When Facility Staff Is Cut, Reduce Facility Services Carefully

  February 8, 2012

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Maryellen Lo Bosco: If the size of the facility staff is reduced, it's important to think carefully about resulting cuts in facility services.

SAP responded to the recession with a hiring freeze, says Larry Morgan, head of operations for SAP in Palo Alto and Vancouver. As an alternative to filling vacancies, SAP uses contract employees. "That gives us flexibility on staffing levels as well," Morgan says.

Because staff numbers are down, the facility management team has to be more effective and efficient. For example, instead of washing all the windows semiannually, it is possible to wash certain areas at certain times. Morgan says that the company looks for the "pain point," or the place right before austerity measures begin affecting morale and productivity. The pain point, he says, is different for different lines of business. Another example is when touch up painting might be done instead of repainting an entire room. Most of the belt tightening, not surprisingly, is in repairs and maintenance, since fixed costs, such as leases, utilities, insurance and so forth, cannot be easily altered.

At Lakeland Health and Healing, the recession brought severe cuts in overtime. "We used to manage our overtime, but now we have to report any overtime we have by pay period," says Mike Kastner, director of building services and construction management. "Overtime has gone to 20 percent of what it used to be."

The cutbacks have demanded that priorities be set. "Yes, we have to get the job done, but there are some deferred items. You don't get as much painting done, or not as quickly as you would like to," Kastner says. "You have continue to reinvent yourself, adapt and figure out new ways of doing things."

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.


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