Okay, you may be thinking that this is a ridiculous assertion.  Why would I come up with 5 Reasons Facility Management is Better Than Dating?  Let’s examine this for a minute.

Our facilities are living things that have a lot in common with people.  First, they have a structure, which supports the facility as a whole.  This is similar to how a skeleton supports the human body.  Second, facilities have many internal systems, which must work synergistically together.  These are similar to the many different biological systems people rely on to survive.  Buildings see through surveillance systems, breathe through HVAC systems, receive a supply of water, dispose of waste, and consume energy to carry out basic functions.

Third, facilities have a central nervous system made up of all of the things used to monitor, regulate and control processes.  Examples include energy management, fire protection, and IT.  Fourth, We enable our buildings to talk with the outside world through their communication systems such as phone lines and internet connectivity.  Fifth, our facilities have a skin that protects the internal systems from the outside world.  This skin is made up of the roof, facade, paint, etc.  Finally, we dress our facilities to make them more attractive with furniture, decorations, and floor coverings.

So, why do people date each other?   It enables them to become intimately familiar with another person and understand their needs.  Dating allows two people to see if they are a good fit with each other based on their makeup. Similarly, facility managers must develop an intimate relationship with their facilities in order to understand their needs and how to care for them.

Am I attempting to draw a comparison between dating and facility management?  Absolutely.  Here’s why.

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1. There is No Such Thing as a One Night Stand

When you begin to date someone, the elephant in the room is sex.  Are you going to have it?  When?  Will it all be over after one night?  Is dating 1one night of sex the only thing the other person wants from you?  The unknown is a fun game to some people, where others would give anything for a crystal ball.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the other person is thinking and if they have no interest in a long-term relationship?

Facility management is nothing like this.  There is no such thing as a one night stand.  As an FM, your facilities depend on your long-term commitment in order to provide for their needs from now until disposal.  The best part about this is that you can immediately begin to plan all aspects of the future of your facilities from the beginning.  As you get to know your built environment, incorporate everything learned into your strategic plan for maintenance, life-cycle replacements, future expansion projects, and renovations.  The quicker you begin to think about long-term sustainability, the easier your job will become.

2. There’s No Mystery Surrounding Foreplay

Foreplay in dating is a giant question mark.  To be sure, you must understand the needs of your dating partner in order progress into and past foreplay.  But because everyone is different, what each person considers “good” foreplay varies greatly.  What is exciting to you might not provide any benefit to whomever you are dating.  If you cannot quickly meet your partner’s needs, the relationship will end.  Unfortunately, there is no official manual to de-mystify foreplay in dating.  You’re flying blind on this one.

Similarly to humans, the needs of every facility is different.  This might be due to structural differences, internal systems, or simply the end users that occupy it daily.  However, the good news here is that manuals do exist!  Regardless of differences in facilities, you can break down each component to its most basic form in order to determine what they need.  What I mean is, FMs can take an incredibly complex new facility and determine its needs by assessing each system individually first and then looking at how it contributes to the overall whole.  Research O&M manuals, as-built drawings, industry practices, and more to understand exactly what your facility needs early on in the process.  This will help you get past that initial stage, so that you’re no longer flying blind.

3. No Awkward Waiting Period

Remember dating someone new and constantly looking at your phone wondering why they haven’t called?  Have you ever left a message for dating 2a recent date only to sit at home, waiting for the phone to ring?  Even before cell phones, I remember picking up my home telephone more than once, just to make sure that I still had a dial tone.  Yes, I was pathetic!  But rest assured, there is no awkward waiting period when you’re getting to know your new facilities.

Your buildings depend on you from the outset.  They will immediately benefit from as much attention as you can provide and will respond accordingly.  The best way to understand a new facility is to ask.  You can do this by conducting inspections, looking at facility records, performing audits, literally asking other employees for feedback, etc.  With FM, you can rest assured that you won’t be perceived as needy or over-bearing.  Jump in there and learn as much as you can, as quickly as possible!

4. You Always Get Honest Feedback

Without a doubt, facilities are honest with you.  As you learn all of the intricacies of your built environment, you receive immediate and accurate feedback.  In dating, people want to put their best foot forward, which sometimes leads to dishonesty when learning about the other person.  But in FM, the built environment never lies.  Whenever you try a new process or correct a deficiency, it either works or it doesn’t.  You find out quickly if a new component your team installed is a good fit for your occupants because you receive immediate (and extremely honest) feedback.

To me, this is a great thing.  There is no lengthy transition period when you are learning another person’s true personality.  As you get to know your buildings, you find out very quickly what processes to keep and which ones to discard.  Use this to your advantage in order to quickly adjust to your environment and implement the most effective techniques at your disposal.

5. You Won’t Go Broke

When you date another person, it will either lead to a life-long relationship or a severing of romantic ties.  That’s it.  There is no middle
dating 3ground.  That being said, it sometimes takes a very long time in order to determine which path you’re on.  Let’s face it, dating costs money.  This is especially true when you are concerned with impressing your new love interest with nice restaurants and good times.  The longer the process takes, the more money it costs.

However, there’s good news for facilities professionals.  You’re getting paid to get to know your
buildings!  Not only are you embarking on this exciting journey of learning everything you possibly can about a new facility, you are making money too.  What could be better than that?

Wrapping it Up

After being a facility manager for some time, I’m still amazed by how similar the built environment is to human beings.  Facilities have needs that must be met in order to sustain their life and operate at peak efficiency.  While I have taken a different approach in this article to relate that, it’s an important fact to keep in mind.  As you develop your career in FM, remember to learn what your facilities need and continually assess them (because needs do change over time).

I would love to know your thoughts here.  Please leave any comments here or I can always be reached at dan@learningfm.com.