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Spring Cleaning Tips for Facility Managers

Spring Cleaning Tips For Facility Managers

Spring is when we deep-clean and maintain our homes, and the same should be true for our facilities. After being closed up all winter, things get dusty, grimy, and in need of maintenance. For a facility manager, this time of year is the perfect time to:

Handle High-Traffic Flooring

Road salt, sand, mud, and dirty slush all do a serious number on floors throughout the winter season. By the time spring rolls around, they're often pretty grimy looking, if not also scratched and dull. For facilities with carpeting, now's the time to invest in a good deep cleaning. For those with flooring, it might be time to have it cleaned and polished if not stripped and re-finished.

Take Care of Landscaping

Greenery is pretty much an afterthought in winter when everything is either dormant and brown or covered in snow. Now that the weather is warming up, it's time to clear away landscaping debris, lay down fresh mulch, and prune trees and bushes. Most plants go through a growth spurt in spring -- especially those who produce leaves and flowers on new branches -- so doing some pruning now helps promote lots of lush, healthy new growth.

Check on Your HVAC Systems

As the weather warms up, air conditioning systems get pressed into service. Facility managers should keep themselves from getting stuck holding the bag if a unit fails this summer -- a little HVAC maintenance now, while the weather is mild, will go a long way toward preventing costly problems in the future. Have units cleaned, replace filters, and check condenser coils and coolant levels now.

Don't Forget the Outside

Winter's barrage of snow and freezing rain doesn't do building exteriors any favors. Odds are, windows and facades are looking a little dingy right about now. Dirty windows don't just look bad, they can actually affect customers and employees by reducing the amount of natural light available indoors. Grimy facades can negatively impact customer perceptions of a place. Now's the time to thoroughly wash windows inside and out, and make sure the facility's exterior is looking its best.

Keep Uninvited Guests Out

As the weather warms up, insect populations surge and many pests increase their activity. Dealing with a serious infestation isn't just expensive and unpleasant -- it can lead to a lot of downtime, as pest control chemicals may not be safe for employees or customers. In this case, an ounce of prevention is more than worth a pound of cure. Learn what pests are endemic to the area, and work proactively to keep them outside where they belong.

Take Care of the Small Stuff

When a facility's staff is stuck bouncing from removing snow, to cleaning floors, to handling leaks, to taking care of heating problems, it doesn't leave much time to handle the little things. Unfortunately, a dusty corner here, a dead light bulb there, and a spot of peeling paint there all add up over time and create an unfavorable impression with employees and customers. Pay attention to details and, now that severe weather issues have passed, use this time to take care of the little things that keep a building looking neat and well-maintained.

Deep Clean Bathrooms

Regular daily maintenance should keep a facility's bathroom neat and in good working order, but that doesn't mean it won't benefit from a solid deep cleaning. Regular deep cleanings make routine maintenance easier, keep things looking good, and can even help reduce absenteeism due to illness. Get rid of any lingering grime, sanitize surfaces, and polish bathroom hardware to keep bathrooms neat and hygienic. For a facility manager, spring can be almost like a breath of fresh air after dealing with the challenges of winter weather. With these spring cleaning tips, you can make sure your buildings look fresh and well-maintained and keep your clientele and staff happy and productive.

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Rubber Flooring: Pros and Cons

Rubber Flooring

When it comes to selecting the best flooring for your facility, you want something that will give you a good return on your investment and last for a long time. At the same time, you want a material that is visually appealing and easy to maintain.

You could find the ideal solution for your building by choosing rubber with which to cover your floors. You may be further convinced by learning about the benefits of rubber floors.

Popularity

You would not be alone in your admiration for rubber flooring. In fact, it is becoming more commonplace in all sorts of buildings. While it is typically used in settings like gymnasiums, fieldhouses, and weight rooms, it also is being used more in commercial and residential settings.

It is true that rubber tends to be a bit higher priced than conventional choices like tile or vinyl. However, it also lasts longer and gives a better return on the initial investment than other types of materials. You may not have to repair or replace it as often or as quickly than if you had chosen vinyl, carpeting, or other materials.

