What do you do when your business is growing and you suddenly have a surge of employees that rely on you for their wellbeing?
You hire an amazing Facilities team to enforce a solid structure that keeps them safe, productive and well-cared for.
But what if you don’t have the resources to hire someone to look after your building or office space and everyone in it? The job comes down to you to make sure that not only the fundamental basics of Facilities are covered, but also that your workers’ quality of life is satisfactory.
Aubrey Davis, Facilities Manager of Opus Energy, does just this every day for hundreds of employees spread across multiple sites. He’s kindly agreed to pass on his expert advice, for everything from the basics of good building and facilities maintenance, to the finer details that will make your employees happier. Read on and take note of his top three areas to cover…
The Facilities Objective we stick to here at Opus Energy Ltd. is “To support growth of the business founded on sustainable and ethical principles, by providing a safe, clean and comfortable working environment.”
The important thread which connects all these elements in one way or another is Health & Safety.
For most people, Facilities only becomes a part of their conscious thinking when something isn’t working as it should. There are occasions however when significant improvements have been implemented and grateful comments are received. For the most part though, no news is most definitely acknowledged as good news!
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places both Safety and Physiological needs as some of the most fundamental drivers for the human condition, and include issues such as:
- Personal security
- Health and well-being
- Safety against accidents and illness
Facilities impacts all of the above, and if properly managed, has a significant positive effect on staff morale, motivation, efficiency and productivity.
Access to premises for only authorised personnel is an important factor in ensuring safety of staff. This can be managed in a number of ways, including proximity cards, a maintained reception desk or a security guard for example. Adequate lighting around the building (and car park area if applicable) is also a proven deterrent for a would-be assailant, as is CCTV if the risk was classified as severe enough.
Of course threats can also come from within an organisation and it is therefore important that the office layout is such that should an incident happen, it would make it very difficult for threatening behaviour to go unnoticed. This would be one of the considerations when drafting a lone working policy to help ensure that should an incident happen, witnesses or assistance would be available.
Health and wellbeing
Once again, there are a number of categories which could fall under this heading, including a clean environment, adequate lighting, break/relaxation facilities, canteen, toilets, cycling facilities and so forth. Heating and ventilation could also be mentioned here as although the legislation is quite open on this topic, having an incorrect balance in temperature can be a recipe for widespread discontent.
Like a number of areas within the Facilities arena, there needs to be an acknowledgement that organisations are made up of people who are individuals with very different characteristics, and as such it will not be possible to meet all individual needs all of the time. Small changes and adjustments can be offered however in the shape of specialist furniture and chairs to help individuals. This type of support is sometimes best identified through a workstation self- assessment (see this quiz from the NHS to check if your work space is up to scratch).
Safety against accidents and illness
Risk assessments are an essential tool for a Facilities Manager to help identify a risk, measure it and find ways to remove it or reduce its potential impact. A risk assessment would be applicable to all the areas already highlighted above. The detail and complexity of a risk assessment would be commensurate with the level of risk being measured. Many templates are available on the internet or the HSE website.
Another tool to enhance safety and reduce accidents is to use the employees themselves. By educating them either as part of their induction process or having a separate training course, you can provide them with basic but invaluable tools to help them deal with problems effectively themselves. This will also give them the awareness to report the hazard to someone in the organisation with the responsibility for making the hazard safe. Sickness and staff absence can have a major impact on the success of any business and the all-important bottom line, so investing in this area of the business pays dividends.
And so there you have it – the basics of each of the three areas you’ll need to know to make sure your small business is running smoothly and safely. Keep checking in for more company tips, news and expert advice.