Top Facilities Manager Skills (Plus How To Improve Them)
Updated 27 February 2023
Several companies hire facility managers to help manage office premises so that employees can focus on core business activities. These facility managers are responsible for maintaining the office buildings, parking, security, water supply, electricity, catering and other amenities within the office campus. If you are interested in becoming a facilities manager, understanding the skills required for the role can be beneficial for your career development. In this article, we define facilities manager skills, discuss some examples of these skills and explain how you can develop them.
What are facilities manager skills?
Facilities manager skills are a combination of technical skills, managerial capabilities and interpersonal skills that help such professionals in doing their job effectively. These skills help facilities managers maintain the properties they are responsible for and ensure that the workforce can work productively and efficiently. Some of their responsibilities include ensuring cleanliness on the premises, coordinating catering services, managing budgets, stocking supplies, supervising maintenance work, ensuring workplace safety and overseeing refurbishing projects. Facility managers can develop these skills through experience and by pursuing courses in business administration.
Examples of facilities manager skills
Here are some crucial skills that can help facilities managers execute their responsibilities effectively:
Facility managers typically work with a team of professionals and interact with employees, contractors, delivery personnel and vendors. Strong communication skills ensure they can convey their messages easily and successfully delegate tasks. It also helps them build strong interpersonal relationships at work, helping create a pleasant work environment for the entire team. Communication skills are essential to resolve situations of conflict within teams and at work. You can develop this skill through practice or by completing a business communication course to learn how to communicate through the spoken and written word.
As facility managers hold leadership positions and usually supervise teams of professionals, it is important to lead teams. This includes motivating team members, ensuring they understand the objectives of the organisation and delegating responsibility to them. These abilities help a facilities manager plan schedules, allocate resources and ensure tasks get completed on time. When there are conflicts within the team, a facility manager can use their leadership skills to resolve the dispute by remaining impartial.
Often, facility managers are responsible for training team members to ensure that everyone possesses the technical and practical knowledge required to do their job. Strong leadership skills help managers train employees, unite them and align them to the company's objectives. You can develop your leadership abilities by understanding different leadership styles, following industry leaders on social media platforms and networking with senior leaders.
Technical knowledge and adaptability
It is important for facility managers to know all the technical aspects that are important for maintaining workplace properties. Some essential aspects can include electrical systems, power back-ups, water purification systems, boilers, computer systems and internet connectivity. They are usually responsible for the proper functioning of equipment and machinery within the property. This makes it important for facilities managers to have an in-depth understanding of the functioning of different machinery to troubleshoot problems promptly. It is also important to have the technical knowledge to train team members.
It is also important for facilities managers to continue learning about new systems and technologies to manage the workplace effectively. This can include safety systems, computers, applications, devices and alarm systems among others. They are generally responsible for the optimum functioning of computer devices, software upgrades, updating anti-virus software and ensuring uninterrupted high-speed internet connectivity. By being a part of facilities management forums, reading magazines and publications and networking with other professionals in the industry, they can learn about new industry trends, tools and technologies.
A facility manager is responsible for supervising several tasks simultaneously, maintaining the premises in optimal condition and ensuring the upkeep of workplace assets. Often they may deal with emergencies or high-pressure tasks. This requires them to organise their work, prioritise tasks and allocate resources effectively. You can develop your organisation skills with practice and learn how to use different project and task management tools to improve your productivity.
Facilities managers create schedules for their team, allocate leaves, supervise progress and set deadlines. They may be responsible for managing multiple projects such as system upgrades, repairs and refurbishing activities at the same time. This makes time management a vital skill for facility managers. It is important to prioritise tasks, set deadlines, coordinate with different teams and ensure the team follows timelines. You can learn about different time management techniques and start applying them to determine which one is the most effective for you. You can also consider using time management tools and applications to set reminders.
Facility managers work with several external vendors and contractors, like electricians and plumbers, to ensure all the amenities on the campus are in working condition. Many factors may be beyond their control and require them to be patient in following up with individuals from within and outside the organisation. Having the patience, determination and understanding to commit to finding solutions can be essential for facilities managers.
This is a crucial skill for facility managers as several problems can occur while maintaining workplace properties. This requires facility managers to have strong problem-solving capabilities and analytical thinking as it can help them analyse any situation and find a solution promptly. It is also vital for facilities managers to be effective decision-makers as often they may be required to make decisions in short periods.
It is crucial for facility managers to ensure that their property complies with local and national regulatory laws. This includes laws related to health and safety, work environment, construction, hiring laws and security. Facility managers typically audit different systems and security measures regularly to ensure that the workplace is compliant with security and hygiene protocols. You can learn about business and workplace compliance by completing short-term professional courses for managers and office assistants.
Several companies prefer facility managers with knowledge of green and environmentally friendly workplace practices. For this, it is important to be aware of the latest trends and techniques in sustainability to implement them at work. Some areas of focus include efficient energy consumption, water usage, waste disposal and reducing carbon emissions, among others. You can develop this skill by learning about the latest industry trends, referring to sustainability publications, attending seminars and pursuing diploma or certification courses in business sustainability.
How to improve facility manager skills
Here are some steps that can help improve your skills as a facility manager:
1. Gain experience
One of the best ways to learn the skills required to do a facilities manager's job is to gain practical experience. You can learn most of the required skills while you perform the duties and solve problems on the job. It can also be a good idea to gain experience in project management as you may manage multiple tasks simultaneously. If you are a fresh graduate, you can start your facility management career by applying for internships at facilities management firms or by working under the supervision of senior facilities managers.
2. Follow industry leaders
A great way of developing your facility manager skills is to follow industry leaders and network with them. You can also follow them on social media platforms and learn from the updates they share. Observe their leadership style, understand how they manage their teams, learn from their problem-solving techniques and apply them to solve challenges. You can also learn several skills by observing your seniors at work and asking for feedback on your performance.
3. Use digital tools and applications
Consider using different facility management tools and applications to help manage your work remotely. You can also use time management tools, productivity tools, scheduling applications and project management tools to prioritise tasks effectively. Several of these systems have advanced features that can improve your capabilities as a facility manager by setting reminders, automating processes and creating team rosters.
4. Get the professional training
You can also enrol in a short-term professional course designed for facility managers to develop your skills. While many organisations prefer candidates with a business administration degree, diplomas in relevant courses can also help build valuable skills. Such courses allow structured learning through a preset curriculum and can also help you find a job after the course is complete.
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