Five useful mobile apps for savvy facility managers

by FM Media
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FMs’ workdays are always full, but that should not mean chaos. Numerous apps have functions that help in different aspects of an FM’s duties. Bryan Christiansen takes a look.

Below is a look at five mobile applications and what each one can do for the savvy facility manager. 

1. Instant messaging apps

Instant messaging apps have become a popular medium for in-office communication. They give users access to instant messaging, file sharing, private forums, video calls, file sharing, and sometimes even screen sharing.

 The result is a single place to exchange information with colleagues, whether in real time or not. Most instant messaging apps come in free or paid options. For busy FMs and their team members, instant messaging apps provide an effective way to collaborate and keep all stakeholders connected throughout the day. 

Some popular messaging apps include Slack and Zoho Cliq.

2. Productivity apps

Typically FMs can have several projects of different sizes running in their facility. Each one with different critical milestones and timelines. Productivity apps allow them to prioritise tasks and keep track of important details without missing a thing. 

Productivity apps offer a wide range of functions. Still, at the most basic level, they are invaluable for organising simple to-do lists, daily goals, and for setting alarms and reminders. They usually sync easily across devices and come with short and simple automated text responses to missed calls. For example, ‘Sorry, in a meeting. Will call back soon!’

Well-known examples include Any.do and Todoist.

3. Mobile CMMS

Facility managers are always on the go. Returning to the office multiple times a day to access maintenance data can add up to a significant waste of time. The solution comes in the form of mobile maintenance software

With a mobile computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), FMs can utilise the major features of a modern CMMS on the go, from any mobile device with internet access.

Using mobile CMMS, they can review and sign off on maintenance requests, assign tasks to other staff, create work orders, and track the progress of each task. They can also communicate with the maintenance team and residents more efficiently, sending notifications and changing the priority of different tasks. If they are at a remote location and need to pass on some information quickly, they can simply log in and access the data.

Well known examples include Limble CMMS and those listed here.

4. Workplace experience apps

The need for employee experience apps is more obvious these days with more and more  people working remotely or on flexible schedules.

According to the CBRE Group’s 2018 Americas Occupier Survey, about 59 percent of workplace leaders intend deploying mobile apps that will help employees navigate the workplace better and collaborate with others. But on a more practical level, larger facilities with sizeable employee numbers may find it somewhat tough to implement and manage multi-location work logistics and flexible scheduling without leveraging some sort of smart indoor technologies.

By adopting employee experience apps, FMs can effectively take ownership of these processes. 

These solutions empower FMs to seamlessly handle the planning and allocation of work resources for multiple employees simultaneously, from allocating work tools and technologies to coordinating parking spaces, free desks and so on. 

These solutions are also often referred to as employee experience, tenant experience, campus app, or smart office apps. Some of them feature third-party integrations and advanced mapping and positioning features for wayfinding or for locating assets. 

Some brands worth mentioning include Thoughtwire and District.

5. Energy management 

Energy management apps are not only convenient to have, they can potentially save FMs and building owners thousands of dollars – or more – in energy bills every year. By allowing users to monitor lighting, energy, and HVAC installations, they help to tackle the challenges of building energy management through a system of smart panels, meters, and sensors.

Energy management apps may come as stand alone options or as part of a larger integrated BMS.

Some reputable ones are BuildingIQ and Enlighted (by Siemens).

 

As mobile apps continue to increase in popularity for field service workers and other building professionals, FMs too can leverage them to greatly improve cumbersome processes like messaging, maintenance management, energy management, and others mentioned above.

Although the above list is not exhaustive, it can serve as a good starting point for most FMs.

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

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