Durability

Rubber is also extremely durable. When you are in the market for a material that will be an overall asset to your building, you could find that rubber exceeds your expectations of durability alone.

It can tolerate a high amount of foot traffic without succumbing to damages like cracks and breaks. It also is water resistant and simple to clean up if you spill something like water or coffee on it.

Because of its natural elasticity, it maintains its original appearance. It also has natural shock absorber qualities and can provide more cushion for your feet, which can be crucial if you spend most of the day standing and walking. Its ability to absorb shock and weight also allows it to withstand heavy things being dropped on it.

Low Maintenance

Rubber gets favorable reviews for its low maintenance qualities. When you do not want to spend most of the day mopping and sweeping your facility, rubber may be your ideal choice. It takes minimal effort to keep it looking pristine and new.

Taking care of a rubber floor can be as simple as vacuuming it on a daily basis. You also should mop it with a mild detergent and warm water. You should not use harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia on it because chemicals can cause damages like fading and cracks.

Slip Resistance

If preventing slips and falls is a priority, you may want to invest in a rubber floor. Rubber is especially common in medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes where patient and employee safety is the main concern.

Rubber exceeds the minimum standard for the coefficient of friction, meaning it prevents people from slipping and falling even when they track in water and mud from outside. Its non-slip qualities also make it ideal for use in places like gyms, weight rooms, and fieldhouses where athletes run and train. It prevents them from falling down and getting injured.

Environmentally Friendly

Rubber also has a reputation for being one of the most eco-friendly flooring choices on the market. Unlike wood and marble, which are not sustainable or renewable materials, rubber is made from the sap of a rubber tree. The sap is gathered in a way that does not harm the tree itself nor impedes its growth.

Once the rubber floor becomes worn out and needs to be replaced, it can be recycled and made into entirely new products. It can also be shredded and used in places like playgrounds. It does not have to be thrown away or end up in a landfill.

Other Benefits

Rubber floors also offer additional benefits that might appeal to you as a facilities manager. For example, it: 

  • Does not contain PVC
  • Can absorb sounds
  • Resists static
  • Resists damages like scuffs marks, cigarette burns, and scratches
  • Prevents the growth of fungi like mold and mildew
  • Resists stains
  • Comes in uniform colors


These factors could make rubber flooring the ideal choice for covering your floors. 

Choosing the right material for your floors is critical to the comfort and safety of your building. You could get the best return on your investment and get the performance you expect by choosing rubber. Rubber offers a host of benefits that could make it the ideal choice for you.

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Parking Lot Maintenance Tips for Facility Managers

Parking Lot Maintenance Tips for Facility Managers

Parking lots may seem like unassuming fixtures that have no great influence over the integrity or accessibility of a business. In fact, they many times give the first impression to customers and can determine whether or not people will visit a business or pass it by in favor of a competitor. 

Because of its importance, Long Island facilities managers like you want to take all necessary steps to keep your parking lot in good condition. You can maintain yours and prevent costly and detrimental damages by using these tips for proactive parking lot maintenance.

Perform Regular Inspections

In many instances, costly damages can be prevented by performing routine inspections of the parking lot. A routine inspection does not necessarily have to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, it can be done simply by walking around the parking lot to look for signs of damages or disrepair like:

  • Cracks
  • Holes
  • Oil or gas spills
  • Standing water


By performing routine parking lot maintenance, you can head off damages that could cost your company a substantial amount of money in the future.

Account for the Weather

The weather in Long Island can vary significantly from day to day. When you are planning projects for parking lot maintenance, you have to take into account the weather and how it could potentially impact the integrity of the parking lot. 

For example, during the springtime, you may find it challenging to get maintenance projects done on your parking lot. The rain and humidity prevent materials like concrete and asphalt from setting properly. 

At the same time, extreme heat can cause new asphalt or concrete to dry prematurely or crack during the drying process. Before you decide what projects to undertake on your parking lot, you should check the forecast for Long Island and plan repair and maintenance work accordingly.

