Integrated facilities management has always been critical to overall organizational success because of how it impacts key performance metrics like growth, productivity, and the bottom line. But as the landscape has changed, so has the process of identifying facility management goals and objectives.
Traditionally, facility managers have acted more as space planners and workspace governors. But the rise of the hybrid office is just one of the many new workplace trends reshaping not only how we work but also where we work. Now, facilities managers need to set strategic goals using data and analytics from workplace management platforms and enterprise asset management solutions. They need to think about how to manage preventive maintenance for better asset management while finding new ways to support productivity by keeping a close eye on the overall employee experience. It’s a juggling act, with demands related to keeping people working and assets and equipment in working order.
With their collections of always connected, sometimes competing demands, facility managers need to carefully identify facility management goals and objectives before setting up the processes and procedures that help them get there.
The role of facilities in goal setting
There are three types of facility management goals: those supporting the company, those supporting employees, and those inherent to the facilities themselves. It might be easier to understand these goals in a big upside-down funnel, with broad support at the top and specifics at the bottom. What ties all these goals together is the importance of the facilities, the facility manager, and the need for efficient facility management.
Take a broad goal, for example, such as growing company revenue from $1M to $2M in 2023. Many different variables go into this objective, each playing a role in its ultimate success — facilities included. Because there are so many factors, the weight of the goal is evenly distributed. Marketing has to market more effectively. Sales has to sell better. Facilities need to support employees. Across departments, a lot of different teams and people play a part.
With a goal like implementing a digital conference room booking system, there are only a few factors, because the focus is narrower. It’s a facility-specific goal, so it might only mostly involve the IT department.
But in both examples, and in fact with all goals, the facilities matter, and it’s up to the facility manager to ensure facility management plays a part in all strategic initiatives, regardless of scale.
Facility goals that tie into company-wide objectives
Broad goals are connected to the entire company, including:
- Top or bottom-line growth
- Branding and culture initiatives
- Product or service developments
These goals touch every segment of the business in some form or another, which means they also involve the facilities.
When it comes to broad goals, the objectives for facilities management tend to be passive. The workplace serves a supporting role — the foundation for all contributors to the goal. It’s about preventing burnout and promoting comfort at work. Ensuring employees have the right workspaces and amenities to do their best work. Streamlining daily operations to conserve time, money, and effort. Bringing this stability to the workplace provides sound backing for company-wide success.
For example, that could cover keeping the offices safe with visitor management. Or keeping the employee experience positive with seamless desk booking. And keeping the workspace cool in the summer and warm in the winter with dependable HVAC.
Facility goals with an employee focuses
Because employees directly interact with their workplace, intermediary goals generally involve facilities to a greater degree. One affects the other. Rearranging the stack plan or moving to a new building. Hiring, promoting, or parting with talent. Installing new workplace processes or practices. To see these objectives succeed, facility managers need to draw a line that connects facilities and people in a positive way. For the last few years, though, the line of connection between employees and workplaces has been increasingly challenging to draw.
Straight lines are out, and there’s a lot of looping back and forth with the increase in remote workers and the rise of the hybrid office. In the past, you had a steady number of people coming into the office five days a week. Now, you might only have surges on certain days, leaving a lot of the space empty when employees work from home. The new trend is for most to stay away Mondays and Fridays, with a build-up that starts Tuesday, peaks Wednesday, and then starts to fall on Thursday. And it’s not people coming in to sit at their desks and work alone. Employees are coming in for face-to-face meetings, driving up demand for larger spaces in the middle of the week.
In most cases, facility managers need to consider employee interaction with the workplace and how facilities support employees. How can workplace changes improve productivity? Enable better collaboration? Reduce friction? It can be everything from implementing room booking software to making sure there’s are extra snacks in the breakroom mid-week. Changes may be significant, but they’re also purposeful. If you’re rearranging three departments over four floors, the outcome needs to achieve a specific goal that benefits employees in a meaningful way.
Facility objectives for smaller, more targeted initiatives
The narrower goals of FM support the facilities themselves. Employees may benefit and reaching these goals might contribute to broader business success, but the driving factor is facility-specific improvement.
Some of the facility goals are more project based while others are part of long-term efforts. So, you might have a project to:
- Improve wireless signal strength
- Install motion-sensitive lights
- Implement an integrated workplace management system (IWMS)
- Set up a portal for maintenance ticketing
In all these cases, there’s a set start and end date, with a clear objective. If you’re improving an area by adding better blinds so people can see their screens without worrying about the midday sun, you have one specific date for the installation. After that, you can move on to the next project.
But for long-term, ongoing efforts, you could look at reducing energy expenditures or tracking and improving on maintenance technician goals, for example:
- Maintenance backlog times
- Number of work orders closed
- Equipment costs
- Equipment downtime
- Preventive maintenance efficiency
For both project and ongoing goals, you can think of them as facility focused, mainly or in large part the responsibility of facility managers. Consider them a reinvestment in facilities that support the intermediary and broad goals listed above. Their focus is specific, but the outcome is likely to be far reaching, even if it’s a bit harder to see. When you have less equipment downtime, even on something as small and simple as the breakroom coffee machine, employees don’t waste time standing around. They’re fully caffeinated and back on task quickly.
Always factor in facilities
Facilities have gone from a line item on the balance sheet to a key instrument for goal-setting and objective planning. Facility managers aren’t just masters of space planning and allocation — they’re contributors to growth and optimization strategies. These strategies take place at every operational level — from mission-critical goals to everyday workplace improvements. Wherever it’s involved — and it’s always involved — the workplace is a critical part of overall success.