By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
Facility management is an umbrella term, much like the word “sports.” Facility managers hold a title in the same way an athlete does, but the duties and actions of a facility manager vary as greatly as a sports star. Under the sports moniker you’ve got everything from basketball and football to jai alai and cricket—which is why it makes sense to identify the type of sport you’re talking about. The same goes for different types of facility management.
There are broad types of managed facilities out there, and each has different needs and expectations. Thus, there are different types of facilities management careers and specialties to consider. Kelly and Dinesh might both be facilities managers, but if Kelly manages an 80,000-square-foot hospital and Dinesh oversees a 12,000-square-foot warehouse, that’s where the similarities end.
Here’s a broad look at the 10 core types of facilities management.
- Asset management and life cycle planning: From the HVAC system to enterprise software licenses, this modality of facilities management ensures the most important aspects of facilities receive proper care and attention—from procurement, to management, to disposition. It’s closely aligned with every other aspect of facilities maintenance because it’s the purest form of “facilities” oversight.
- Emergency preparedness and continuity: Every business needs to plan for the worst. This focus of facilities management is devoted to it. It encompasses emergency planning for all types of disruptions, as well as plans focused on employee health and wellness. It also involves strategizing to get the business back up and running again.
- Employee satisfaction, health, and wellness: This element of facilities management looks at how motivated, productive, engaged, and fulfilled employees are at work, as well as how the workplace affects their health and wellness. The emphasis is on how to make facilities a positive driver for employees, to help them do their best work and feel good while they do it.
- Environmental stewardship and sustainability: Increasingly, businesses need to focus on how their operations affect the environment. From manufacturing plants to healthcare facilities, environmental sustainability requires dedicated oversight. It falls under the umbrella of facilities management and can include anything from a recycling plan to initiatives that reduce building energy waste.
- Interdepartmental communication: There’s a strong movement to de-silo business operations and bring cohesion to companies through improved interdepartmental communication. This communication happens in the workplace (digital and physical), which puts it under the command of facilities management. Facility managers need to oversee all modes of communication and build the integrated infrastructure for that communication, from VOIP to cloud messaging.
- Project and move management: As workplaces become more agile, project and move management become more important. This is a “boots on the ground” aspect of facility management that requires daily engagement. Facility managers help orchestrate frictionless use of facilities between multiple groups in a dynamic environment. Without central oversight, the agile office simply doesn’t work.
- Real estate and property management: This focus of facilities management occurs at a macro level. As companies determine the value of their overhead, facility managers bring context to costs. If a company chooses to expand, consolidate, or realign its facilities, stakeholders will turn to facility experts to learn how it affects operations, output, and cost structures.
- Space utilization and floor planning: Simplified as workplace management, this aspect of facilities deals directly with the core of the building’s purpose—to support workers. Facility managers in this regard orchestrate floor plans, review space utilization analytics and trends, recommend workspace improvements, and govern the workplace as a whole.
- Technology and smart office planning: With the rise of the office Internet of Things (IoT) comes the need for tech-focused facility managers. These individuals delve into the nuances of facility management software, building technology, data systems, and the digital aspects of workplace planning. They use their strong familiarity with digital resources to empower workplace innovation.
- Workplace leadership and strategy: What will the workplace look like five years from now? How can a company better support its employees? What trends are rising in workplace management circles? These are the types of questions a facility manager focused on leadership needs to ask. These professionals create the forward-looking strategy for facilities, to help drive business success in the future.
While each modality above plays into the general role of facilities management, there’s broad opportunity to specialize within each lane. Many facility managers do just that. Their expertise in specific areas of facilities management can pave the way for innovation that has rippling benefits for the company.
Through networking and affiliation with groups like IFMA, facility managers at the top of their game in these aspects can learn and share with others to push the field even further.