Do Spot Repairs

Whenever you find minor damages in your parking lot, you should do spot repairs to prevent them from getting larger. For example, a small crack or hole in the parking lot may not seem like that big of a deal. 

In fact, if water gets in these crevices, it can freeze and then expand the tear or hole as it thaws. In a short period of time, a small crack or hole could widen into a major crevice that cars and pedestrians cannot drive or walk over. Rather than allow these minor damages to spread, you could keep them in check by doing spot repairs whenever you find them.

Sealcoat Every Few Years

Every few years, you should make it a priority to sealcoat your business’s parking lot. Before you do this, however, you should make sure the sealcoat is environmentally friendly.

You also want it to match the color and appearance of the existing asphalt. The rate at which you sealcoat it will depend on a variety of factors like the weather and the rate of traffic that comes in and out of the parking lot.

Clean Up Gas and Oil Spills

As you inspect your parking lot, you should keep a close eye out for gas and oil spills. Gas and oil have chemicals in them that can eat away at the material that binds asphalt and cement. 

If these spills are not cleaned up in good time, they could cause significant deterioration of the parking lot. Rather than watch the asphalt coating on your parking lot erode away, you should clean up gas and oil spills as soon as you see them.

Check and Clean Out the Drainage System

Every sound parking lot should have a reliable drainage system installed on it. This system allows water to drain off the surface of the parking lot. It prevents the moisture from puddles and spills from eating away at the parking lot’s surface. 

If you see puddles of standing water or water that does not appear to drain as quickly as before, you should check the drains to make sure they are not clogged. If they are laden with debris, you should clean out the system right away so water can drain properly. A drainage system that is cleaned out on a regular basis is crucial to keeping your parking lot dry.

Use Striping

Another tip for keeping your parking lot in good condition involves using striping to indicate the location of parking spaces. When customers drive into the parking lot, they want to know immediately where they can park. If there are no stripes indicating where the parking stalls are, people may end up parking haphazardly. 

Striping can also indicate the flow of traffic in and out of the business's parking area. Once the paint starts to fade, you should repaint the stripes for the safety and convenience of your business.

These maintenance and repair tips can help facilities managers like you prevent damages in your business’s parking lot. They head off major damages that can cost the business a lot of money. They also make the parking lot safer and easier for customers to access.

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Preventing Facilities False Alarms: What FMs Need To Know

Preventing Facility False Alarms

Alarm systems are designed to protect commercial properties from all sorts of disasters. From fires to burglaries, the system in your building will alert you to any threat that it detects 24 hours a day.

However, sometimes these systems can sound the alarm when no threat really exists in the building. As a facilities manager, you can minimize facility false alarms by knowing how to install your system properly and what measures to take to ensure it functions correctly around-the-clock.

Why Avoid False Alarms?

You might wonder why you should make every attempt to minimize or eliminate facility false alarms in your building. After all, how much harm can a false alarm really do to commercial property? What is the big deal if your alarm system goes off by accident?

In fact, a facility false alarm can have major ramifications on a business notwithstanding the wracking up of major penalties and fines. Most police and fire departments understand that businesses will have the occasional false alarm. However, they do not appreciate having to respond to continued weekly or sometimes daily false alarms because of faulty systems.

If your building has repeated false alarms, it could be heavily fined by the police and fire departments. As the facilities manager, you will be responsible for explaining these fines to the business owner and why you failed to take immediate action to keep the false alarms to a bare minimum.

Further, repeated false alarms could lead to the shuttering of the building until the alarm system is fixed. The building's insurance company or the state fire inspector could decide that it is too costly and dangerous to keep the building open while it is being guarded by an alarm system that does not work properly.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, repeated false alarms can give the building’s occupants a false sense of security. They may disregard the alarms when they go off instead of evacuating or taking other proactive measures. In the worst case scenario, false alarms could lead to injuries or a loss of life.

