Downtime. Those feared periods where work has to be interrupted to perform maintenance (often emergency repairs) on a space so that it’s minimally usable. While there aren’t a lot of issues that cause serious disruptions in the workplace, it’s important to know which ones to look out for so that you can avoid costing your company time, productivity, and money while you scramble to get repairs performed. In addition to knowing what to look for, it’s also important to have a plan in place for when they do come up. At envVisual, we’re devoted to reducing down-time by leveraging technology to put contingency plans in place and keep your facility performing at its best. With that being said, here are some of the more catastrophic kinds issues that can bring your site to a screeching halt.
Leaks are awful to deal with. In many spaces, someone will inevitably be working below pipes that move liquids around for plumbing or heating/cooling. Eventually, these pipes will fail for one reason or another; maybe they burst because they freeze, maybe they erode so much that they can no longer handle pressure, or maybe the junction between different pipes isn’t secured properly. Whatever the cause, leaks can wreak havoc on a work space. If they’re slow leaks, they can be managable – put a bucket below and once the office is empty, turn off the water and replace the pipe. The real problems come about when the leak is a ‘burst’, and worse so when the it happens outside of working hours, when nobody is there to notify the FM team. When that happens, whole floors can flood, anything the water touches can be ruined, and downtime will almost certainly be needed. If leaks go untreated, they can cause mold which puts the health of your employees at risk and requires replacement of anything affected near the leak. Do yourself a favor and schedule regular inspections of your plumbing systems to preempt future plumbing disasters which will shut down your workspace.
Every facility is suseptible to invasions of unwelcome pests, from insects to rodents and sometimes even aerial invaders (pidgeons have set up a colony in our outdoor recieving bay). An exterminator once told me that many FMs treat pest control as a one-time problem, meant to be solved and then moved on from. The reality is that pest control is an ongoing effort, and in many areas, competely ridding a building of pests is unlikely. They’re resourceful, resilient, and seemingly willing to bend the laws of nature to stay alive. Dealing with them is also problematic, as many of the methods employed in getting rid of pests involves chemicals which can also be toxic to humans. That means your facility has to be empty of everybody but those you’re trying to kill. Pests also make for unsafe work conditions, as many of them carry disease and will scare your employees if seen roaming the office. Our advice: don’t wait until you or someone else sees the pests. Bring in an exterminator regularly to enact preventative measures that will help keep the pests out of your space in the first place.
When the power goes out, nobody’s getting anything done. Some facilities will have generator backups, but these are uncommon and usually reserved for powering machinery that keeps people alive or servers operational. If your facility is lacking in these essential services, chances are your facility becomes useless without power. Outages can be caused by lots of things: blown fuses, leaks that affect electrical systems, bad storms, and numerous other potential events. Predicting these events can be difficult (or downright impossible) but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for them. You can track the frequency of issues by utilizing business intelligence technology. Sometime, it’s just as powerful to see which issues haven’t come up recently, as that might indicate a need for maintenance. As with plumbing and pest problems, regular inspections can help preempt these kinds of issues and keep your facility running smoothly. Sometimes though, issues can slip by inspectors or can be caused by forces outside your control. When that happens, it’s crucial to have a plan of action for how to deal with them. Have your contractors and specialists saved on speed dial. Make sure they can come in when there’s nobody in the office, as interrupted work hours mean lost productivity and money for the organization.
In the end, emergency downtime costs your company a lot, and with some smart investing of resources, you can preempt catastrophic issues from crippling your facility and halting employee productivity. These suggested investments include: regular inspections by experts and contractors to keep tabs on the deterioration of your assets and presence of problems; business intelligence solutions that track issue freuqency, inspection scheduling, or facilitate ease-of-inspection; and finally, preventative maintenance programs that ensure that your space is up-to-date, up-to-code, and fully operational.
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