Facilities Management & Maintenance: What is the Difference? Kevin Gray Weighs in
Employers often confuse these two roles: facilities management and maintenance. Both are important, but they each assume a different function. To begin with, one creates the plan (management) while the other gets the plan done (maintenance). One is concerned with direction and long-term goals (management) while the other (maintenance) makes sure that there are no significant changes unless otherwise directed by management. Burlington, Ontario’s, Kevin Gray — a long-time facility manager and advisor — feels that knowing the difference between these two jobs is key for smooth office processes.
What is Facilities Management?
Commonly associated with back end business logistics, facilities management is not simply an individual that coordinates office cleanings and safety inspections. Employers lean heavily on good facility managers to help their business run smoothly. According to Kevin Gray, facility managers are responsible for all things pertaining to the environment where employees work, as well as identifying opportunities to lower costs while also increasing productivity.
The way the property looks influences the attitudes of employees and business prospects. More importantly, functionality within the facility ensures that everyone remains safe and free to do their work unencumbered. This includes, but is not limited to, creating a plan for how often and what time of the day property maintenance takes place. According to Kevin Gray, facility managers usually must manage intricate calendars and budgets to ensure that the workplace is both pleasant and compliant.
Often, employers might lean upon facility managers for equipment recommendations pertaining to work productivity and efficiency. It is wise for these managers to be up-to-date with some of the latest industry technology that improves productivity, employee communication, and more.
Additionally, workplace transitions need someone that understands office process and productive environments so as to provide strategic planning. That is why facility managers are often in charge of office relocation or shopping for a new workspace.
Facility managers must maintain a strong awareness for property upkeep, as well as the wants and needs of employees that work at the property. Failing to keep both in equal balance often results in workplace accidents or conflict. It is a good idea for facility managers to be a member of the company’s Health and Safety Committee (if a company employee), as well as working closely alongside human resources.
What is Facilities Maintenance?
While facility managers are those that set the tone and oversee all factors related to the facility, maintenance staff are charged with implementing what the manager has put in place. Often, each maintenance staff member is given a narrower job description and is released from the burden of strategic planning, unless it pertains directly to their current role.
Which is More Important?
As is often the case when considering business roles and personnel, this question is unfair. Maintenance does not function well without good management. Further, facility managers shouldn’t create a plan and expect that plan to fulfill itself.
While there are many situations where the facilities management and maintenance staff are one person, these occur where the workplace involves a smaller facility and fewer employees. Even facilities personnel assuming both roles must approach each differently.
Burlington, ON Kevin Gray is a facilities management expert with over 15 years’ experience in workplace regulations, human resources, facilities maintenance, project teams, and more. Based in Ontario, he currently assists employers in all matters pertaining to facilities management. For more information, visit his website.