Rather than face these scenarios, you can take measures now to keep false alarms to an absolute minimum. These steps are common sense and simple and can save you the headaches that come with dealing with repeated facility false alarms.

Avoiding False Alarms

The first step you can take as a facilities manager to minimize false alarms is to retain the services of a factory trained and licensed alarm company. The company should have a staff of trained, bonded, and licensed technicians on hand who can come to your building to install, maintain, and repair the alarms on a regular basis. 

You also should ensure that the alarms are the newest models and installed in appropriate places throughout your building. For example, you do not want smoke or fire alarms installed too closely to heaters or cooking appliances. These fixtures could trigger the alarms when there really is no threat in the building. 

Likewise, you want carbon monoxide detectors to be installed close to gas fixtures like furnaces and hot water heaters. These alarms should not be installed close to windows where they could catch breezes and not be able to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the building’s air. 

Another measure you can take as a facilities manager is to train the building’s staff on how to use the alarm system correctly. You can start by showing them how to deactivate the system in the morning when they first open the building. You also should show them how to activate the alarms when they leave for the evening. During the daytime, you should keep the burglary detection system deactivated with the exception of the panic alarms. 

Finally, you should use care when hanging decorations in the building. Decorations can catch the breeze by doors and windows, tripping motion detectors and sounding off the alarms. You should hang decorations in areas that are not monitored by motion sensors if you want to avoid false alarms.

These simple steps can save you from dealing with the expense, embarrassment, and possible tragedy that can come with false alarms. You can keep the building’s occupants safe and save the business owners money. You also ensure that real emergencies like burglaries, carbon monoxide leaks, and fires will be responded to quickly if or when they occur.

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Facility Management Challenges During The Holiday Season

Facility Management Challenges During The Holiday Season

The weeks leading up to the holiday season can present a unique challenge to facilities managers. They are tasked with making sure their buildings are ready to welcome the public during one of the busiest times of the year.

They also must assess and minimize potential safety risks inside and outside of buildings. When you anticipate facing such challenges yourself, you can maintain and protect your building with these holiday facilities management tips.

Prevent Stress on Plumbing

With more people coming into the building, it makes sense that the plumbing inside of the bathroom, kitchens, and elsewhere will be used more often. Everything from increased flushing of the toilets to running the faucets can put a strain on plumbing that is not used to this level of usage.

You can head off a plumbing disaster now by inspecting and repairing any known plumbing issues in the building. Repair leaky faucets and pipes, replace faulty toilets and inspect the plumbing for clogs now so it is more than ready to accommodate the influx of people coming into the building during the upcoming holiday rush.

Remove Snow and Ice

As a facilities manager, it is up to you to make sure the walkways and stairs going in and out of the building are clear of snow and ice. Leaving either on the paths leading in and out of the place ups the liability risk for both you and the building’s owner. For safety’s sake, you must be ready to shovel or blow away snow and melt ice as quickly as these elements fall.

You can prepare for this facility management holidays challenge now by having the needed supplies on hand. Everything from a snow blower and shovels to ice melt and rock salt will help you take care of this important task. You also show the public that they can easily and safely get in and out of the building without the risk of slipping and falling.

Plan for Heating Challenges

With more people going in and out of the building during the holiday season, you may find that your building is not able to maintain a steady temperature throughout the day. Cold air blowing through the doorways as people come in and out will make the front hallways and foyer colder than normal. On the other hand, the crush of people crowding into rooms can cause the temperatures in there to rise higher than the set thermostat.

It will be up to you to figure out how to maintain a steady and comfortable temperature in all parts of the building. This could mean adjusting thermostats individually to match the needs in separate hallways and rooms. It could also mean that you simply have to adjust the main thermostat in the central heater or furnace as each day progresses in order to keep people comfortable.

Adjust Maintenance and Cleaning Schedules

Many buildings during the holiday season open earlier and close later to accommodate the rush of customers. These extended hours can put a damper on the schedule you and your crew are accustomed to for cleaning and maintaining the building.

