Four Goals for Facility Managers in 2024

A facilities manager smiles at the camera from a desk with a laptop and a mug

The start of a new year for many, offers an opportunity for reflection, and the chance to set some goals for the next 12 months.

Goal #1: Focus on service delivery

Organisations are increasingly recognising the role the built environment plays in employee retention and performance. With this shift, the focus of facilities management teams has had to move from being trade-centric, towards being service-centric.

Improving service delivery starts with considering the experience of your facility users. This means looking beyond what work needs doing, and how it will be done, but considering how the work, and the work process, affects facility users.  

Embracing this shift might come naturally to some, but for others, it can be hard to know where to start. If this is you, consider how you can make progress this year in these three key areas of service delivery.

Improve visibility over works

By knowing what works are happening and when they are happening, you can better manage the expectations of your stakeholders. When facility users enquire about an open request, with improved visibility of work, you can find the job status quickly and easily to provide an update.

Consider your communications

Simplifying communication channels helps to reduce confusion and frustration for facility users. Requiring facility users to send multiple emails, or an email to multiple addresses, in the hope of gaining a response increases frustration for facility users, and creates unnecessary administrative work for the facilities team.

Simplify the work request process

For most organisations, logging a work request is the main touchpoint between facility users and the facilities team.  

Look at ways to make it as easy as possible for facility users to log work requests. This starts with ensuring there is a single channel through which to submit requests. By creating a single channel for submission of requests, you can alleviate frustration for facility users.

Goal #2: Pursue planned maintenance

Most organisations will benefit from implementing some planned maintenance across their facilities. The benefits can be significant, and range from safety and compliance through to financial savings.

However, not every asset or system should be under a planned maintenance regime. Knowing what assets and systems to include in your planned maintenance program is key to deriving the benefits from planned maintenance.

Getting started with planned maintenance can feel overwhelming. It can help to “zoom out” and look at the major steps involved, when starting a journey in planned maintenance.

Identify critical systems

These are the systems required for the business to legally operate. When starting out with planned maintenance, always start with the systems that are critical to compliance requirements. This will be things like fire safety systems and emergency lighting that are regulated to keep facilities safe for occupation.

Identify system requirements

Critical systems are regulated by either local, state or federal governments. These regulations will dictate requirements such as testing frequencies and system requirements. It is these requirements you’ll want to identify, as they’ll inform your planned maintenance strategy.  

Set the maintenance schedule

Once you’ve identified critical systems, and understand the requirements for them, it’s time to put a plan into action. Map out what needs to happen, and at what frequency, and search for an efficient way to ensure those activities happen to schedule.

Facilities management software, such as FMI Works, can support you in setting a schedule, and automating work orders to ensure those jobs are created, and sent to the correct people, at the appropriate time.

Goal #3: Support stress reduction

Facilities management is a demanding job, with big responsibilities. From protecting the health and safety of facility users, to ensuring the facility remains suitable for the organisation to conduct its core business, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of facilities managers.

If you are struggling with your mental health, we urge you to seek support from organisations such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue or The Black Dog Institute

There are lots of tools and techniques you can use to support acute mental distress. However, if you want to make your role less stressful in the long term, here are a couple of strategies to consider.  

Delegate and automate

Facilities managers have to juggle a lot of different things at once, and some of those are more stressful than others. Make a list of tasks you find stimulating or fulfilling, and tasks that cause stress, and seek support for those tasks that are necessary, but unpleasant.

Utilise different strengths of individuals in your team, or seek solutions to reduce the burden of those stressful tasks.

For example, if you tend to get stressed when requesters ask for status updates, look at how you can improve visibility over open work requests to make it easier on yourself to provide those updates. Better yet, automate status updates to requesters when the status on their job has changed.

Seek constructive collaboration

Collaborating with stakeholders across the business can help facilities teams to feel more connected, and can help drive better performance, and positive feedback. Typically, facilities teams are “invisible” until something goes wrong, and so engagement with stakeholders can start off on the wrong foot.  

By seeking active collaboration, you can better understand and pre-empt the needs of your stakeholders. Connecting with those stakeholders before they are encountering a problem can help to improve relationships as much as it can performance.

Set appropriate boundaries

In a recent study, 67% of facilities managers reported working hours outside of their contract. This can sometimes be perceived as a testament to a high level of commitment, but if this happens consistently, it can affect work-life balance.

The business is responsible for ensuring teams are appropriately resourced to do the work they’re tasked with. If you are finding that there’s never enough hours in the day, it is time to have a conversation with your stakeholders about right sizing your resources.

This could be in the form of additional team members, or tools to support additional efficiencies, such as an investment in facilities management software. At FMI, we’ve created several resources that can help you have those conversations with confidence, such as this eBook.

Goal #4: Make time for your own development

Facilities management is a melting pot of individuals who have come from various backgrounds and experiences. With few formal learning pathways available, everybody in the industry has had a different starting point.

Making time for professional development helps us to become better facilities managers and can bring a greater sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.

Seek free resources

At FMI, we’re always producing new resources to support facilities managers. We produce a brand new eBook every quarter, and if you’re subscribed to The Works, you’ll be the among the first to access them, straight from your inbox.

Embrace events

The Facility Management Association of Australia (FMA) host networking events across major cities on a regular basis. Each focusses on a different aspect of facilities management, and presents a great opportunity to network with other facility managers and learn from others in the field.

Learn from experts

If you can’t make it to an in-person event, there are online resources available that can help you learn from experts in the field. At FMI, we have a series of interviews, called Insights of the Industry where we chat with facilities management experts from all walks of life, so you can learn more about their journey so far.