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4 Ways Facilities Managers Can Better Prepare for the Day
June 20, 2022 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Not having a preparation routine in place is much like going about your workday flying a plane while you’re still building it. You may be okay for a little while, but when an emergency comes getting back on course is unlikely. No matter how much you want to succeed in your career, a lack of preparation and organization will leave you behind with those that go about their work life just winging it.
As a facilities manager (FM), making sure we’re prepared for the day, the week, the month and even the year can make the difference of having productive time vs nonproductive time. Preparation is something done to get ready for an event or an undertaking of any sort, and it’s a large part of every facility manager’s working life. It doesn’t matter where they are in their career, if an FM is not prepared as much as they could be, it is unlikely they will succeed in the fast paced and competitive environment. Just like any other field, you’re only as great to perform at a high level as you are prepared – and if you don’t come prepared, then you are left with little to no confidence of achieving the desired outcome.
Most employees start off by planning what they will accomplish during their shift. While this does work, we are trying to maximize performance. It’s recommended to set some time aside at the end of your workday to do some “next day prep.” During this time, you can map out what you’d like to start and complete during the next workday. The key here is to be prepared before you even step foot into the facility you’re managing. By doing this, you will be able to have consecutive successful workdays because you’re being intentional about what you put your time toward during a day of work and sticking to it as much as it allows you to.
In hope to utilize the calendar efficiently, it’s helpful to label the time blocks by the subject of what you’re going to be doing. For instance, if you’re going to be working on emergency management items, the blocked time should be titled “Emergency Management”, and not “Call XYZ Fire Pro” to schedule an annual fire extinguisher inspection. Regardless of the platform you use to assign tasks, each one should have a brief description of what you aim to accomplish during that time frame. This will help to create structure within the workday, and that intentional consistency will help you move closer and closer to your target goals.
There are major benefits that surround the preparation that’s put into our work. As an FM, there will be unplanned occurrences at any moment. For example, a 3am emergency phone call may come in from an emergency dispatch about a burglar alarm being set off at one of your sites. Now, like most people, being at your best and most alert self at 3am isn’t very typical so being prepared with what messaging needs to go out to major stakeholders in the organization is key. For something like this, an already generated message that you’d have to copy, paste, and maybe place in a couple of words for accuracy is a part of being prepared. Similarly, when it comes to being prepared for your day, there’s a great deal of comfort that comes with knowing what’s going on and knowing everything that you must do before you’ve had your first sip of coffee.
Now that you know how to prepare for the day, there will still only be things that work specifically for you and not someone else. Just like most things, working with solid foundation points will make the process more fluid, and not so much of starting from scratch.
Foundation point #1: The notebook/note taking platform
The use of your notebook/note taking platform will help with preparing for the day. It can help you to get organized by referencing what you have written down from a full day of work, and it can be used toward developing a to-do list for the next day(s) ahead.
Foundation point #2: Utilizing category folders in the email platform
It’s sometimes hard to answer emails throughout your day, and even if you do so, a lot of your deeper thinking tasks to do wouldn’t get the attention that’s needed. Depending on what type of organization you’re in, a FM’s workload cannot be tied to email on any given day. This is where your email folders can come in handy as it allows you to prep for the next day and you can pull what’s needed to be responded to first.
Foundation point #3: Being mindful of what’s needed to be accomplished for the end of the week
There’s a difference in working a program and running the facilities program. No matter what your team does, hard or soft services, keeping goals is a part of how progress gets made. To be on the path of a tier 1 FM, you need to continuously have goals that contribute and blend into the bigger goals.
Foundation point #4: Preparing for the next day
How a FM’s workday becomes a success depends on the preparation that went into it the day prior. Prepping the day before, you’ll use this time to map out what you’d like to start, what you’d like to complete, and when you’ll do it. You’ll use your email folders, note taking platform and calendar to come up with the next day’s schedule. Once it is complete, the next day will come and it’ll be just like following instructions that you’ve drawn up. Even though your day as an FM can take a wild turn very quickly, a little next day preparation will keep you way ahead of the game. If an emergency does pop up, you’ll be able assess the situation, deal with it and very easily jump right back into what you had planned to execute.
Just winging it will only get you by on a mediocre level in your facilities management career. The goal is to be intentional, and by no means will it be an easy task in this adjustment, but it is most definitely worth it. If you were to speak with any tier 1 FM, they would let you know that being prepared as much as you can for all aspects of this industry will set you apart from the rest. Be prepared, be in control, and have fun while doing so. This will not only result in a monumental gain in momentum for yourself as an FM, but it will also resonate with others to take the team you’re on to a different level.
Charles M. Thomas is a Facility Operations Consultant with LACE Management Services. He has 10 years of facility operations management experience working among the research, education, financial, and public relations industries, with skills in operations, strategic planning, project management, and office community relations.
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