For the few weeks of the holidays, you will need to adjust the schedule and decide during what times of the day or night you want to clean and maintain the premises. Perhaps this will call for you and your workers to come in early to prepare the building for the day.

It might also mean staying late after the building closes to clean up. Regardless, adjusting your cleaning and maintenance schedule could be one of the biggest facility management holidays challenges you face.

Facilities managers acknowledge that the holidays present unique challenges to them and their buildings. You can minimize safety risks and keep people happy by knowing what strategies to utilize as the holidays progress. These tips allow you to keep your building open and accessible while accommodating a greater number of people who visit it during the holiday season.

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Restroom Maintenance Technology

Restrooms are a bit of a necessary evil. Virtually no one enjoys using a public restroom, and no one enjoys having to keep them maintained. It's a dirty, expensive, often inefficient job, but someone has to do it. Poorly-maintained restrooms have a negative impact on employee presenteeism, workplace hygiene, and customer satisfaction. Fortunately, new advances in restroom maintenance technology are helping to make an unpleasant job far more streamlined and efficient.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Maintenance

Technology hasn't advanced to the point where fully automated restroom maintenance is a feasible option for facility managers -- maintenance staff are an invaluable part of keeping restrooms hygienic, working, and well-stocked. Unfortunately, these staff members are often overworked and under-informed, forced to rely on manual checks to tell them when something needs to be cleaned, refilled, or repaired. The average maintenance worker also can't readily supply information on things like traffic patterns, and ordering cleaning supplies can be a matter of guesswork for the purchasing department. Utilizing facility management software and sensors is an easy way to simplify restroom maintenance by providing information that unconnected restrooms can't.

Monitoring Hygiene Compliance

Only about two thirds of Americans regularly wash their hands, and roughly 70% admit to not using soap when they do. Even if you aren't managing a hospital, this is a pretty disturbing statistic. Food service facilities and even office buildings all require a hygienic environment in order to operate effectively. Doorknobs, keyboards, and telephones are all breeding grounds for pathogens from contact with unwashed hands, and frequently vectors for illness. Monitoring hygiene compliance can help facility managers ensure that employees are following the proper hand washing protocol, reducing the spread of bacteria and viruses and, in turn, reducing lost productivity due to absenteeism.

Analyzing Traffic Flow

Some restrooms just see more use than others. This can be due to a lot of factors, including scheduling, location, and even general atmosphere. The trouble is, the places that see the most use aren't necessarily the ones that receive the most attention. Few things will turn people away faster than a grimy, smelly restroom. This can negatively impact employee productivity as they seek out a cleaner one, and create a poor impression of the company for customers and visitors. Knowing which restrooms see the most use makes it much easier for facility managers to prioritize maintenance tasks, ensuring that the busiest places are cleaned and restocked as often as they require. It's also helpful as part of an analysis of a facility's overall traffic, which can help guide other maintenance decisions.

Saving Time and Money

Checking soap and toilet tissue dispensers manually is a tedious process that's often easy for a rushed maintenance worker to overlook. Unfortunately, empty dispensers have a negative impact on employee hygiene, restroom use, and the overall impression of a facility. Monitoring technology allows maintenance workers to skip manual dispenser checks entirely -- automated sensors can tell them exactly what needs to be filled, where, and when. This saves them time and energy, reduces waste, and keeps restrooms running efficiently. In turn, it provides data that facility managers can use to help determine the allocation of their maintenance staff and respond to maintenance issues before they are formally logged (or even noticed) by employees or customers.

Dirty floors, foul odors, and a lack of toilet tissue, soap, and paper towels used to be a standard part of using a facility's restroom -- sometimes to the point where employees or customers would refrain until they could go home. Modern restroom maintenance technology helps improve the experience for both restroom visitors and maintenance staff, allowing restrooms to be cleaned, restocked, and kept in good repair with far greater efficiency. The end result is a healthier workplace, happier customers, more productive employees, and maintenance workers that are able to respond to problems as soon as they arise.

