FM Services: What’s the Difference & Why It’s Important to Manage Your Hard FM and Soft FM Services

Use our sophisticated software comparison tool to find a facility management system that manages your grounds maintenance, electrical work, cleaning services, and other FM service requirements.

What Type of Facilities Do You Manage?

What Are Your FM Services?

Your facility management processes can be split into two categories; Soft FM Services and Hard FM Services:

  • Soft FM Services: FM services relating to the usage of a facility such as cleaning and catering.
  • Hard FM Services: FM services relating to managing the physical aspect of a facility such as building maintenance and plumbing.

Difference Between Soft FM and Hard FM

The easiest way to understand the difference between both services is to think about facilities management from a people (usage of facilities) and facilities (structure and physical aspects) perspective.

There are three popular methods for managing hard FM and soft FM services:

  1. Having multiple contractors for both hard and soft FM
  2. Employing one contractor who provides both hard and soft FM services
  3. Having an in-house facility manager and an external team of contractors

What Are Hard FM Services?

Hard FM services relate to the physical structure of the building. They affect the safety and welfare of employees and visitors, and as such, are required by law. In other words, you must have hard FM services; they’re non-negotiable.

Hard FM services include:

What Are Soft FM Services?

Soft FM services make a building more pleasant, comfortable, and safe for its occupants. Soft FM services include:

Why Businesses Need to Manage Their FM Services

Successful management of hard and soft FM services ensures amenities are readily available, communal kitchens are clean, and elevators are working. This is particularly important in buildings with a steady flow of occupants, such as offices.

Keeping on top of your hard FM and soft FM services ensures:

  • A safe working environment
  • Better employee productivity (77% of workers credited open-plan office design)
  • Increased satisfaction among occupants (69% of companies that managed the upkeep of healthy life through plants and natural light saw workforce satisfaction improve)
  • A boost in employee well-being

Video: Head of Workspace Solutions at Abri, Laura Wright, demonstrates the people management strategies that have been successful in boosting employee well-being and employee productivity.

How to Tell the Difference Between Your Soft & Hard Facility Management Services

Categorising your FM services into these two components makes it easier to keep on top of tasks, especially when managing large facilities or multiple buildings.

Hard FM and soft FM services are both equally important. Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, property owners have a responsibility to ensure the daily health, safety, and welfare of a building’s occupants. This incorporates FM services such as cleaning, catering, temperature control, ventilation, and lighting.

In some cases, hard and soft FM services overlap, and subjectivity comes into play.

As an example, having a reception to welcome and manage visitors is a soft FM service. Whereas repairing CCTV equipment and a visitor’s electronic entry badge are hard FM services.

5 Ways to Effectively Manage Your Hard FM and Soft FM Services

Most teams use Facilities Management Software to manage their FM services. It is used to record, plan, schedule, action, monitor, and report on any facility’s management tasks. CAFM can help speed up the managment of hard and soft FM services by:

1. Planning for Building Maintenance

Planned, preventative, predictive, and reactive maintenance tasks can be actioned and monitored. Inspections, audits, and checks can be driven to speed-up FM.

2. Job Logging for End-Users & Work Orders for Technicians

Job logging for the end-user, which converts into work orders for technicians, increases the speed of specific facilities management. Most tools offer the functionality to store equipment photos, warranty specs, and service details in one place.

3. Maintaining an Accurate Asset/Facilities Register

An asset register is central to the delivery of hard and soft FM services. The process involves understanding the location, status, and history of all assets. This drives the visibility and budgeting process. As a result, there is clarity on total costs of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI). Enabling businesses to decide whether an asset should be repaired, replaced, or disposed of.

Some CAFM tools provide tracking capabilities. It involves tagging equipment and tools for tracking and monitoring purposes.

4. Maximising Space Management

Workspace design, seating management, and space management have gathered momentum after the Covid-19 pandemic. All of which help with well-being management and the utilisation of workspaces.

5. Tracking Energy Consumption

Using sensors (IoT), FM software can identify and inform energy consumption by zones and assets. This helps with energy cost savings but also contributes to a more environmentally friendly building.

Easily Manage and Track Your Facility Management Services With CAFM Software

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What Type of Facilities Do You Manage?