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Time is unarguably one resource we can never get back when lost or wasted. As a Facility Management Professional you need the ability to manage this precious resource and achieve results and balance in your work no matter what level you operate at.

How do you know when you are not making optimum use of time? Being usually late for work and appointments, not handing in work and reports on time and rarely meeting up with deadlines. What of your work productivity? Are you consistently falling below expectations with your superiors and management due to your poor time management skills?

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These are just a few indicators that you may not be a good time manager. Here are 5 time management tips that could turn the situation around and see you having positive results in no time:

  1. Start Each Day With A Plan

Have a clear focus of your activities for the day even before the day starts. Such  a plan can be created first thing in the mornings or last thing before bedtime for  the next day’s activities. With a daily plan, even if something comes up you were not expecting, it’s still easy to get back on track by periodically comparing your activities to what was originally planned as the day progresses.

2. Time Each Activity

So now you have a plan of maybe 9 or 10 activities but it’s of little use if just 2 items take up your whole day.    Allocate a start and finish time for each task so you can pace yourself properly. Remember to leave some “free” time  in between activities to allow for some flexibility. 5 to 10 minutes should do.

3. Resist Distractions

Learn to say “No” to distractions. Personal phone calls, personal emails, extended lunches, office gossip, social media alerts and so on. Unless it’s an emergency make it clear to your family and friends that you will not be available for chatting during work time. Depending on the importance of the task at hand, some people choose to switch off their personal phones during working hours or route all calls to voicemail.

4. Use Digital Organizers and Calendars

There are a number of free organizers and calendars available online that will boost your time management      efforts. A quick search on Google will produce an array of choices and you will be spoilt for choice. These software  are useful for organizing and keeping track of your projects, meetings, to-do lists and so on. Pick something simple  for a start. Google Calendar is one example and a major advantage is that you can have access to your schedule on  the go.

5. Delegate, Delegate and Delegate

Delegating does not have to be as hard as many professionals make it out to be. The major reason people do not    want to delegate is because they fear the delegated job would not be done properly. However, delegating can actually  take a lot of the workload off you and free up your time to focus on other more important tasks. When  delegating, ensure you explain clearly what is to be done, how to do it and when you want the job completed.

So, there you have it. It may seem like a lot of work at first but if you can just start with just a couple of these tips  then gradually move on to including the others your work will soon be the better for it.

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Even if you are not directly involved in Facility Maintenance activities, you must have come across fire extinguishers at some point and would likely have one or more in your home, office or vehicle.

A fire extinguisher is a hand held, cylindrical shaped device used to extinguish small fires in emergency situations. There are generally 2 types of fire extinguishers: cartridge operated and stored pressure.

Note that these portable fire extinguishers are NOT intended for large out of control fires which endanger or limit the escape of the user or where there is a clear and serious risk of an explosion.

You may have also observed that these fire extinguishers come in different colors and sizes. Be assured that these colorings are not for aesthetics alone. There are actually very important reasons why they are colored differently. In this article we look at what the coloring means and why this knowledge can make the difference between arresting a fire outbreak and aggravating it with disastrous consequences.

Classes of Fire

  1. Class A Fire

Fire where the fuel is solids such as paper, wood, clothing, plastics and so on. Water works best for this kind of fire.

2. Class B Fire

Flammable or combustible liquids like petrol and kerosene. This kind of fire is extinguished by smothering (cutting off the oxygen supply) using foam extinguishers.

3. Class C Fire

Fire ignited by energized electricity. A non-conductive extinguishing agent such as carbon dioxide is best but only after cutting off power supply to the affected area.

4. Class D Fire

Combustible metal fires. The most common type of metal fire involves Titanium and Magnesium. Dry powder works best for this class of fire by heat absorption and smothering the oxygen supply. Do not use water to attempt fighting metal fires.

5. Class K Fire

Fires involving the various kinds of cooking oil and animal fat and are associated with kitchens. Saponification still remains the quickest and most effective method for fighting kitchen flames. Another option is Purple-K (PKP), a dry chemical fire suppression agent and is known as another very effective extinguishers for kitchen fires.