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Effective Management Tips for Property Managers

As a property manager, you are tasked with overseeing multitudes of projects every day. The property owners as well as the tenants on the property look to you to ensure these tasks get done on time and without fail. You can exceed their expectations and be a successful manager by using these tips for effective property management.

Be a People Person

Managing a rental property cannot be done effectively from behind a desk or while working in an office. In this career, you have to be a people person and ready to interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis.

The people you can expect to encounter at any time in this job include the property's owners as well as maintenance staff and contractors like landscapers or roofers. You also will interact with people who live in the rental units and also prospective tenants who wish to apply for residency there.

To be a successful property manager, you must adopt friendly if not firm and professional behaviors when interacting with people on a daily basis. Being ready to greet and speak with a variety of individuals each day works in your favor when you are determined to be the best manager for the property.

Use the Latest Technology

Some aspects of your job will require you to use written communications like work orders or notices to enter rental units. However, the bulk of your work can be done effectively and quickly when you use the latest technology.

Property managers like you should feel completely at ease communicating with tenants, owners, maintenance staff, and others by text and email. You should also keep important documents stored and backed up on computer programs or even more ideally in secure cloud storage.

This technology not only safeguards important communications and paperwork. It also makes your job as a property manager easier.

Hire and Retain an Effective Team

Your job as a property manager will also be easier and more effective when you hire and retain a skilled team to work alongside with you. You may need to hire an office manager to answer phones and greet people who come into the office. You also may want to hire an assistant property manager who can help you with your daily projects and also act in your place when you take a day off or are busy handling other tasks.

Others that you might want to include in your team are skilled maintenance staff who can repair and maintain the rental units. You likewise will probably be tasked with choosing what contractors like landscapers, roofers, and plumbers with which to partner to manage the upkeep of the property itself.

An effective team will allow you to focus on the more important tasks assigned to you as the property manager. It also will improve the integrity and appearance of the property of which you are in charge.

Know the Current Housing Laws

It is imperative that you are knowledgeable in the current housing laws in your state. Housing and tenant laws vary from state to state. What is standard in one state could be entirely illegal where you live.

You can read up on tenant and housing laws by searching the Internet. You can also take courses offered by organizations like HUD to learn what laws to use and abide by while managing your property.

Carefully Screen Tenants

Perhaps the most important obligation you have as a property manager involves screening potential tenants carefully. You have a duty to the property's owner to vet and approve tenants who will pay their rent on time and also take care of their rental units.

You likewise have an obligation to the tenants who already live there. You do not want to approve the application of someone who may be a danger to the residents or at minimum be a nuisance with which they will have to deal on a daily basis. By carefully screening applicants, you can approve people who will be an asset to the community.

By following these guidelines, you could become the most effective manager for a rental property. You will satisfy the expectations of the person or people who own the property and also be a manager that your tenants can appreciate and feel comfortable approaching on a daily basis.

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Maintaining Strong Partnerships with Contractors

The efficient management of your facility sometimes calls for you to outsource critical tasks to third-party contractors. The connections you establish with these contractors are vital to the overall management of the building and the success of the company as a whole. You can maintain strong partnerships with contractors that you outsource to by keeping these important strategies in mind.

Define Your Objectives

Before you formally set up the partnership with the outside contractor, you should clearly define your objectives and explain the responsibilities you would like the contractor to assume on your behalf. Many contracting businesses offer an array of services. However, the one with which you partner cannot guess what kinds of services you need or what exactly you expect out of it.

You should explain in detail what you are needing and what you expect from the contractor. You should also formalize the partnership in writing so you can refer to the contract if or when needed in the future.

Be Flexible

It is also important that you be flexible about your expectations for the contractor. The responsibilities that you expect the business to take on now may change at some point in the future.

The business may also alter or eliminate some services, which means you may have to adapt the contract you have with it. Being flexible with the contractor and demonstrating a willingness to revise the contract as needed based on your needs or the business's capabilities could allow you to maintain a healthy partnership with it.

