Differences between hard and soft facilities management

Differences between hard and soft facilities managementFor a business to run not only efficiently and effectively but smoothly, you must undertake various services and operations. 

Of course, these services will all depend on the type of business you operate.  Its nature, size, people, etc., with such services, split into those that MUST be carried out as part of your legal responsibility and those that are often seen as nice to have, helping to create pleasant work environments. 

It is the facilities manager or the facilities management team’s responsibility to ensure these services are implemented and regularly maintained, with scheduling regimes in place to ensure the smooth day to day running of the business. 

What is hard and soft facilities management? 

All businesses, no matter what their function or size, must follow the Workplace Regulations of 1992 to support employees’ safety while at work. 

This means that there are certain facility services that are required by law to make workplaces a safe and comfortable place to be.  These services include: 

  • Good ventilation 
  • Temperature control 
  • Appropriate lighting 
  • Monitoring of humidity 
  • Safe workspaces 
  • A high level of cleanliness 
  • Adequate toilet and washing facilities 
  • Break rooms 
  • Kitchen/catering facilities – a place where employees can consume food and drink. 

We can then break these services down into hard and soft facilities management.

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Hard services facilities management 

Services categorised under hard services facilities management related to all the physical aspects of a building, the building’s fabric, i.e., those that can’t be removed. 

These services are also the ones that are required by law. 

Examples of services that fall into this category include: 

  • Heating 
  • Lighting 
  • Plumbing 
  • Pipework 
  • CCTV 
  • Fire and Safety 
  • Fire alarm systems 
  • Air conditioning/ventilation 
  • Structural maintenance 
  • Mechanical and electrical services 
  • General building maintenance. 

Soft services facilities management 

These types of services are those that will make your workplace a much more pleasant environment and a better place to be.  Many of these services are generally managed by people and help the business to run much more efficiently.  Soft services are those that managers can pick and choose and use when they feel they are required.  It is often the facilities manager’s role to identify which of these soft services are needed and discard those that are no longer necessary. 

Examples of services that fall into this category include: 

  • Window cleaning 
  • General cleaning 
  • Security 
  • Grounds maintenance/landscaping 
  • Car parking 
  • Reception duties 
  • Mail management 
  • Waste management 
  • Catering 
  • And more. 

Facility assessments need to be carried out regularly to check that the business’s services are sufficient, effective, support productivity, and not duplicated elsewhere in the business, etc. 

This is where the role of facilities management becomes vitally important.  A team or individual that can help ensure you’re meeting all legal requirements, but who is also proactive to look to the future and meet all future business needs too. 

Elements such as security, sustainability, and more must be considered, with a clear focus on creating and establishing a safer, more efficient, and more compliant workplace. 

Hard and soft facilities management differences come in many forms; however, you need both of these elements to ensure the smooth operation of your business. 

Why is facilities management so important? 

It’s reported that maintenance and operations can consume approximately 70% of the facility’s total cost of ownership. 

Outsourcing just one of these services to a professional service provider can relieve facilities managers of some challenges of maintaining a building and maintaining it to a high standard. 

Helping to keep on top of all safety aspects and enhance safety in certain areas of the business, outsourcing also helps to reduce risk as experienced professionals carry out the work. 

Most businesses also report a reduction in management costs as a result of outsourcing, with improved operational productivity. 

You’re also able to meet all environmental standards easier, helping you as a business to remain compliant and at the same time offer a good working environment to your employees. 

When we look at facilities management further, total facilities management will reduce the time and effort a facilities manager can spend on maintaining premises.  Providing you with one cost, one contract, from a trusted service provider, providing you with nothing but peace of mind that everything is in safe hands. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that your business is compliant with the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Act.  Working with an experienced supplier such as Clear Choice provides you with confidence that your business will be compliant with the regulations and provide the best work environment to maintain and improve workplace productivity levels. 

To find out more about switching your facilities management services and to speak to a member of our team, call today on 01132 711432.

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