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.   

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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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.

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!

How to create an evacuation procedure

Every workplace or facility needs to have an emergency action plan in place which will ensure employee safety in the event of a fire or other emergency. According to OSHA, not all employers are required to establish an emergency evacuation plan/evacuation procedure, but it is a fairly easy task to accomplish and will protect your employees and your business if an emergency situation should arise.  As you work to create your plan, keep these things in mind:

  1. Include your management team and employees in the establishment of the plan.  The goal is to protect lives and property in an emergency event, so it is beneficial to include management and staff in the process because their commitment and support to the plan is a critical component to its successful implementation.

  2. Include a wide variety of potential emergencies. As you consider your plan, it should be specific to the types of potential emergencies that could occur in your facility.  A hazard assessment should also be conducted to determine the types of physical/chemical hazards that exist and could cause an emergency situation. If there are multiple buildings in your facility, each one should have a plan tailored to their needs.

  3. Your plan, at a minimum, should include: an evacuation policy/procedure and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, workplace maps and safe or refuge areas).

  4. An organized plan is critical. Disorganization during an evacuation could lead to panic, property damage, injuries or even death. When developing your plan, it should include the following:

○     Conditions that would require an evacuation

○     A clear and direct chain of command--who are the people authorized in your company to order an evacuation or shutdown. 

○     Specific procedures for evacuation.  Employees should know exactly what to do, the route they will take and how to safely exit the building.  These procedures need to be posted where all employees can see them.

○     A system for accounting for personnel after an emergency

○     Procedures in place to assist employees with disabilities

5.  Have more than one evacuation route.  All plans should include primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits.  Exits should be clearly marked, well lit, wide enough to cover a large number of personnel

 To ensure the safety of your employees and your business, creating a thorough and organized emergency action plan/evacuation procedure is critical.  At HF planners, we care about your safety and can help you put an emergency action plan in place, give us a call today!

New Standard to Help Facility Managers Prepare

Facility managers are tasked with the responsibility of preparing employees and occupants of their facilities for the unexpected. Keeping your employees safe during a crisis starts well before the situation starts.  Planning, communication and organization will be the reason that resources and lives are saved. 

The new standard includes requirements for high-risk facilities. For facility managers, the efforts required to adhere to the standard should be minimal if the facility has a comprehensive and up-to-date all-hazards risk assessment, emergency response plan, or business continuity plan. 

For more information on the new standard :

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Designing for the Modern Office

Studies are finding that the open office environment is not a fit for all, in fact: Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report indicates that 71% of workers have access to privacy when needed. Even more telling, 42% say they would leave their current jobs for more privacy.


As an interior design firm, we are able to come into a space to evaluate the need for private and open areas, however, what most designers may not know is that privacy not only benefits employees but is also a boon to employers. The context of the modern open office privacy guarantees productivity. The simple truth is that flexible workspaces have a direct impact on the bottom line.

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It's All About the End-User


"Evidence-based design has its roots in healthcare design but is now becoming more common in workplace design."

HF Planners can assist in the process of educating end-users in the ever-changing office environment.

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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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