Telecommuting: Pros and Cons for a Facility Manager

Telecommuting, the practice of employees working from their homes or remote locations, has evolved from a cutting-edge trend to where it is today: an everyday business practice. One facility manager recently said his company designs for no more than 60 percent of employees to be in the office at any one time.

Advances in communications and inexpensive virtual networks now enable many people to work from almost any location in the same way they would in an office. Of course, telecommuting is a viable solution only for those employees whose work is portable and can be performed using computers, the Internet, and mobile communication devices. Although telecommuting has become a generally accepted form of working, there are millions more employees who could telecommute but don’t because their organizations do not support it.

The reasons for telecommuting’s popularity are compelling:
Cost reductions: Approximately 200 square feet of space is required to accommodate the average employee. This …

Operating Budgets vs. Capital Budgets for FMs

From an accounting standpoint, there are two types of budgets: operating and capital. From a facility management viewpoint, budgets are likely to be categorized by program: for example, maintenance, operations, space build-out, environmental, and security. One of the continuing budget challenges for most facility management and property management organizations is taking the time to define and set rules for annual (or semi-annual) versus capital expenditures. The facility manager should have the capability to manage and track each program in both operating and capital budgets.
Operating BudgetsWhen informal conversation in a company turns to the budget, the term usually refers to the operating budget. Facility managers are more likely to have control of the operating budget rather than the capital budget. The operating budget is also far more likely to be the subject of intense scrutiny and cost-cutting efforts. You can expect a closer examination of line items, disproportionate to dol…

Designing a Pest Management Program

In most commercial buildings, pest control is a small budget item. However, the dollar value of a pest management program does not measure its importance to occupant satisfaction. An ongoing pest problem can result in numerous complaints from occupants. Thus, pest control and occupant satisfaction are intertwined.

A building manager has a number of decisions to make in developing a pest management program. Factors include economic constraints, as well as meeting overall program objectives. A manager should consider several questions:

Should the program be designed to prevent pests or to react to pest problems as they occur?Should the program emphasize the use of insecticides as the first line of defense, or are nonchemical measures preferred?Should the program emphasize inspections and identification of problems followed by specific recommendations, or should it be limited, for example, to regular applications of traditional pesticides to baseboards?Should the IPM program be used?Afte…

Choosing a Property Management Company

Selecting a property manager who will oversee investment real estate is an important decision. The first step that an asset manager must take when selecting a property manager is to analyze the needs of the property. Common challenges to consider in determining which management firm may be best for a property include: LocationLeasingRedevelopmentTenant relationsPerformanceHolding periodCondition of the property LocationNot every property is situated in an ideal location. Very often, properties were developed in locations with significant challenges. Examples include retail strip centers with limited traffic access and office buildings located on the periphery of business centers. Location problems are, by nature, difficult to correct. They require an open and creative mind that can develop an effective mitigation plan, such as creating new amenities or planning a change of use. One manager, for instance, took an anchorless retail center in Denver with limited access and turned it into …

Record Keeping: A Foundation for Efficient Operations

It is important to keep accurate records. They can serve as a reference for historical financial and property data, and factor into the determination of future needs for a property. Records are also instrumental in proving that tax and legal requirements are being met. Records enable property or facilities managers to store raw data such as rental payments, utility bills, and salary figures. These records can then be analyzed and converted to information for reporting the results of operations, making decisions on future capital projects, developing strategies for marketing or leasing, and many other purposes. Therefore, property and facilities managers should keep and maintain records of all financial transactions at all locations or properties they oversee. To accomplish this, both paper and electronic records and files should be updated and maintained daily.

Property and facilities managers are the point persons concerning financial information about each property in their portfolio…

Barriers to Group Effectiveness

Simple and obvious behaviors distinguish effective groups from ineffective groups. They are obvious enough that managers tend to overlook them until they impede group performance or create significant conflict. Barriers to group effectiveness are caused by: no clear sense of purpose; goals and objectives have not been clarified (often this can be attributed to ineffective management)formality surrounding and encumbering the group; the environment is void of humor, excitement, or fulfillment; members dread the workplace and any interaction with group members or the leaderunequal member participation; certain members are stigmatized, ignored, or undervalued; weighted participation is necessary to gain diverse and quality input; decisions consistently made by the same group members generate tunnel vision and reduce creativity and innovationpoor listening skills; team members’ inability to listen to each other creates errors and misunderstandings; the inability to listen effectively impact…

Bundling Tenant Improvement Projects with High-Performance Goals

Tenant improvements tend to target interior design rather than the system components of a building. A tenant improvement might address relocation or installation of nonstructural walls, workstation layouts, and wall and floor finishes, as well as furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
However, each of these interior-focused remodeling projects creates an opportunity to review system operations, design layouts, and the construction process itself to determine where it is feasible to incrementally address sustainability concerns. By bundling necessary tenant improvements with other investments, you can realize returns in multiple areas such as tenant satisfaction, energy reduction, and lower operating costs. Investment bundling:The benefits to be derived from high-performance investments can be maximized by implementing two or more complementary high-performance investments simultaneously.
Certain building systems and components require thorough analysis and consideration during tenant improv…