Understanding Soft and Hard Facilities Management

There is a wide range of facilities needed for a business, whether it is an office, property or anything else, to operate smoothly.

While soft and hard services facilities management (FM) isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, some are legally required to be implemented while others are based on the location, size, and type of your business.

Soft and hard facilities are designed to help you maintain a healthy and aesthetically pleasing environment for your employees and customers. To be able to successfully implement the necessary soft and hard FM services for management and legal efficiency, it’s important to know the difference between the two and what each one entails so that you can have a clear approach that works well considering the nature of your business.

Hard facilities

Hard FM services are legally required for every business and the safety of employees and visitors. These services pertain to the physical structure of the building and cannot be removed such as plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, fire safety systems, and more. Hard FM services are designed to ensure that the employer adheres to the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Act – which prioritises the health and safety of employees and customers.

Soft facilities

Unlike hard FM services, soft facilities management is all about the features that enhance the functionality of a building and make it more aesthetically pleasing. This includes services such as lighting, landscaping, window cleaning, catering, and more. These can be added and removed as and when needed. Soft FM services are not integrated into the building, but it impacts employees and customers directly.

Finding the right fit for your business

It is worthwhile to complete a facility management needs assessment to decipher which FM services you need to implement and manage in your organisation. Facility management assessments requires both the physical and aesthetic needs of your business to be considered. This will allow you to implement and manage the right hard and soft FM services that will make your business safer and more pleasant for employees and customers.

The assessment is also important as it provides direction on the key hard FM services your business cannot do without. You can hire a qualified facilities manager as some of these are more technical and engineering-based. Finding the right Facilities Manager helps you rest knowing that your building’s maintenance and all other services such as plumbing and water systems are well taken care of and functioning as they should.

Good facilities management

Now that the differences between hard and soft FM services are clear, it’s also helpful to understand how these can be managed to ensure your business runs optimally. Many facility managers are hired to take care of the hard facilities as they often require more hands-on techniques and expertise. However, taking care of your soft services also has an impact on the overall impression of your building and ultimately, your business. The best way to understand which soft services are key to your organisation is by paying attention to customer and employee feedback as this will direct you towards making a more informed decision.

Pro tip: Make it a habit to constantly request feedback from employees and customers on the facilities (both hard and soft) of your organisation so that you can maintain an outstanding environment that is comfortable and conducive to work.

Need help with any of the services mentioned above or any other management services? Give us a call on 01249 443 278 or email us at hello@dependablelimited.com.