In today’s world, buildings are built with impressive designs and fabulous concept ideas but they often neglect the occupants’ minds on comfort, practicality and convenience. Every decision on designing and maintaining the facility are being made by the building design team, building owners, facility management and facility managers. Their decisions impact the occupants’ experience, so it is crucial to be conscientious about such decisions and changes to designs. Here are several ways where you are not only improving the occupants’ comfort but the peak efficiency of the facility as well.
1. Proper cooling system
Air-conditioning plays an important role in cooling the temperature in the facility. Without the air-conditioning system, all electronic gadgets from telecommunication, printers to computers may tend to overheat. The overheated equipment may increase the room temperature in the buildings and make the occupants uncomfortable. The building managers must be readily available in providing the cooling system in the building such as the air conditioning, fans and portable air-to-air cooling systems. Air-to-air systems do not completely replace the air conditioners in the building but it helps the building managers provide coolness on specific areas or during breakdowns in the facility. The most portable cooling system only needs to be plugged into power plugs and allowed the heated air to move out of a nearby window. A simple fix for this is to ensure that the HVAC systems are regularly maintained by replacing heating coils and changing filters routinely. These air cooling systems can make a world of difference to the occupants’ comfort between continuing in functioning during operations due to regular maintenance or shutting down due to failures (Intermatic, 2018).
2. Warm and cool air stratification
The height of the ceilings is also a key factor in determining the proper air stratification, air ventilation and cool temperatures in the facility. With the correct ceiling heights, air stratification or layering effect allows large air pockets with different temperatures to remain intact whereby the top zones are the hottest areas whereas the bottom zones where the occupants are located are the coolest. The way to controlling stratification is by dropping the heated air from the upper levels and mix with cooler air at lower levels. Warm air rises towards the ceiling whereas cold air remains on the floor, therefore, the cooling system must be readily supplied. For warmer climates, the higher ceilings are suitable in the facility which lower the room temperature and provide great air ventilation whereas, for cold climates, the lower ceilings help to warm the area, instead. As a building manager who desires to prevent energy waste, reduce electric bills and comfort problems from overcooling or overheating building, this added knowledge is critical to the incumbent (Reiling, 2008).
3. Creating a productive and visual space
Occupants expect to feel comfortable as they arrive at the facility whether for shopping, working or meeting others every day. Lighting creates an ambience that produces the right amount of light that help to foster productivity and efficiency. Lighting should be properly maintained and install every part of building cater to its specific function for people such as at parking areas, meeting rooms, workplaces, lobbies, bathrooms, corridors, etc. Providing natural lights can also light up the area and saves utility bills. For instance, the ordinary cubicle office environment lacks appearance and productive ambience and the high partitions block the sun’s rays from entering the workplaces which should enliven and lighten them in the first place. Offices with proper lightings and balanced colour are pleasant to see, to work and improves productivity. It is essential to provide occupants with outdoor views and the scenery of outside nature where possible (Reiling, 2008).
4. Tenant education
Speaking with tenants and asking for changes is not that simple. Nevertheless, discussion and education is the best solution to provide comfortable areas before the workers are stationed in those conditions. Another way is to relocate the staff in different areas from the cold and hot areas in the offices. For example, windows in the office are the most desirable place to work for people but it depends on the situation. When staff is made aware and educated on the fact that installing double glazing helps to maintain heat within the building and benefited on hot and cold seasons which are energy efficient, only then can the employees decide on whether or not to change their work locations within the office or whether they do not mind the sun’s heat. If they wished to be air-conditioned most of the times, then they are more likely to decline than accepting those conditions for the beautiful views.
5. Noise reduction
Noise can create stress, distractions, reduce concentrations, lower performance, unproductivity and interfere with communications. The building designs can minimize noise vibrations such as walls that act as partitions between the rooms and minimising listening to external noises. In designing a soundproof area especially for meeting rooms and for the plumbing, electrical and mechanical system areas which promote more privacy and fewer disturbance areas, installing special audible-resistant flooring and ceiling tiles with special materials that could absorb noises more than normal tiles are required. Carpets, rugs and rubber flooring can also reduce the noise within the spaces. Another way to reduce noise is by providing triple-glazed windows on the buildings to reduce outside noise entering the facility such as the irritating noises from bustling traffic and building constructions(Reiling, 2008).
6. Embracing automation
Technology improved year by year but this situation does not completely permit from replacing us as humans. Instead, the automation system helps human labour become more efficient and avoid wastages. For instance, adjusting temperature or security levels according to users’ preferences should be based on the employees’ location. These systems allow user full control and monitor of the building effectively. The medical industry for an example should control the medical records on an automated basis which can provide sufficient information and enhance communication between providers. Another progressive technological automation solutions such as lifts availability, new patient beds, nurse calling system, medicines bar-coding and medical records which affect the patients’ conditions (Reiling, 2008).
7. Software for facility maintenance
Traditionally, facility managers rely on memories, experience, searching on a pile of blueprint papers and spreadsheets in a messy plan room to manage the facilities. Without the facility’s management software and advanced technology, it creates chaos to manage and this situation could, in turn, lead to costly repairs in the buildings. If facility managers should leave the organization and replace with new inexperienced hires, there would be a shortfall in the transfer of knowledge and information to the next person due to unavailable data and undocumented records. Manual paperwork often duplicates data information erroneously and adversely affect the routine maintenance schedule with the wrongful appointment times which can incur the wrath of residents. The relevant software would help to retain all the past records and knowledge, organize the information and saves time for work orders, tasks and processes through online platforms or QR codes, etc.
8. Fatigue reduction
Fatigue leads to human error and negative impact on performance, mood, productivity and alertness. For instance, some employees work for long hours and immense workload that contributes to fatigue. Alternatively, information technology can reduce the reliance on memory and information, provide a facility that keeps all the materials that reduce the distances employees must travel, natural lighting, multipurpose room and carpet flooring which are designed to minimize fatigue and improve work performance, instead.
9. Safety considerations
The facility manager is also responsible to protect the confidential data of the company and the security of people to prevent the company’s loss of assets and revenues. Therefore, one of the ways is to step up security system such as to upgrade security in building with balance number deployed professional security personnel and CCTV cameras available for 24 hours on 7 days in a weekly basis. Install or update firewalls and encryption software to avoid unauthorized access of hackers and unintended people is also essentially crucial. People are always mistaken that a single technology system is seen to be able to secure the whole building. In fact, we need multiple technologies with an open system that integrates all information and operation systems as well as the management human teams that are responsible to enforce tangible and physical security on a continual basis (Reiling, 2008).
10. Proper office environment
The layout of the room is the key to enhance worker performance and comfort. The extra space in a room allows people easily to make furniture arrangements and supply storage for cleaning equipment. This also gives privacy to guest and employees in the office environment. Comfortable couches, desks, chairs, natural lightings and internet connections are to be well provided. Positioning the facility equipment also determines its lifespan. Placing the equipment near to the heating sources or hot areas causes the machine to overheat, therefore it is the best to place them at cold walls and appropriate temperatures.
Atalian Global Services offers comprehensive facility management services and we are dedicated to help your business maintain assets efficiently. We can consult, operate and organize your facilities that will definitely improve occupant comfort. Atalian provides the best facility management services service that is tailored to your specific needs and provides a suited package for you. Do contact us for a free consultation today for more information about our services.