How Crucial Are Hard And Soft Services To Your Business?
In business, physical assets like office buildings and other industrial establishments are always essential to conduct daily operations, store finished products, stock up on supplies, and more. With such a significance to core business tasks, the upkeep of these buildings and industrial establishments needs to be well managed by a professional in facilities management (FM).
What is facilities management? FM comprises various services for building management – from repairs to cleaning and maintenance – that ensure the efficiency, functionality, safety and comfort of the environment. With the numerous tasks involved, each can be classified under soft facilities management or hard facilities management. Read on to find out the differences between the two and what they could mean to your business growth.
What is the difference between hard and soft FM services?
Hard FM services
An easy way of understanding hard and soft FM services is by their respective areas of concern. Hard FM services are mainly integrated with the physical aspects of the building and are inherently essential to maintain its structural integrity and safety. Moreover, they are generally required for the health and safety of the occupants within the premises. In short, if operations are disrupted due to a lack of these services, then it more often than not falls into the hard FM category.
Examples of hard FM services:
• Business machinery and equipment maintenance
• Plumbing servicing
• Electrical system servicing
• Personnel and cargo elevator lift maintenance
• Fire protection measures
• HVAC system cleaning and upkeep
• Preventive building maintenance and improvements
Soft FM services
In contrast to hard services, soft services under facilities management are not integrated into the building or other facilities. Instead, it focuses more on directly benefiting the employees and other occupants of the space. Understandably, in comparison to hard services, soft services can be seen as non-essential. However, soft services aim to elevate the workplace, making the environment more enjoyable, comfortable and secure – they are undoubtedly vital for those working on the premises.
Examples of soft FM services:
• Regular office cleaning and upkeep
• Building security
• Pest control
Is it necessary to invest in soft services beyond the bare minimum?
Understandably, some of the services included in soft FM can be perceived as added costs. Nonetheless, the truth is that despite not directly impacting the company’s operations or cash flow, these services offer a more indirect impact.
Take, for instance, catering and landscaping. While catering meals on a specific day of the week or providing a calming garden space within office grounds might not enhance the value of the workspace, it does boost staff morale. Paying more attention to these soft services can let your employees know that you are keen to boost their working experience. In the long run, feeling appreciated, empowered, and valued can affect aid with talent retention and individual KPIs.
Are the two services equally important?
Although hard FM services may seem to take priority over soft FM services, the truth is that they are both equally important to achieve a functional and inviting workplace. Without soft services, offices would be nothing more than just infrastructures. On the flip side, work accidents, injuries, the inconsistent flow of amenities like electricity would make the work environment dangerous for employees, perhaps even inviting legal penalties in the process.
Facilities management or FM includes an array of tasks with varying objectives. As such, it is best to categorise them into hard or soft FM and sieve out the specific services to match your needs. As a leading facilities management service provider in Singapore, entrust both your hard and soft FM to our experienced team here at KJFEM. Placing our clients as the top priority, let us craft a comprehensive facilities management solution to enhance your operations today.