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10 Ways Facility Managers Can Improve the Quality of Work Environments

Written by  Ryan Noble

change-LED-lightbulbA Facility Manager's main responsibility is to protect and extend the value of facilities. They also play a big part in improving the work environment and keeping employees comfortable.  If your organization is planning to expand their main facility, start a green initiative, retrofit, or they're just plain concerned about making the work place better, here a some good points you can take to the next business meeting for improving the quality of the work environment.   

1. Place Real Plants Around the Workplace

You might not think having plants around has any benefit to the quality of life at work, but it has been shown that real plants improve employee moods, creativity, and productivity while lowering stress and fatigue. Plus, they increase oxygen levels and decrease the amount of air pollutants. Bring up the idea of starting a live green plant program at your facility. Here are five plant possibilites that survive well inside and create the most benefits.  

2. Keep Work Areas Clean and Organized

Work place cleanliness and organization is important not only for productivity but for safety.  The #2 cause of work related injury is due to slipping or tripping on objects, resulting in 668 total work related fatalities in 2012.  Facility walkways should be clear of clutter, custodial services need to be scheduled regularly, and work areas should be organized to keep clutter off the ground.  Not to mention it creates a better impression when people outside of the organization come to visit.

3. Purchase Quality Ergonomic Furniture

Comfortable chairs can make a huge difference in the quality of the workplace. Most cheap office chairs are not designed to effectively support the back for long periods of time and often force you to sit in one position all day.  Nowadays, people are not just sitting in front of desktop computers. They have a range of devices that they use throughout the day that require different postures. A nice ergonomic chair will keep you comfortable and focused on work regardless of how you like to sit. Here is a list of the best 15 ergonomic chairs for your office.

4. Control Noise Levels

Excessive noise at work can have serious side-effects for employees.  These can include hearing loss (obviously), high stress and blood pressure, difficulty concentrating and communicating, and fatigue. The best way to control noise is to only turn on equipment, generators, air-compressors etc. when you need them. Another method is to sound proof equipment and rooms with composite foams and sound deadening insulation.  A good example for an application of this would be in a manufacturing facility.  You want to limit the amount of machine noise operators are exposed to and also limit the amount of noise penetrating office areas from production areas. Soundproofcow.com has some good solutions.

5. Allocate Space Appropriately

Employees in different professions require different amounts of space to work their best. This also includes the amount of privacy i.e.(open or closed work spaces).  In general, it is better to give people enough space to do their jobs without interfering with another persons work space. Cramped conditions can affect employee moods, create distractions, and lower the willingness to work.  In more creative fields, open space is the new trend and is said to encourage creative thinking. Here is an article covering four ways to design workspaces for higher productivitiy that could help determine how best to allocate your facility space.

6. Choose the Right Colors For Paint

Color can affect people in deep ways that they may not be aware of.  It has been said for years that certain colors can elicit certain feelings such as aggression and anxiety (reds) or feelings of tranquility (blues). You can take it even further when you get into different hues and saturations of color and people's color sensitivity. Here is a blog post on finding the right color to paint your work area to become more productive. If you want to stimulate the mind use more blues if you want to uplift people use yellow.  

7. Keep the Temperature Just Right

Studies say that temperatures between 68 and 74 degrees are the best for work performance. One extra thing to keep in mind is that after lunch we tend to hit that "brick wall" that kills our productivity. Cooler temperatures tend to accelerate the downfall.  You can offset this by programming your HVAC system to increase the temperature a few degrees after lunch time. Here is a good post on how temperature affects your productivity.

8. Maintain Optimal Humidity Levels 

The level of moisture in the air can affect employee comfort and productivity.  If the air circulating throughout your facility is too dry, it is likely everyone inside will suffer from dry skin, sore throats, and irritated eyes. Dry air can also diminish mucous membranes that protect us from airborne illnesses like the cold and flu; which you inevitably seem to get every year.  Too much moisture in the air can lead to mold and building degradation.  The ideal relative humidity level should be between 30%-60% per OSHA humidity compliance requirements.  Maintaining 30%-60% humidity can be accomplished with commercial humidifiers using humidity sensors or with smaller humidifiers for specific dry areas.

9. Install the Best Lighting Possible

Lighting sets the mood for getting work done.  LED lighting is the best option available. Not only do LED lights save energy and money they also produce a wider range of color frequencies that are hard to obtain with fluorescents and incandescents.  Neutral, true white light and cooler color frequencies tend to keep people more alert than warmer frequencies.  Whenever possible, offer coworkers as much natural light as possible.  Natural light energizes us, makes us happy, and it's essentially free.  Check out this article on how lighting affects our productivity.

10. Ensure Clean Air Circulation

Poor air quality is subtle and can affect us without knowing it.  It can develop overtime due to inadequate ventilation, dirty air filters, or lack of proper air circulation and can lead to many debilitating physical side-effects including headaches, coughing, dermatitis, sickness, and fatigue.  Proper maintenance on HVAC units can help curb air quality problems and reduce the amount of air pollutants.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a good post on indoor environmental quality.

 

Que Centre is a provider of computerized maintenance management software. CMMS software will save you the time and money to improve your work environment, not just maintain it.  Visit our page on CMMS Software for Facility Maintenance.

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Here are some other helpful posts:

6 Ways to Keep Track of Your Maintenance Tools at Work

5 Things You Need to Do to Find the Best CMMS Software

 

Topics: Tips n' Tricks