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!

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!

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 :

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Overcoming Headache #2 – Unrealistic Budgets

By: Caroline Shelly, CID, LEED AP+BD-C

“The issue then becomes about managing expectations of the end users who may have unrealistic budgets. The Facility Manager will need to educate these end users on how costs have changed… By developing the project based on the approved budget and/or developing a budget based on the end user’s wish list is something a successful Interiors Group can help with, and thereby help the Facilities Manager to avoid headaches.”

READ MORE