Recently I was in a discussion about engaging your internal customers. To me this is something that never gets less important. So who are we talking about here? Your internal customers are your building’s occupants but really they are more than that. Internal customers are your constituency, a body of people and potential supporters. When you put forward initiatives and budgets for facility operations, these are the folks who are affected. Making sure that they know who you are and how your department is run can be key. With that in mind, here are a few ideas based on initiatives I have been a part of:
If your facility has some kind of interesting feature, turn it into a walk and talk tour that building residents can sign up for and go on during lunch. Many people have never been in a chiller room, seen a test lab, or been on a roof. With the right approach, you can give a tour of the most mundane facility feature and get people interested in it. You could for example, offer a walkthrough of the site’s fire suppression system (alarms, notification, standpipes and sprinklers, evacuation signage) and end with a fire extinguisher demo.
Similarly, you might give a nod to wellness and offer a facilities-led lunchtime walkabout of your building’s local area. Prepare and discuss facts or history of the areas you’re walking through. Depending on where you are located this could turn into a series of interesting local explorations that also build relationships. Milwaukee has a local group who does nothing but this, perhaps you can connect with that kind of resource.
A third idea is to take a metric from your building controls system and make it public. Do you track air quality? Make a small display that explains why it’s important and how it is managed. You could also do this same idea with energy use. Museums and zoos often have a knack for taking one small fact and turning it into an interesting display that asks the question, “Did you know…”. You might find some inspiration there.
I will end by suggesting that if you are engaged in any kind of facilities documentation effort, that demonstrating and discussing it with your residents can expand the visibility, audience, and generate support. Show off that departmental map and explain how you use multiple sources to keep the occupant map up to date, that kind of thing. You might even end up discovering that special person or process who can contribute to the accuracy of your information.