Survey results from Staples Advantage suggest that more than 70 percent of today’s office workers recognize that the role of facility managers in the workplace is changing and becoming increasingly strategic to the business. Misconceptions about facility managers seem to be dissipating with more than 80 percent of respondents accurately identifying the role’s management responsibilities and a majority recognizing its strategic importance with professionals often serving as an organization’s sustainability champion. In addition, the survey suggests the U.S. workforce is aware of, and appreciates, the facility managers that not only keep businesses going “as usual,” but frequently go above and beyond the call of duty.

The survey, which polled U.S. office workers at businesses of all sizes, uncovered how many facility managers personally contribute to the overall welfare of not only the physical building, but also the occupants. In fact, 75 percent of respondents said a facility manager has “saved the day” for them. Additionally, about 20 percent of respondents revealed that their facility manager performed a random act of kindness.

Today’s facility manager must interact with a wide range of stakeholders in order to successfully implement strategic initiatives and manage the day-to-day activities of their job. An understanding of the unique skills required of a facility manager was echoed by survey respondents:
•    Financially savvy – According to more than 80 percent of respondents, knowledge of financial and operational budgets is a must for facility managers.
•    Strategically oriented – Employees recognize the role of the facility manager has changed from tactical to strategic with more than 60 percent commenting on the importance for facility managers to have environmental and health and safety knowledge.
•    Problem solvers – Close to 80 percent noted it was very important for facility managers to have problem solving skills.

The facility manager’s job is complex and multifaceted within any organization and Staples Advantage offers some quick tips for facility managers to continue elevating their role. These include:
•    Make the case for sustainability – By implementing a sustainable cleaning program, facility managers can make a big difference. Often serving as the environmental champion for their organization, facility managers must evaluate the overall health of the facility, review products and equipment, assess current vendors and implement training programs so maintenance staff is educated on green initiatives and best practices.
•    Promote building safety– More than 80 percent of survey respondents noted they were very appreciative when building walkways were de-iced and shoveled. Facility managers understand the importance of general building maintenance and can advance building safety by ensuring the entire facility meets or exceeds OSHA regulations.
•    Keep communication open – The facility manager role is not only tactical but also strategic. Continue the ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders to discuss new regulations and the importance of continually reviewing products, equipment and vendors.