Are your facilities properly staffed?

January 17, 2018  •  Alayna Giesting

As you scramble to manage your employees, attend to all your maintenance requests, and find enough hours in the day to accomplish your to-do list, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to you that industry experts are saying that facility departments have seen a serious decrease in staffing levels over the past couple decades. The question though, is whether or not a decrease in staffing levels means your facilities are understaffed. Let’s take a deeper look and discover whether it’s best to keep your current staff level and look to other solutions to tackle your to-do list, or convince upper management that you need more manpower!

Determining if my facility is understaffed

As I mentioned earlier, experts have finally acknowledged the trend you have recognized since becoming a Facilities Manager: staffing levels in your department have taken a serious drop over the past 10-20 years. So, what does this mean for you? Besides the fact that you have an ever-expanding to-do list, it means that you may need to evaluate your facilities to find a staffing solution that works best for you.

Just because your department has seen a decrease in staffing levels, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are understaffed. Has your school seen a drop in enrollment or has your restaurant chain closed down a few locations in the past few years? Both may explain the need for a reduction in staff. Lower staffing levels may also be due to advances in technology. Be sure to take these changes into account when evaluating your staffing requirements.

Another great way to figure out your staffing dilemma is to compare your department’s performance with the organization’s mission and values. Is your department appropriately staffed to contribute what it needs to your organization’s mission? If not, then it may be time to ask upper management for more help!

Convincing upper management of the need for more staff

Before you take your request for a larger staff to management, make sure you have a proposition that showcases why it will benefit the company, not just the facilities department. Figure out what the facilities department needs to do in order to meet the mission and goals of the company and develop a plan around how your department will fulfill those goals in the following years.

Performance metrics will go a long way and should be presented to show how you are underperforming without necessary staff and how you could be performing with the addition of staff. Examples of staffing issues that you can present metrics on are:

  • Decreased productivity. You can present the number of work orders your staff receives each week and the number they are able to successfully close out. If the remaining work orders make up a significant number, upper management will see this as a concern and want to take action.
  • Employee hours. Is your staff working overtime? If so, this is probably costing your company more money than it would to just hire another staff member. If your employees are paid by the hour, then they are making at least time and half for each additional hour over 40 they work each week. Calculate how much it would cost to hire another full time employee versus paying your current staff for time and a half, and present these findings to management.

How FMX can help: With FMX’s robust reporting capabilities, you can determine the amount of tasks your current team can conceivably handle. This information will help you calculate the cost and increase of productivity that additional head count can bring to the team. These reports are easy to export so you can present them to your management team in an easy-to-consume format.

What if I don't get approval for more staff?

Unfortunately, there is the possibility that your request for more staff is denied. But don’t worry! There are plenty of other solutions that will help with your work overload and get you back on the path of sanity. Let’s take a look at a couple:

Implement a CMMS

If you haven’t explored a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) as an option to help control your never-ending pile of work orders, you may want to give it a look. If you are able to find one that fits your facility’s specific needs, a CMMS can streamline operations, increase efficiency, and reduce maintenance and repair costs. For example, on average after FMX customers implement our software they see a reduction in work order response time from 3-5 days to less than 1 day. This is great news for you and your staff! And you won’t have to worry about trying to find your employees to let them know of a new task; a CMMS will automatically notify them of a new work order, which means they can hop on the job as soon as possible.

Outsource

Sometimes, it’s more cost effective to outsource a PM or work order to a contractor instead of doing it in house. To decide if this is an effective option for your organization, you’ll need to compare the cost of doing the work in house to the cost of outsourcing the work. While your technician’s labor rate is probably lower than a vendor’s, it will likely take your technician more time to complete. You may end up paying your staff overtime, which, as I mentioned earlier, adds up quickly!

How FMX can help: FMX will automatically calculate labor costs associated with each work order, piece of equipment, or building. So, you can easily compare the cost of fixing a problem in house with the quoted estimate from the vendor. You can also communicate directly with vendors by adding them as users in FMX. You can assign them tasks, set due dates, and exchange information about a task all through FMX.

Implement a Building Automation System

A Building Automation System (BAS) will not only improve energy efficiency and decrease utility costs, but also reduce staffing requirements. For example, FMX customer, Broadmoor Baptist Church integrated FMX with their BAS and is now able to turn their lighting and HVAC systems on and off automatically according to their event and activity schedule. Prior to FMX, a staff member had to turn systems on and off manually. So, now that staff member can be given other duties that would have previously never been finished.


Alayna is the marketing communications specialist at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not drafting up content for the blog or social media, she is most likely reading a good book or taking short weekend trips!

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