Time: You Only Have 24 Hours

Time Management.  It has always been a popular topic for those of us in business that can’t seem to manage our days effectively.  I am a graduate of the Franklin Time Management System and Franklin/Covey leadership training.  One of the first things I remember about my time management studies is that there is no such thing as not having enough time.  We all get 24 hours each day.  The trouble is not with having enough time, the trouble is how we prioritize the 24 hours.

So what does this have to do with Facilities Management?  I have spent the last 40 years of my adult life working in facilities management.  And while I’d like to think I’m knowledgeable on all aspects of FM including janitorial, maintenance, utilities management, roads/grounds, security, and general administration, I keep learning new things every month.  The profession of FM is actually changing rapidly with new technologies and new processes.  Green buildings, LED lighting, building management systems, waste management, recycling processes; these are just a few of many.  But what does this have to do with Time Management?

Nearly every business whether retail, commercial, or industrial typically has a building or buildings where they conduct their business.  A facility.  A facility that has to be cleaned, maintained, monitored, and kept pleasant and safe for employees.  We spend a large part of our time in our work facilities.  Those facilities can support productive and effective work processes or they can easily hinder them.

Facilities Management is not always considered a profession by many laymen.  An old boss of mine always said, “If a person has put a deck on the back of their house, they consider themselves an expert in FM.”  When I ask business owners if they are looking for FM help, the most common answer is “We have a person that does that.”  If the business is a large entity then yes, typically there is a facilities management department.  But how many businesses are doing FM support of their buildings as a “necessary evil.”  It’s passed on to someone in the organization that may have spare time.  And, it’s typically not a fun profession.  The majority of calls to an FM department or support group are for something that is not working correctly.  It’s too hot, it’s too cold.  Restrooms are not functioning properly, too much energy is being wasted, the grass was not cut this week, or the snow was not cleared after last night’s storm.  I don’t think I have ever had a call from a building occupant that the lights went on this morning or my office space was clean and comfortable.  As most of us know, people in FM are good at receiving constant negative input.  Or at least they should be.  Is yours?

So why would any business owner spend a portion of the valuable 24 hours, or have a staff member hired for IT or HR spend valuable time on FM when it’s not their forte, even if they did build a deck on their house last summer.  Time spent on core business functions is potentially producing additional revenues or reducing expenses.

So start prioritizing your time on core business.  And allow FM professionals to do what they do best.  You may find more time to increase revenues and your FM professional will use their time to help reduce your expenses.  It’s called “Win/Win in Time Management.”

How are you spending your 24 hours?

Thomas C. Cook