The Differences Between Hard and Soft Facilities Management
To the layperson, “facilities management” can be quite the vague term. Managing a facility? What kind of facility are we talking about? Are the employees the things that need management, and if so, at what level? Furthermore, what does said management even entail?
In reality, the term “facilities management” has nothing to do with the employee side of a business. It describes all the tasks—all the management—that goes into the upkeep of a building itself. This can include anything from window cleaning to minding the thermostat. It’s quite the expansive expression.
Because of how many meanings “facilities management” can have, industry professionals often break down the term into two categoreies: hard facilities management and soft facilities management. If you’re even considering hiring maintenance services or commercial cleaning services, familiarizing yourself with these two terms can help you define what your facility needs, as well as help you navigate speaking with industry professionals.
The Firm, a nationwide facility maintenance company, explains hard and soft facilities management below.
Hard Facilities Management
When an industry professional drops “hard facilities management” into a conversation, they aren’t complaining about the difficult parts of their job! Hard facilities management refers to maintenance and oversight of a building’s “hardware,” or the features of said building that cannot be removed. Generally speaking, hard facility management is governed primarily by law, as it usually entails the oversight of building features that are integral to safe working conditions. Neglect of these features can have serious legal ramifications for businesses of all industries.
What sorts of features do hard facilities management oversee? How do federal regulations create the necessity of these services? Hard facilities management companies can sometimes offer:
● Repairing of windows and doors. OSHA has put into place specific regulations regarding working fire exits, and if they cause a workplace hazard, windows that do not function properly could be considered a violation of OSHA’s General Duty Clause under the correct circumstances. Hard facilities maintenance helps ensure that your business keeps its workers safe in this respect.
● Repairing of Walls and Ceilings. Maintaining a building’s structural integrity is, of course, paramount to ensure your workers’ safety and therefore prevent costly OSHA violations. Hiring a hard facilities management company like The Firm can go a long way in maintaining your building’s interior, keeping everybody inside safe, sound, and working efficiently.
● Plumbing Repair. OSHA’s General Duty Clause gives workers the right to a safe workplace, and proper plumbing maintenance provided by certain hard facilities management services is integral to this. After all, moisture breeds toxic mold, as well as damages your building’s infrastructure. Talk about unsafe!
Soft Facilities Management
As a contrast to hard facilities management, soft facilities management tends to be less directly tied to the law. It deals with maintenance aspects that make working conditions more pleasant—aspects that relate directly to the business’s appearance and worker satisfaction. While there may be fewer legal consequences for, say, having dirty windows, maintaining a professional and clean working environment is just as important for your bottom line.
Soft facilities management can include, but is not limited to:
● Outdoor sanitation and cleaning services. Some soft facilities management firms offer everything from trash hauling to providing dumpsters to general exterior cleaning services. Pressure washing your business’s exterior is one of the best ways to ensure a good first impression, and your windows always can use a good scrub.
● Carpet cleaning. A dirty carpet not only is a health hazard for workers (especially those with allergies) but it makes it impossible to maintain any air of workspace professionalism. Appearance truly does matter in almost every industry. Hiring a soft facilities management firm that will uphold yours via carpet cleaning is a wise investment.
● Janitorial work. Where would any business be without its janitors? Day in and day out, these hardworking people toil tirelessly, striving to ensure your business comes off as professionally as possible. Some, but not all, soft facilities management firms offer janitorial work as a bonus to their other cleaning services.
Struggling to Find the Right Facilities Management Firms for Your Needs? The Firm is Here to Help
The facilities management industry is expansive; it can be hard to find a reliable company that can fulfill all of your needs, and even harder to vet multiple firms when you’re strapped for time. That’s where The Firm comes in! We’re a nationwide facilities management firm with a team that specializes in everything from post construction cleaning to commercial carpentry. No matter what your business needs done, we can help you find the services you need. Give us a call today at 833-347-6411.