As a facilities manager, the boundary between your work and private life can get pretty thin. Issues happen on their own schedule, not yours, and when they come up, a lot of people look to you.
We were recently at a retirement party for a resident manager when he got a call: his building’s elevator had stopped working. Even at his own retirement party, facility needs took precedence and he left early to fix it, telling us that “it’s all part of the job.”
Keeping our buildings and facilities running well and working in this unique industry is a valuable and fulfilling career, but like anyone, you deserve some rest, too. While you’re not about to tell management that certain things you’re responsible for “don’t fit into your work/life budget,” you can take a few steps to adjust some things that will relieve some of your stress and help your building in the process.
To see how, first we need to look at the problem…
What makes FM so stressful?
Whether it’s a fire inspection or a setting up for a corporate function, facilities maintenance involvement is required for almost everything going on in your building. Very few building decisions can be finalized without your input. This means you’re probably representing facilities at many meetings, and your phone rings, a lot. You don’t have time to check up on everything else, every day.
And when something goes wrong in the building, facilities is the first call 9 out of 10 times. Coming up with a plan for incidentals needs to fit into a full day of planned work. It’s easy to burn up more than your whole day fielding phone calls, supporting projects, fighting proverbial fires, or being tapped for your other skills or data you may possess.
The point is that you have expertise, authority, and a heavy stack of responsibilities to go with it.
It’s not a surprise nor is it out of the ordinary for you to be overworked and stressed with little relief in sight.
So what can you do to relieve stress if you can’t trim your responsibilities?
- Document your processes. Make SOPs for things like submitting or closing work orders or restocking supplies. When processes are written out, your team can see how to do these tasks without calling you on your spare time or waiting until you’re back at work. Documenting your process also gives you a platform to make changes. Let your team know their input is welcome. Encourage ideas to streamline work.
- Create some accountability. Too many times the lack of accountability is part of the reason problems occur. Create maintenance metrics you can share with your team and management, display them somewhere and discuss them. Knowing that a wider audience is reviewing the work they completed, your team will understand why they need to constantly improve and know they can influence their reputation.
- Prepare to share the burden. Challenge your overachiever and motivate your dormant talent with work you can’t get to. Hand off some data input, paperwork, phone calls. Develop one or two reliable employees to complete the critical tasks you perform, so you can take a vacation someday. Include a responsible employee in some project coordination meetings. Showing your team what you are up against can help you bond with your team. Use the extra credit to give your staff some special recognition.
- Share that data! Give people access to commonly requested information. Create digital versions of documents so that when people ask for receipts, POs, maintenance records, time sheets, manuals, you can easily share. Even with hard copies it’s easy to capture an image (scans or photos) and make them accessible in the same way. You may need to ask for some IT help, but it shouldn’t be too hard to set up and it’s totally worth the effort.
At LogCheck, we know routine maintenance is one aspect of your job that can be simplified significantly to reduce your stress. Our digital log book does just that.
LogCheck lets you document your routine facilities processes with custom instructions you can attach to each check or procedure. Accountability skyrockets with time stamped records with user ID, notes and photos attached to individual records, and a web dashboard with team and individual user performance records.
These allow you to turn your digital log book into a training manual, with a quick view of progress. No one will unintentionally miss a check again.
LogCheck sheds visibility where is wasn’t before. Boosting transparency by revealing the current status of maintenance down to each individual task in real time, it provides instant assurance of how things are going with maintenance. It fosters collaboration among users, and automatically distributes results to decision-makers with simple web dashboards and analytical tools.
We made LogCheck to make the work facilities professionals do a little easier. You can be more relaxed on your off hours knowing that you can check in at anytime, from your chaise lounge if necessary, until the next fire needs fighting.
Interested in seeing what LogCheck can offer your peace of mind? Click below for a free trial.