The Top 3 Ways Facility Managers Can Minimize Stress

A Day in the Life of a Facility Manager: Handling a Range of Responsibilities and Challenges

Facility managers bear the weight of multiple responsibilities that come with maintaining an organization's building(s). They must not only ensure compliance with legal requirements and health and safety standards but also coordinate various maintenance services and much more.

If you are a facility manager, we’re sure you are familiar with these five causes of work related stress:

  1. Not enough time in the day for everything that needs attention.
  2. A lack of budget and resources.
  3. Demands of the job that are constantly changing.
  4. Poor conditions of the building.
  5. Communicating with building occupants.

So, how can you mitigate job-related stress? Three essential strategies can help facility managers minimize stress, with the first being a priority on effective communication.

1. Prioritize Communication.

Poor communication often underlies most issues in facility management. For instance, you might encounter situations where you need to drop everything to address a concern promptly, simply because an occupant failed to report the issue when it first arose. Alternatively, cleaning services scheduled in preparation for an event may not be completed on time due to a lack of proper details conveyed to the cleaning staff.

To steer clear of such issues that consume your time and lead to stress, it's essential to give communication the attention it deserves. Here are some effective ways to enhance communication with your team and partners:

Make it Easy to Report a Problem

When building issues go unreported, it's often an indicator that building occupants may not be aware of how to report their concerns. To simplify the process, ensure clear identification of available communication channels.

One effective approach is to establish a dedicated email address or form specifically for reporting issues. In cases where you are working with a vendor, like Blooming Solutions, familiarize yourself with your point of contact and their preferred mode of communication. Reputable vendors typically have established communication methods to alleviate the burden on your end.

For instance, Blooming Solutions customarily creates email groups for all our customers, promoting open communication and timely responses..

Clearly Identify How Issues Are Resolved

Effective communication goes beyond reporting issues; it should also encompass how problems are addressed and resolved. Clearly define your processes and share them with your entire staff to ensure everyone understands the procedures for issue resolution. If your aim is to enhance communication with a vendor, ensure that their processes are transparent to you.

A reputable vendor should be readily available when you require their assistance and have a system in place for recording requests and complaints. We recommend regular meetings to discuss service performance and maintain a strong vendor-client relationship.

2. Vet Your Vendors.

The primary objective of outsourcing maintenance services is to alleviate the workload of a facility manager. However, if you find yourself frequently voicing complaints or requiring modifications, it can result in added stress and work for you. Prior to entering into a partnership with a vendor, it is essential to ask them the pertinent questions to ensure a smooth and efficient collaboration.

Prepare for the Interview

It's not solely about the services themselves. While it's crucial that your vendors can provide the services you require at the necessary capacity, they should also offer comprehensive support services. Additionally, they should be properly insured and bonded to safeguard your business.

Set Realistic Expectations

While it's not expected that you'll need to lodge a complaint every day, it's an inevitable aspect of managing a building with evolving needs and occupants. It's essential to clearly establish your expectations with your vendors and identify your priorities. Determine your 'deal breakers' and the specific issues you aim to address. The more transparent you are in your communication, the more transparent your vendors can be in their service delivery.

3. Set boundaries and Delegate.

Remember, you don't have to shoulder everything on your own. It's important not to overwhelm yourself by taking on every task that comes your way. Instead, rely on your team and any new hires for support. If your budget permits, consider bringing in qualified individuals who can assist you. If budget constraints are a factor, establish clear boundaries with your existing team to ensure realistic expectations are set.

Delegate and Automate Where Possible

Training your staff comprehensively on all aspects of your role ensures that tasks are executed correctly in your absence. In cases where you don't have a team working under you, establish protocols for handling responsibilities when you are away. This may involve collaborating with your vendors for support or coordinating with other team members. You might also explore the use of software or systems that can assist in managing incoming requests and automating processes, streamlining your workload.

Know When to Take a Break

As a facilities manager, you'll enhance your effectiveness by prioritizing your mental and physical well-being. While it's important to be available and present, it's equally crucial to allocate time for lunch breaks and limit your response to emergencies after 7pm (or a time that aligns with the needs of your facility). Setting and maintaining these boundaries fosters a culture of respect for your time within your team.

Let’s Summarize

Work can be stressful, but facility managers can minimize stress in these three ways:

  1. Prioritize communication – Clearly identify your processes for reporting and resolving concerns.
  2. Vet your vendors – Ask the right questions and set realistic expectations.
  3. Set boundaries and delegate – Lean on your team and make time for yourself.

The greater the effort a facility manager invests in stress reduction, the more effective they become in their role.

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