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How FMs can create a very merry Christmas for businesses

20 December 2016

While Christmas is a time of celebration for many, for Facilities Managers the festive season can present a number of security and employee challenges.

Whether a business decides to stay open or close over the extended break, it is essential that measures are put in place to ensure morale and productivity remain high amongst workers, whilst also ensuring that business assets are protected from opportunistic intruders.

By following a checklist, FMs can take an organised approach to avoid potential complacency issues, allowing the festive break to go as smoothly as possible.

Utilise security systems

If shutting down for Christmas, security should be a key priority for FMs. Empty or intermittently frequented offices can be a target for criminals and therefore increased vigilance and security is required.

All CCTV and alarms should be tested before the Christmas close down, especially if high-value or confidential assets are present.

Appointing a number of designated contacts with keys prior to employees going on holiday will also allow any potential break-ins to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently in the event of an alarm being triggered.

In addition to traditional security measures, operations managers should look to utilise and introduce other technologies, such as timed lighting. Strategically turning lights on during ‘working’ hours and creating a well-lit building - whether this is done remotely or through a timer - could put-off intruders for fear of staff being inside.

Alternative heating

Most FMs will know the importance of keeping heating systems on a low temperature, even if the workplace will be vacant over the holiday.

This will help prevent against incidents of frozen and burst pipes. However, if a business will be operating a skeletal workforce over the festive season, heating an entire premises at a high temperature demonstrates poor energy management, and will lead to unnecessary costly overheads.

In this instance, FMs should consider implementing portable heaters. Offering flexibility and versatility, portable heaters are an ideal short-term solution, providing extra heat only when and where required.

Employee perks

For many businesses, it is not a viable option to completely halt operations over the holidays and so it will be business as usual.

For employees that must work, it can be a frustrating period as they attempt to balance work-life activities and for employers, it can be a difficult task to keep staff motivated. To better engage workers, FMs can introduce simple initiatives, such as catering and flexible working, to keep morale high.

Not only will a festive feast increase attention spans and improve productivity, but the gesture will also go a long way in comforting a workforce, making them feel more valued.

Similarly, FMs should ensure that business equipment is suitable for flexible working. Flexibility is often cited as a desired workplace perk and allowing employees to complete tasks remotely, or have flexible start and finish times, could help business leaders to boost employee wellbeing, leading to loyalty and retention in the long term.

To allow staff to work flexibly, FMs should consider exploiting technologies, such as introducing mobile devices with remote access to shared resources, to allow staff to operate away from the workplace.

By installing communication tools like Skype, employees will also be able to update peers and clients on progress, ensuring quality of work remains high throughout the Christmas period.

By being diligent and consulting with different departments of a business to assess individual needs, FMs can rest assure that the business will be prepared for the festive season, allowing them and employees to have a very, merry Christmas.

Nigel Crunden is a business specialist at Office Depot

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