portrait of the beautiful young woman on the yellow background

Contributed by HFI-U

HFI-U is advising facility professionals to think deeply about the impact their buildings have on health and performance, and to avoid shallow thinking.

Examples of deep thinking include:

1. Viewing each building as an ecosystem in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

2. Investing in the health of the workforce and building occupants even if this means spending more money on proactive, preventative measures.

“There are several shallow thinking snares that impair health and fiscal wisdom in our facilities,” says Allen Rathey, principal of HFI-U. “Our advice is to go deep ― or go home.”

When it comes to the care of buildings and people, deep-thinking-driven steps can yield excellent Return on Investment (ROI) by doing the following:

1. Clean more to remove contaminants from the indoor space. 

2. Reduce use of fragrances that aggravate chemical sensitivity. 

3. Strive for employee happiness. 

The benefits of deep thinking are most evident when viewed through a long-term lens in which personnel are brought to higher levels of competence through ongoing training in better process and contaminant removal.

Management should think deeply about the problems and solutions to help workers progress and learn along a continuum of competence; an effort that takes time and commitment.

The four levels of deep thinking-based, healthy-facility competence ― with level four being best ― are:

1. Unconscious Incompetence

Example: The worker does not understand how to dust properly, may not recognize poor process or see the need for change. The worker must understand the failure path and the value of a new approach before they can move to level two.

2. Conscious Incompetence

Example: The worker understands why using a feather duster spreads more dust than a dampened microfiber cloth, but old habits persist, and they have not yet adopted the use of microfiber tools.

3. Conscious Competence

Example: The worker sees the advantage of microfiber dusting, and has adopted it, but must willfully focus and concentrate to execute the new skill of using a dampened microfiber cloth for routine dusting.

4. Unconscious Competence

Example: Through practice, proper dust removal using microfiber has become habitual, easy, less time-consuming; and the person can teach others.