If you’re a Facilities Manager of an office building or another type of workspace, you have a role to play in encouraging workplace productivity. If your occupants are happy and successful, this is certainly good news for you and the building owners. But whether you’re an FM of an office building or not, workplace productivity should be on your radar.
Every building requires contractors or employees to keep things working smoothly. Making sure these guys are productive should be top of your list to keep costs down and boost efficiency.
Here’s how FMs can encourage workplace productivity.
Be Proactive In Keeping Levels of Comfort High
Every office building has them, the one employee who is always too hot... seated almost adjacent to the one employee who is too cold… It can be tricky to make sure everyone is comfortable! But occupant comfort level is important. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between employee productivity and their satisfaction with their office building comfort level - and the difference is big. Employees report being 25% more productive when they are satisfied with their building comfort. If you’re shaking your head right now thinking, “but I can never make everyone happy!” The same study suggests that employees were more “forgiving” and their productivity was not negatively affected if they felt that “every effort is being made to overcome shortcomings of the building.”
So what does this mean for FMs? Be proactive in keeping levels of comfort high! If there a heating/cooling/lighting problem arises let occupants know you are aware of the problem and are out there fixing it before they can complain. Pay close attention to basic personal comforts like air quality, lighting, parking, restrooms, and building maintenance. Use benchmarking, building and usage data to regularly analyze issues and make improvements. Learn who the habitual moaners are, and be proactive in seeking their comments (feeling listened to helps!) and try to find outside the box solutions.
Listen to Employees and Building Occupants
Which is a nice segway into the next point: listen to employees and building occupants. Happy people are more productive but how do you know if they are happy if you don’t ask? As a Facilities Manager, you’ll only be able to get ahead of issues by asking for regular feedback. If you have the buy-in of the businesses who occupy your building, you can ask them to survey their employees using an easy online questionnaire. If not, simply be open to asking occupants as you run into them. A simple, “are you happy with the level of lighting/heating/air quality right now?” to a few employees can give you some important insights. But what you do with this intel is important. Make sure you act on issues in a timely manner to see a positive impact on workplace productivity. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re not being heard or worse, that you’re being ignored. So don’t ask a question if you're not prepared to do something about it.
Give a Degree of Choice
A 2013 workplace survey found that employees perform better when they can control their workspaces. Now, as an FM, you might not have much power over how businesses choose to decorate their offices but what you can do is consult with them, and encourage them to consult with their employees, over shared areas such as landscaping of outside spaces, changes to washrooms or art in lobby areas. It might seem a small thing, but feeling that you have control and choice can improve a person’s sense of satisfaction and have positive effects on productivity.
It all comes down to making sure that people feel heard and valued and that you, as an FM, are doing what you can to deal with building issues that arise quickly and efficiently. What do you do as an FM to make sure your occupants/employees are satisfied? Let us know in the comments!