project, and are able to handle it with ease. Call HF Planners today to see how we can manage your project and meet all of your expectations!

How a Dacility Manager Learns Which Expectations to Manage

As a facility manager, it is imperative to know what expectations you are expected to manage. You are in charge of spearheading the project and ensuring a satisfied finished outcome within time and budget constraints all while keeping the end user happy. Where does a facility manager begin to learn and understand which expectations to manage? Here are four ways to learn how to be the best facility manager possible through managing expectations:

1. Standardization: There are processes that have taken place prior to ensure that each benchmark is completed successfully. Learning the standardization of a facility management process, from design to planning to installation is a useful thing to understand when managing expectations. Familiarizing yourself with the skeleton of a normal workflow behind each project will help set a familiar precedent that will guarantee end user satisfaction because there will be a clear path to completion from the start. The end user will have defined expectations from the start.

2. Networking: A facility manager has to manage the expectations of a project, but of themselves as well. They are expected to have the tools ready and sharp to complete a successful project. Learning how to network will help expedite processes and help the overall project. A facility manager is responsible for procurement and knowing vendors. Networking is a way to building strong relationships and knowledge of competitors, prices, and working styles. This familiarity helps a facility manager understand what expectations need to be managed and how to do so by having the right connections ready for any project they may encounter.

3. Practice Sharing: Naturally, there will always be competition to be the best facility manager, but why not make friends in the process? A mentor, a friend, or simply other colleagues, will have tips and anecdotes from past projects. Learning and sharing is key to understanding what the best practices are for managing expectations. Knowing what went well, and even what might have gone wrong, adds to the knowledge of managing expectations and how a facility manager can better themselves for future opportunities.

4.  Feedback: Learning how to take feedback, both positive and negative, is a crucial learning step to managing expectations. Each end user will have their own reservations about a project, but as a facility manager it is crucial to know what went well and what did not. Learning and growing from past experiences will dictate which expectations need to be addressed from the start. Feedback can be included with networking and practice sharing, because it can include the feedback of all facility managers. This is a vital step to learning how to manage expectations.

Learning how to manage expectations as a facility manager can be difficult, but imperative to become successful. A facility manager gains their knowledge on how to manage expectations through experience, but also through the steps above! At HF Planners, we have experienced facility managers that are skilled in managing expectations. Call us today to ensure that your next project will be managed seamlessly from start to finish.

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.   

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!

Seven Deadly Sins for Facility Managers

Day-to-day activities for FM’s are always challenging, here are “Seven Deadly Sins for Facility Managers”

Here are seven pitfalls facilities managers can fall into while performing their day-to-day responsibilities:

1. Not ensuring compliance
2. Not documenting meetings
3. Doing the work, yourself
4. Ignoring repeated complaints
5. Remaining unaware of the market and not performing strategic analysis
6. Lack of an organization system
7. Not recognizing your staff’s work

To ensure expectations are met, an adequate team should be comprised – there should be constant training, teaching, developing, and working towards constant improvement of the overall facility.

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Managing Expectations

Managing or Focusing expectations can promote a well-conceived and properly managed plan that is strongly aligned with the mission of your organization.

To properly manage expectations – the challenge is to do better with less. Understanding the goal and mission, purpose, environment, and resources is an integral piece of the puzzle and will help define the best decision. 


Leadership is still required, the engagement of all is still extremely important – HF Planners, LLC can assist in this process by engaging all of the users, compiling the data to ultimately manage the organizations' expectations. 

Click here to learn how Facility Managers in educational spaces manage expectations:

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Relocation and Move Management

In the past 10 to 15 years Move Management has become an integral part of the Relocation Process - moving today requires more than just furniture.

Move management projects require expertise in planning, business operations and management, and contingency planning.

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