There’s a productivity crisis at the heart of many FM operations. For the people we talk to every day, there’s no shortage of work, but fewer hands to tackle it and more ways in which it can pile up.
Where does the time go?
Phone calls, emails, and other manual forms of communication are pulling on FMs time from every direction. Meanwhile, they’re trying to prioritise and organise limited resources to fix problems and maintain assets. They’re continually chasing work orders, managing contractors and fielding invoices.
For them, the FM productivity crisis is due to a tangle of tech that’s duplicating work or worse, no technology at all, creating admin bottlenecks and causing workflow breakdowns. And it’s leading to a whole heap of wasted time and money.
Does FM just need to work harder?
In response to this, and the tightening of budgets ahead of a potential recession, many facilities managers are just working harder, sacrificing their leisure time to do the job. In a recent poll I conducted of around 100 FMs, only 54% said a good life/work balance was possible in a Facilities Management role.
For those focused on success, it seems the antisocial hours just go with the territory. That’s a lot of people whose life/work balance might be out of whack.
Does a ‘long hours culture’ help?
Research says business leaders need to be mindful of presenteeism and ‘long hours cultures’ in FM, as they can fuel unhappiness and burnout, while not actually improving overall productivity or the quality of the work they deliver.
Facilities managers might be rolling their eyes at the idea of ‘pulling back’ from their ‘always on culture’. Their work is often reactive. It’s often all about solving issues as they arise, being there when it matters and using their unique insights and influence to make things happen, when it really counts. This inevitably means long hours and hard work.
Do we need superheroes?
But businesses who rely on these key individuals, the superheroes who are ‘always there’ with the relationships and the local knowledge to solve all their problems, aren’t doing themselves any favours. Local knowledge can depart quicker than it is acquired. Neither are they helping the heroes themselves develop a more sustainable culture that will keep them sane and productive in the long run.
Or a new life/work balance?
Work/life balance is important for mental well-being and family life. Many experts note the way the pandemic showed companies how their workers could remain productive in spite of remote working and reduced hours. Post lockdowns, many people swore they didn’t want to return to the stress of pre-pandemic life. They moved house, took up new hobbies and even discovered they had children. Four day working weeks are now being trialled across the country with great success. One think tank is even recommending they become universal as a potential solution for the cost of living crisis.
How a CAFM can bring a new life/work balance to your team
We know that FMs are a special breed. Of course, they have to be on ‘stand by’ when others don’t and the best of them stand out because of their dedication.
But why waste their talents and dedication with all the repetitive admin? Why tie them up in manual work when they could be thinking strategically and solving long-term reliability issues that lead to emergencies?
So, to get you started here are 3 ways CAFM can help Facilities Managers improve their work-life balance. They could bring new efficiencies to the way you operate, as the country shifts to smarter ways of working:
1. Automate your Workflow
Teams that are still using email, phone and spreadsheets to manage their facilities can end up spending most of their day repeating actions or chasing people up.
CAFM software can automate a lot of this work to save you and your FM team hours every week.
- Automatically remind contractors when quotes are requested and invoices due
- Send automatic email and mobile alerts when a task is urgent/late/incomplete
- Auto populate and send quotes/invoices to relevant people for approval
- Auto-bill for callout and labour based on time/attendance records and rate cards
- Integrate with ‘smart tech’ to auto-create work orders when equipment goes down
2. Introduce Preventive Maintenance
Not only does unplanned maintenance cost an estimated 3 to 9 times more than planned maintenance, but it’s time-consuming and unpredictable.
Even small repair requests interrupt your working day and impact your productivity, especially if the repairs keep having to be repeated.
CAFM software helps you effectively plan routine maintenance to prevent these failures from happening in the first place - saving you time and money in the process.
PPM can also stop emergencies, happening out of hours and pulling your FM away from their well earned rest...
3. Focus on Supply Chain Management
Many FMs have procured hundreds of suppliers and contractors over the years that they manage via spreadsheets or simply ‘in their heads’.
Often these suppliers will all be using different systems, which can make even the simplest of tasks take a lot longer than necessary.
Not only will a CAFM help you manage everything in one place but it will also help you understand, maybe for the first time, where suppliers are bringing you value for money and where they are wasting time and failing to deliver.
Once you have your supplier relationships controlled via a CAFM, the whole business can access them as a resource, regardless of whether a specific manager is there or not. The details of the relationship will be recorded, together with rate cards, previous interactions, and notes about how best to work with them.
With a CAFM - supply chain management can become more frictionless, professional and efficient, not dependent on personal relationships and out of hour favours. It helps keep wheels turning regardless of who’s on duty.
Work smarter, not harder with a CAFM
Companies should appreciate dedication, and hard work should always be rewarded. But turning presenteeism and a long hours culture into badges of honour is not the way to create happy, frictionless teams and sustainable systems of facilities management.
As harder times loom, maybe we don’t need to work harder all the time. We can work smarter, instead.