Facilities Management is unique, and at times, incredibly demanding job. FMs are responsible for the majority of a building’s everyday operations – from staff supervision and maintenance tasks to managing special projects and ensuring that equipment is working properly. Even things like energy efficiency, carrying out safety inspections and maintaining sustainability fall within the Facility Manager’s domain. To keep all of this running efficiently and smoothly (and make life a little easier), there are several skills that every facility manager should have in his or her back pocket.
Not all facility managers need to be the next IT director, but a little tech knowledge can go a long way in this particular field. Cloud-based facility and infrastructure management software is becoming more and more prevalent, and soon, facility managers will find it difficult to operate without at least one of these platforms.
Everything from asset monitoring to facility maintenance scheduling is now managed digitally via smartphones and tablets. IT plays an invaluable role in the way Facility Managers communicate with their technicians, customers, and coworkers, as well. It’s a good idea for all FMs to stay abreast of the latest trends in software development, and to make sure your current digital platforms are situated to solve problems and avoid potential issues.
2. Emergency response skills
Part of being a Facility Manager means having to deal with the occasional emergency or crisis situation – a feat that definitely isn’t easy, but can be worked on and practiced for future situations. Some people panic; others become instinctively solution-oriented and level-headed. Ideally, as a FM, your response should be the latter. As a general rule, “cool and collected” is the most effective approach to even the most catastrophic emergency.
Planning ahead plays a big role in emergency preparedness. If you already know how to react when an urgency arises, you won’t be caught off-guard. It’s a good idea to go over all of the potential emergency situations you can think of and outline solutions for each one before they happen.
Sustainability continues to be a buzzword across all industries, including Facilities Management. A sustainable building is an efficient resource for any company and can provide great value to clients by having a positive impact on their bottom line (in addition to branding and their employees’ wellbeing). If he or she doesn’t already, within the next few years your employer will look to you to keep your facility green and eco-friendly. Make sustainability a goal and take proactive steps toward it – it’s good for your professional portfolio, the environment, and the bottom line.
4. Project management & leadership
Facility Managers often double as Project Managers; or at the very least, work alongside them on a day-to-day basis. Whatever the task at hand may be, the Facility Manager position is one of leadership. You’re constantly needing to set goals, motivate and monitor your workforce, and measure results.
While there’s no real substitute for experience (especially in this particular area), even a newcomer to project management can learn new skills by taking a seminar, workshop, or picking up a book about it. Pro-tip: it helps to have project management software to rely on!
5. Analytical skills
As a Facilities Manager, you need to know your way around an annual budget report and be familiar with your company’s key financial metrics. The more financial insight you have, the more effective a manager you’ll be; especially when it comes time to report on the year-end budget to your employee.
Critical thinking goes a long way in terms of high-level business budgeting. In addition to numerical know-how, employers usually look for someone with an analytical approach, a commitment to getting (and improving) results, and good old-fashioned business sense.
6. Ability to cross-network
Every organization, business, or corporation is divided into different divisions, each with its own responsibilities and tasks. At times, these departments may overlap, creating confusion among employees about who is doing what while trying to avoid stepping on any toes. It’s quite common for this type of overlap to occur in the Facility Management field, which is why it’s imperative for FMs to develop a smart cross-network between every department. If your internal network is strong seamless, there will much be less chance for internal miscommunication.
7. Interpersonal skills
At the end of the day, Facilities Management is all about the people you interact with on a daily basis. Your ability to connect and effectively communicate with others around you can make the difference between a mediocre FM and an outstanding one. Remembering to communicate what you mean, identify the objectives of the people you work with (and learn what motivates them), and commit yourself to establishing a professional, mutually respected connection will go a long way toward being an effective and exemplary Facilities Manager.