Color Coding of Fire Extinguishers

  • Red: extinguishing medium is water. Absolutely not recommended for electrical and liquid fires as it will aggravate the situation.
  • Cream: uses foam. This method was invented by Russian engineer / chemist Aleksandr Loksan in 1902. The components are organic solvents, foam stabilizers, surfactants and corrosion inhibitors.
  • Blue: Chemical Powder. Popularly known as the most versatile fire extinguisher. Usually labelled ABC for classes A, B and C fires. The chemical composition differs depending on the class of fire for which it is to be used. This fire extinguisher will leave a residue. It is also not advised to expose yourself to the fumes for extended periods of time
  • Black: Carbon Dioxide (CO2). They contain only carbon dioxide gas under high pressure. Ideal for sensitive electrical equipment as it will not leave a residue unlike powder extinguishers.
  • Yellow: Wet Chemical Powder. Mostly Suitable for Class A and K fires. The major component is a potassium solution. The mist cools the fire lowering the temperature, then the potassium reacts with the cooking oil in a process known as saponification. The result is a layer of soapy substance over the oil. Not at all recommended for electrical equipment and flammable gases and liquids (petrol etc.)

In 2004, the prevailing fire extinguisher color coding regulation changed to BS EN3. Before then the entire cylinder would be red or black and so on. Now, all cylinders are red but have a colored band to show the class of fire they can be used for. Please refer to the illustration below.

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It is important to always note the class of fire before picking up a fire extinguisher. Wrong application of fire extinguishers can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities.

 

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Managing a business concern effectively can be a daunting task when the various elements that make up the system are considered. No matter the size, kind of business and location, maximizing profit and providing value to customers are key to the survival and thriving of the organization.

One area that can seriously impact your business brand and image is the built environment from which you carry out your business: your facility.

Some businesses wrongly perceive the facility management function as an added cost and try to avoid this cost by using in-house ad-hoc staff to run the premises. Time and again this approach has always proven to be a big mistake.

Businessman accused and insulted by his team
Businessman accused and insulted by his team

If your organization is presently facing any of the challenges below, it’s a sign you need to engage the services of a full-time Facility Manager or Facility Consultant:

  1. Frequent interruptions to major services.

These interruptions include but are not limited to faulty air conditioning systems, breakdown of power generation plants, inadequate supply of water or contaminated and discolored water, continuous lift breakdown and entrapment.

  1. Continuous exposure to avoidable emergencies.

Fire outbreaks, data loss, server failure, critical systems failure etc. The Organization spends valuable time reacting to one emergency situation or the other. There is no proper plan in place for business continuity and critical services are frequently affected as a result of this. Resolving crises has become almost a daily reality.

  1. The maintenance team, if existent at all, is reactive.

There is no specific plan in place for maintenance of equipment and systems. The maintenance team focuses more on repair rather than periodic checks and maintenance. As a result, more money is being spent “rescuing” these equipment and bringing them back to operation each time.

  1. Inadequate or non-existent record of assets belonging to the company.

The organization cannot confidently declare its asset position. There is no tangible record of the assets owned, the condition of each of these assets and their location. If any person decided to steal any of these items, no one in the organization would notice.

  1. Wasteful use of existing equipment.

Having to buy replacements for equipment that are still functioning because there is no asset register. You are not aware these equipment still exist in the organization and even when it is known they exist, no one can track them. Or you are frequently buying new equipment to replace ones that did not live out their full life cycle due to poor maintenance practices.

If any of these situations describes what is presently existing in your business, it is clear that time and valuable resources are being wasted. Amongst other functions, a Facility Manager would be able to prepare and implement a more proactive approach to keeping your processes, place and technology in a state that offers the most value for the people who use your buildings. This would ultimately impact positively on your business performance in the long term and remove the headache of constantly battling one crises or the other.