Should plants be allowed on top of office workstations? Should space heaters be permitted under desks? Just how far should employees be allowed to go to make their workspaces more homey?
That’s the question I got from a reader who was asked to develop guidelines about customizing cubicles. The answer, based on a quick poll of some facility managers: “It depends.” If there’s a consistent rule, it’s that electrical appliances like space heaters and small refrigerators aren’t permitted, except for medically necessary devices. But even on that point, some facilities have no formal policy at all. Others bar anything from the tops of storage compartments and panels. Some organizations relax policies for back office spaces. Rules vary by where in the country a facility is located and what industry it’s in.
None of that is particularly helpful if you’re the facility manager who has to come up with a policy. But that doesn’t mean you are alone. In fact, trying to go it alone is probably a mistake. Policies about customizing workspaces are just as much about people as furniture. So it makes sense to get human resources involved, if they aren’t involved now.
How do you think your HR department would react if you came to them for help in a case like that? Or if you wanted to use an HR newsletter to encourage employees to reduce energy use? Or if you asked them to work together to set policies related to infectious diseases or workplace violence? How would you respond if HR asked for your help?
There are plenty of times when it makes sense for FM to team up with HR. But the time to strike up a relationship isn’t when you need something from HR. Far better to start off with some friendly conversations. Making time to do that now could save some headaches later.
Are you free for lunch any day next week?
My company works with workstations and cubicles supplying signage for them .. our clients are typically federal agencies under our GSA contract for signage. They have strict guidelines for decor in workstations.. and recent regulations requiring emergency trained staff to be designated make the visual regulations even stricter..
We also work with privacy and have many military workstations marked with DO NOT DISTURB / please knock slider signs recently
stanco signage systems, inc.
Good discussions and one I find interesting to listen to when the interior designers and architects are involved. These groups tend to be hell bent on keeping offices look pristine so their designs shine through. However, the reality is offices still require the use of paper, folders and reference books; and people still need to have some control over their work environments by using photographs, sticky notes, plants etc etc.
The trick is to balance the needs of the Human Factor (employees) with effeciencies and work flow as well as safety. Indeed a challenge for FM's who manage office facilities.
JE Sleeth Optimal Performance Consultants Inc
© 1995-2012 Trade Press Media Group, Inc.
Building Operating ManagementMaintenance SolutionsArticle DirectoryTopics
Contact UsPoliciesManage Email
Trade Press Family of Web Sites: FacilitiesNet - Facilities Management | Healthcare Facilities Today | Progressive Railroading - Rail Professionals and Railroads | CleanLink - Cleaning and Janitorial Services Management | FacilityZone | RailTrends | myCleanLink | NFMT - Facilities Education and Conference | myProgressiveRailroading | CleanHound