The facility management industry is exciting, challenging and complicated. Although this field has been around for decades, myths and misconceptions still exist about facility managers and what they do to help their organizations succeed.
Facility managers deserve recognition for the hard work they do on a day-to-day basis. So this week, we’re giving a shout out to facilities teams by busting five common myths about facility management.
Myth #1: “Facility management isn’t important and buildings can function without it.”
Reality: What many people don’t realize is that facility management is an essential business function. Facility managers are highly valuable business managers and should be placed at the same level as Human Resources (HR) managers and Information Technology (IT) managers. Without facility managers, our buildings would fail miserably and business operations would suffer.
For example, think of all the ways you stay comfortable in a building. Are indoor temperatures not too hot, nor too cold? Does the building have clean, running water? Does the electricity work? Are bathrooms, break rooms and kitchens sanitized? Do you have comfortable, functional furniture? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you can most certainly thank your building’s facility manager for making sure these items are safe, clean and functional for you to use. Simply put, a world without facility managers would be a world where we’d struggle to perform our jobs efficiently.
Myth #2: “A facility manager’s job can’t possibly be that hard. How difficult is it to keep a building running smoothly?”
Reality: Running a building is incredibly difficult, but running one well is even harder. The truth is that not everyone could thrive as a facility manager. Facility managers are experts at balancing a building’s many moving parts (both literally and figuratively). A normal week for a facility manager may include managing budgets, developing business plans, calculating life-cycle costs and determining ways to reduce expenses.
But wait! There’s more. Facility managers also enforce building codes, promote sustainability efforts, replace broken machinery, manage pest control efforts, and employ safety measures. Facility managers have a lengthy list of job responsibilities, which makes them critical staff members of any organization. These men and women are difficult to replace, as they bring unique skill sets and experiences to a business.
Myth #3: “You don’t need education or experience to be a facility manager.”
Reality: If one thing is certain, it’s that facility management positions are not entry-level jobs. These positions take an immense amount of time to learn. They also require a wealth of experience and industry knowledge. Many facility managers begin as engineers, building managers and assistants, then work up to senior-level positions. Others join the industry by attending technical colleges or private institutions. The facility management industry is booming, so it is not uncommon for institutions to offer facility management certification programs and degrees.
Today, earning an undergraduate degree in facility management is a plus (or even a requirement) for this field. Programs may include classes in construction fundamentals, environmental controls, civic design, energy management, information technology and facility planning. Most programs also include an internship to provide hands-on experience outside the classroom. Overall, facility managers are trained, educated and dedicated individuals who care deeply for their buildings and want to see them thrive for years to come.
Myth #4: “Facility managers just sit in their offices all day.”
Reality: This myth could not be further from the truth. Facility managers do work at their desks for a portion of the day, but many are constantly on-the-move and traveling throughout their buildings and grounds. A running joke in the industry is that if you struggle to find your organization’s facility manager, they’re probably doing their job well!
For facility managers, most days are relatively unpredictable. As a result, facility managers must be flexible, think on the fly and quickly implement solutions to problems that arise. They have the skills to take on all sorts of tasks, expected or not. If an issue occurs with equipment or machinery, facility managers are there in an instant. The best facility managers are dependable and stay up-to-date on all happenings within their buildings.
Myth #5: “If something in the building is broken or dysfunctional, it’s the facility manager’s fault.”
Reality: Facility managers are trained professionals who do their best to predict and prevent equipment failure before it occurs. To do so, facility managers implement extensive preventative maintenance measures to make sure equipment lasts as long as possible. However, it’s important to note that it is nearly impossible to prevent all breakdowns from occurring. Assets can, and will, break down at some point or another.
If something in your building isn’t working as expected, it’s important to notify your organization’s facilities team with specific details on what needs to be fixed. Facility managers will do their best to accommodate your request and send someone to fix the issue. Once the issue has been resolved, consider sending a quick “Thank You” to the facility manager, maintenance technician or custodian who took care of the service request. A little bit of recognition and appreciation goes a long way!
Facility Managers: thank you for everything you do!
Facility managers know their facilities inside and out. They care for the people within their buildings and take steps to protect them. And lastly, they’re passionate about the built environment and work hard to help us enjoy the places in which we live, work and play.
As a “thank you” for everything you do (and to help your buildings last for years to come), we’ve created The Facility Manager’s Preventative Maintenance Toolkit, a free resource that lists exactly how to keep your most critical assets in working order. Click here to see what’s included.
Comment Below: Do you know of any other common misconceptions about the facility management industry? What do you wish people understood about your position? We’d love to hear from you. Tell us about it in a comment below!