The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) defines facilities management as: “The practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of the organisation.” Whether outsourced or in-house, a major concern of this practice is what the basis of decision-making should be. Various key elements are involved, such as space, heating and lighting, but what may be overlooked is the end user experience.
Are You Ignoring Your End Users?
Those who receive services, who experience a building’s infrastructure, are the most likely to be able to contribute an understanding of how well it’s functioning. The problem is, this is not seen as expert opinion.
“If, at best, these opinions aren’t looked for, or at worst ignored, then the link between provider and user is broken,” Nick Walls of Walls Data & Electrical observes. “This can amount to a weakness in a company’s facilities management strategy.”
Facilities management involves delivering services that will do two things: satisfy requirements and provide the best value for money. It is an essential part of a business’s support structure, even if it appears to operate largely behind the scenes. This opaqueness should not be confused with unresponsiveness.
“Much facilities management may not be public-facing,” Nick explains. “But it should still be customer-focused as the customer is the end user.”
“Failings in facilities management can have negative impact on a business, from how it affects people’s use of time to an overall drag on efficiency and productivity”
Nick Walls, Walls Data & Electrical
Are You Canvassing Opinions?
“We appreciate that end users may not be experts in facilities management, ” explains Nick. “More importantly, they are experts in their own experience of using facilities and relying on infrastructure. Through our work with facilities managers, we have seen that positive engagement is a crucial element in organisational success. The perception of how feedback is valued, and acted upon, is a big part of this.”
“Take LED lighting for example,” Nick continues. “It can offer huge efficiencies in energy saving as part of a business’s energy strategy. But in order to be effective, it’s deployment must work in terms of its function, and how the end-user experiences it.”
“It is crucial that a strategic approach to facilities management should incorporate structured end user feedback and opinion, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness,” concludes Nick.
Property Aspects Magazine appreciates Nick Walls’ valuable contribution to this article.