All businesses require a variety of services and facilities to run efficiently. The individual or unique services that a company needs depends on its type, size, and location; however, there are a select few facilities that are required by law. Facilities Managers are usually responsible for making sure those services are implemented and regularly maintained within the building. Ensuring the daily health, safety, and general welfare of employees is an essential part of running a successful business, but it’s important to know the difference between which services your building requires and which may be unnecessary.
Facilities Managers are required to ensure that the following services are taken into consideration:
- General cleanliness
- Toilet/washing facilities
- Rest and eating facilities
All of these services can be divided into two groups: hard services and soft services; but what’s the difference between the two?
Hard services relate to the physical part of the building and cannot be removed. They are ‘the essentials,’ and ensure the safety and welfare of employees. Hard services are required by law and include provisions such as:
- Fire safety systems
- Air conditioning
- Preventive building maintenance or building improvements
Soft services are services that are directly used by the employees and can make the workplace more secure or pleasant. They are usually not compulsory and can be removed or added at any time. A few examples of soft services are:
- Building security
- Aesthetics (decor or landscaping, etc.)
- Mail management
- Office moves
- Etiquette and/or diplomacy (managing internal relationships)
- Division of labor
- Project management and prioritization
To help you to identify which services are needed by the company and which are unnecessary, consider completing a Facilities Needs Assessment. To do an assessment, consider all aspects of the business. Look at which facilities already exist, and ask yourself if they are sufficient, if further facilities may be required in the future, or if the existing facilities need maintenance. Double check for any duplicates that can be removed.
It’s also a good idea to think about the nature and type of the business, as certain buildings or areas require different facilities. Also think about security, sustainability and people who access the building regularly – what are their needs? These are all important things that you need to consider before facilities and services are added or improved upon.
The Facilities Manager is an important and vital role at any business, is responsible for a large portion of what makes the company run safely, efficiently, and OSHA-compliant. For more tips on optimizing your building’s safety, take a look at our safety checklist.