As your company’s facilities manager (FM), you certainly have a packed schedule. You’re responsible for office building maintenance, security, health and safety, to create the best working environment for your company’s employees, while improving efficiency, productivity and reducing costs.
Even for the most organised FM, this is a lot to take on, and mastering productivity tools will give you and your company an edge.
Depending on the size of your company, you may have a dedicated energy manager. But increasingly it falls on the facilities manager to develop sustainability policies and make energy decisions for their organisations. According to a UK study, the top three issues of sustainability for facilities managers are energy management, waste and recycling management and carbon footprint.
The energy sector is experiencing ongoing changes, with tighter regulations and pressure to meet sustainability goals. The UK government has recently approved the fifth carbon budget, with ambitious emissions targets to 2030 that will affect all industries. Subsequently, we are seeing changing expectations of the modern facilities manager.
With this in mind, we focus in on the key energy considerations you should be aware of as a FM, and productivity tools to assist you in your work.
3 Main Energy Challenges Facing Facilities Managers Today
- Keeping up with the energy market
- Harnessing technology
- Becoming an energy expert
The 5 Productivity Tools for the Superior, Smart Facilities Manager
The time-saving tool
You’re busy. Your co-workers are busy. Your managers. Everyone is so busy these days. With the changes your role is going through, you really need to keep on top of your game, and using time-saving tools is a boon to get and keep you there.
As FM, you likely manage the energy needs of more than one building at a time.
Massively optimising your time
How can you optimise your time and streamline it for each building you are managing? We recommend time tracking and project management tools.
We’ve seen marked rises in our team productivity and time management skills since we decided to implement a company-wide time management tool system.
While many such tools have been on the market for a while now, most are designed for large, complex consultancy projects.
Two time saving apps to consider
Klok – it’s free, or for the upgraded version, it’s modestly priced.
RescueTime – this app will change how you work and open your eyes to where your time really goes.
The communication tool
Failure to communicate effectively isn’t only something that happens to couples. It’s one of the main problems that companies have to deal with. Poor communication creates friction, causes delays, and ultimately it costs your company money.
And besides all that, it is really annoying when you’re trying to do your job.
For any thorny issues or things that may cause confusion, aim to explain in person, or at least, over the phone. An email or instant messaging dialogue can easily descend into an argument, and that doesn’t help anyone.
What you think is easy to understand in facilities management may be very difficult for a colleague from another department, and vice-versa.
Two communication tools to consider
Slack – This instant messaging tool is growing in prominence among companies all over the world. It was designed for team communication. It’s free and it’s fantastic.
Sanebox for email – This app cleans up your email clutter. Like most people, you probably have a few hundred or thousand unread emails in your inbox. Is that right? If so, this app might help you. It works by automatically sorting your inbox between important and unimportant emails.
The unimportant emails get sent to a new email folder called SaneLater, which you can access just like any other folder. If you decide that they are important, you can move them back. It will give your email account the spring clean it probably needs and keep it that way, ensuring that you have no email clutter to distract you from what really matters.
The Kanban method
The Kanban method was designed to optimise knowledge workflow productivity by adopting the just-in-time business model. For knowledge-based work, like that of a facilities manager, the Kanban method allows you to visualise your entire workflow and tells you what to produce, when to produce it and how.
Why should I use it?
It is an excellent way of understanding your entire task list visually, sorted for you regarding when, how and what to produce. If you want to be more productive, more organised and for you and your colleagues to communicate better, the Kanban method is the way to get there.
Two free Kanban apps to consider
Tips to enhance tool use
This tool works best when your entire team uses it. You can see exactly what your colleague is working on and their upcoming schedule and vice-versa. Our advice is to:
- Introduce the tool in a comprehensive manner to your team
After learning how to use it yourself, organise a meeting to introduce the tool and explain how it works, as well as the benefits that everyone will gain.
- Sync the tool with your team
Just like you can with Dropbox or Google Drive, you can sync these tools with others for easier communication and productivity.
The energy alert tool
An energy alert is an automated, customised notification that you set up. It lets you know when your energy consumption reaches certain thresholds.
How does it help me?
Energy alerts are useful for keeping track of energy consumption in an automated manner, saving you time, as well as providing you with timely, accurate data. When a threshold is reached, you receive a notification email.
Tips for getting started
- Control the number of alerts
Our main piece of advice is to use your energy alerts for where you really need them and avoid “alert fever”. It’s very easy in the beginning to set up too many alerts but this typically ends up being counterproductive, as you end up receiving extraneous emails.
- Focus on the company’s or building’s critical energy areas
Where does your company need energy the most? Alerts will help you to identify where there are possible peak energy demands, the impact of power losses, or where there is an overdependence on one part of a production line. Identifying the problem allows you to consider potential remedies.
When choosing an energy management software, look for one with this productivity feature included.
The energy benchmarking tool
Put simply, an energy benchmarking tool is made for lowering your energy costs and consumption as well as offering you access to information and data in real time with the market.
Features of a benchmarking tool
- Energy price comparison
Allowing you to compare what you currently pay with alternative energy providers, as well as giving you the option of periodic benchmarking procedures.
- Energy databases
Giving you a comprehensive overview of the energy market, allowing you to track consumption and pricing in different countries, as well as receive the latest updates to the energy sector, such as renewable energy developments.
- Virtual audit
This feature allows you to perform an analysis of your company’s energy pricing structure and energy consumption.
Quick tip: to maximise the virtual audit’s effectiveness, try to have a couple of energy bills at hand. One benchmarking tool you can try for free is the DEXMA Energy Grader.