Appreciate the Importance of Commitment

When you set up a partnership with an outside contractor, you need to be ready to commit to this arrangement for as long as necessary for you to achieve your goals. Whether the partnership will last for a few months or a few years, you must commit yourself to the contract and be ready to uphold your end of the bargain.

At the same time, you have every right to expect that same level of commitment to you and your facilities management goals. You should pursue this promise of service and attention from every level of the business from which you contract from the top management to the workers who will be performing important tasks in your building.

Avoid Micromanaging

Once you gain the commitment you are seeking from the contracting company, you must then take a step back and allow the contractor to carry out the duties that you have assigned to it. You might be tempted to micromanage the projects and to give your proverbial two cents' worth of input.

However, a healthy partnership with a contractor means entrusting it to perform the responsibilities you expect from it. If you try to butt in and micromanage the undertakings, you could jeopardize the contract and find yourself without a third-party business to oversee critical tasks for you.

Communicate Clearly and Frequently

While you should not micromanage the third-party projects, you should keep the lines of communication between you and the contractor open. You need to maintain contact with the business so you can express any concerns or questions you have. You also can gain helpful insight about what the contractor is doing and the timeline for the projects that are in the works.

A healthy partnership is one that welcomes two-way communication between the facilities manager and the third-party contractor. You can get a good return on your investment in the contract and stay on top of tasks that you have entrusted to another party by showing a willingness to communicate openly and frequently with that contractor.

As a facilities manager, you may have more projects to handle than you can realistically carry out in a single day or week. Instead of hiring more employees, you could have them resolved efficiently and professionally by outsourcing them to third-party contractors. You can form important partnerships that will make managing your building easier.

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Pest Management Solutions for Facility Managers

The cleanliness and integrity of your facility depend in part on an effective pest control plan. As the facilities manager, you must ensure that pests of all kinds cannot compromise the health and safety of your building. With these pest control management strategies, you can fulfill an important facilities management duty and protect both your customers and staff from exposure to harmful pests.

Appreciate the Threat of Uncontrolled Pests

Pests do not care what kind of building they enter. If there is an entry point and plenty of warmth, shelter, and food inside, they will eagerly find a way into the building where they will reproduce at an alarming rate.

Further, muggy and warm weather that hallmarks the onset of spring and early summer create the ideal conditions in which pests of all kinds can thrive. Once the weather turns sunny and warm, you need to be on the lookout for all kinds of creatures that can get inside of your building including pests like:

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Ants
  • Lady bugs
  • Mosquitoes
  • Termites
  • Spiders

These creatures will eagerly take their place inside your building alongside year-round pests like mice, rats, and roaches.

Identifying an Infestation

Along with recognizing what kinds of pests can come inside of your facility, you also need to know how to spot an infestation if or when one occurs. Pests give themselves away with a host of signs that should be easy for even the untrained eye to spot. Some of the ways that you can tell you have a pest infestation include:

  • rodent droppings
  • shed skin
  • chewed up materials like paper and cardboard
  • holes in the walls, door frames, and window sills

You can also discover an infestation by actually seeing pests crawling on the floors, walls, and inside cupboards and drawers.

Proactive Pest Control Measures

As a facilities manager, you can take proactive measures to eliminate pests and prevent future infestations. First, you should take note of the landscaping outside of your building. Overhung trees and shrubs create ideal environments for pests to take refuge and use as a launching point to get inside of your building. You should trim overgrown vegetation particularly trees and shrubs that are growing close to or alongside of your facility. With this step, you eliminate the shelter that pests need to get close to and inside of your building.

Second, you should avoid over watering your landscaping. When you over water the lawn, flower beds, and trees, you create puddles that are ideal in which for pests to live and lay eggs. As they reproduce, chances are the pests will eventually find a way indoors.

Further, you should rethink where you put flowering plants in your lawn. You do not want to put flowers and flowering shrubs and trees to close to the building. Bees, wasps, and other insects that are drawn to the flowers will have an easy way to fly into the building through doors and windows.

