If you’re a sports fan, it’s likely you’ll know what the 12th man is and how important it can be to a team’s chances of success. If not, the 12th man is a concept that has grown out of mainstream eleven-a-side team sports like football. It simply refers to the home fans creating an atmosphere that pushes the performance of their team to new levels – increasing the likelihood that they’ll win.
Clearly, it needs some updating to account for women’s sports, but the idea of the 12th man is a useful way to think of facilities management – particularly your workplace building.
Chances are your workplace isn’t a football stadium; however, you can still view it in the same way. Just like a stadium set up to roar on the home team, your building – managed properly – can have a similar positive impact on the people working to make your business a success.
Why facilities management is an underrated business function
Many people overlook the importance of the building that they work in – and how much it actually supports the effective running of a business. Most only notice when there are issues that get in the way of their work and reduce productivity. For instance, when the Wi-Fi cuts out or when the room temperature is too high or too low.
Thankfully, Facility Managers and their teams the world over know exactly how vital it is to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. These are the people tasked with providing a healthy environment for everyone in the building – and to do so in the most efficient, sustainable way possible.
Delivering this can be difficult. There are always obstacles to be overcome, but technology has hugely enhanced Facility Managers’ ability to create the right environment for success – and continues to do so. From backpack vacuum cleaners to greener, cleaner chemicals, the world of professional cleaning and hygiene becomes more and more effective by the day. The real challenge for Facility Managers and their teams is keeping up with the latest innovations that arrive on the market to help them.
The three innovations you need to implement
As in every other area of life, the future of professional cleaning and hygiene is digital. And here are the three innovations you need to include the next time you review your facilities management processes:
1. Mobile apps – keeping your teams movingNo one really likes doing paperwork. It’s tedious, time-consuming and takes away from the tasks your teams are trying to complete. But it needs to be done, right? Well, yes – but not necessarily in the way you think.
With a dedicated mobile app at their fingertips (because everyone has smartphones now), you can help your teams work more efficiently and spend more time on creating a healthy work environment. Instead of filling out stacks of printed pages (that then need input into your systems anyway), an FM app can capture all the vital info in a few taps of the screen.
This doesn’t just make it easy for individuals to go about their daily work; it also allows the entire team to gain an overview of what needs to be done – making it easier for you to direct resources effectively.
2. Building automation – more than just robots
When people hear the word ‘automation,’ they tend to think of robots. And, in facilities management, people most often think of cleaning robots. These are incredibly useful (and a great innovation in their own right), but to limit the idea of automation to these machines would be to miss out on some huge opportunities for efficiency.
To realise the full potential of automation, you should think of all the devices in your building – and how you can use the Internet of Things to connect and automate them. Take a conference room, for example. It’s not in use all the time, so you don’t need to light and heat it constantly. With automated systems – connected to a schedule for meetings – your heating and lighting will always be on when they’re needed and will automatically turn off when the room’s not in use. And you can achieve this all over your building.
As well as saving you money and time, this makes sure that each workplace environment is right for its users – while improving your sustainability all in one go.
3. AI – the intelligent way to manage facilities
How do you know that your building and its facilities are performing as its occupants need it to? It’s not a trick question. Understanding how people use the space and resources around them is a huge advantage when attempting to drive efficiency – for them and your teams.
In the past, to get a clear idea of facility usage, you’d probably have needed to followed people around or install cameras everywhere. Not a great way to spend your time and money for little return. Now though, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, you can unlock the secrets of your building with little effort.
Building on the connected devices that drive facility automation, you can access data about your building that simply never existed before. More importantly, you can set AI to work on analysing the data to identify patterns – giving you and your teams the insights needed to work more efficiently, focus resources and discover new ways to save money or drive sustainability.
How to drive facilities management innovation through inspiration
These are just some of the ways in which you can improve your FM processes and deliver a healthier, more productive environment in your workplace. There are so many more to discover (with new products and services appearing all the time). The Interclean newsletter will help you find the best solutions for your building – allowing you to turn it into your business’s 12th man.