Likewise, overusing mulch also creates a draw for pests. Pests of all kinds including rodents love the smell, warmth, and feel of mulch. While mulching your lawn helps keep it green and healthy, too much mulch can draw in pests that you may find difficult to eliminate.

Finally, you can stay on top of a pest infestation by using minimally toxic pest control products. You can use pheromones that disrupt pests' natural mating processes. Likewise, rodent traps can be effective in getting rid of mice and rats. However, if you are not up to doing your own pest control, you may want to consider hiring a professional pest control service.

These strategies help you accomplish one of the most important duties you will have as a facilities manager. Keeping pests under control and ideally eliminated protects the integrity and health of your building. It also safeguards people who work and do business inside of the building from encountering potentially dangerous pests.

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To What Extent Does Commuting Affect Employee Motivation?

For many people across the country, commuting to and from work is part of their daily routines. They get up each morning knowing that they face a hectic drive or ride to work that day and an equally stressful commute at home that night. They often feel trapped in a cycle of commuting that they cannot escape.

When you want to boost both morale and productivity in the workplace, it could pay you to consider how the daily commute affects your employees. You may also enhance your own facility management program by offering innovative solutions to ease their stress and frustration that come with commuting to work each day.

The Impact of Long Commutes on Employees and Facilities Management

The commutes that your employees undertake to and from work each day have a direct impact on your building management and productivity. Studies have shown that a one-way commute that lasts longer than 30 minutes can have as much as if not more of a negative toll on an employee as a 19 percent cut in that person's paycheck.

The same studies pinpointed the precise effect that a long commute has on a person's body and mind. The statistics reveal that 33 percent of commuters suffer from depression while 37 percent experience financial difficulties that are directly related to their travels to and from their jobs. Forty six percent of commuters that travel one way longer than 30 minutes are obese and 12 percent report experiencing work-related stress each day.

Alternatively, the studies show that people who walk or bike to work each day experience better mental and physical health than people who drive or take the train or bus. These people report being more satisfied with their jobs and are believed to positively impact the FM of their employers.

What may be more surprising to managers of facilities of all sizes is that the length of the commute itself may not account directly for the job satisfaction and performance of an employee. While the studies do show that commutes over a half hour one way bring about more stress factors in workers, they do not suggest that frustration and a lack of productivity are heightened for each minute that the commute goes longer than this time limit.

A recent study followed 2700 workers in some of the country's largest metropolitan areas. The commute times for all of these cities averaged between 40 to 60 minutes. Interestingly, employees in Los Angeles, a city where the commute time averages 53 minutes per worker, reported being more frustrated and stressed out than workers in Washington D.C. where the average commute time exceeds an hour.

Regardless of the level of frustration and stress your commuting employees experience each day, it is important as the building management leader to think about ways you can lighten their burden if possible. By implementing innovative ways to erase some of the physical and emotional toll that comes with commuting to work, you could increase your company's productivity and improve the facility management strategies already in place.

Easing the Burden of Commuting

You probably have no say in whether or not the company's actual physical location can be moved to shorten commute times. Even so, you could implement strategies to make coming to and from work each day easier for your employees.

For instance, you could make available staggering work schedules for workers whose commutes are longer than 30 minutes one way. By allowing them to come in and leave later during times when traffic is not as heavy, you could ease their stress about having to drive on busy roadways or catch rides in buses and trains that are always packed full of people.

If possible, you could allow some of the commuting employees to work from home. Studies have shown that employees who telecommute are as if not more productive than their brick and mortar peers. You may see greater results with work projects and meet deadlines earlier than ever for your clients.

If staggering schedules and telecommuting are not possible, you may be able at least to offer employee shuttles or set up shared rides among workers. These programs could be more popular if they come with commuter benefits like reimbursement for tolls or gas mileage.

Commuting to and from work can take a negative toll on the productivity, morale, and health of your employees. You can improve your own FM strategies and increase productivity by adopting helpful practices to ease the commuting burden.

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