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What are Hard and Soft Services in Facilities Management?

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January 9, 2023

What are Hard and Soft Services in Facilities Management?  

For a moment, consider facilities management and the services that take place. Those that are part of the building, those that improve security and well-being, and where they work together in facilities management. Now, consider the tasks that are necessary to keep a facility efficient and productive. While there is a difference in services, the outcome, which ensures the health and safety of workers and occupants comes first. 

These tasks or services are categorized into two areas: hard services or soft services. The hard services generally focus on preventive maintenance and other types of tasks related to the physical aspects, while the soft varies based on situation and importance. Hard and soft services facilities management is crucial in the day-to-day operations of a facility. The list of hard and soft services in facilities management is key to maintaining order. 

What are Soft Services in Facilities Management? 

Soft services in facilities management are important in the FM ecosystem. A soft service could be anything from office cleaning and decorating to catering for an event. Office managers usually carry out soft facilities management because they better understand the needs of the organization and work with their facilities soft service team to make things enjoyable, secure, and comfortable in the work setting. 

Types of Service 

What are soft services in facilities management? Let’s look at maintenance activities that could fall under this umbrella: 

  • Janitorial services 
  • Interior decorating 
  • Landscaping 
  • Managing mail 
  • Risk management 
  • Waste management 
  • Space management 
  • Pest control 
  • Hazardous materials 

Benefits 

What are soft services benefits? First, it’s important to know that soft services are essential for the upkeep of companies to maintain a hazard-free environment. While some people don’t view these things as necessary to keep things running, having employees in a welcoming and pleasant environment is a benefit in itself. What will happen if no one comes to empty the trash cans? Garbage will collect, overflow, and start to smell. What about if there’s no security? Alarms and security guards ensure everyone can work and move in a secure environment. 

It’s no secret that many people are confused when you ask what is a soft service, but it’s easy to take these things for granted. Cleaning, for example, is mandatory. Between restrooms getting dirty, the floors, windows, and touchable surfaces, germs can quickly collect, making everyone sick. In large facilities, catering is included. Employee cafeterias and catering for meetings and other functions are normal operations within the organization. 

What are Hard Services in Facilities Management? 

Consider hard services to be anything dealing with a physical part of the building. These are permanent structures that cannot be removed. These services help provide the structural integrity of the facility and are usually regulated by law. 

Types of Service

Hard FM services are usually regulatory items. These are included in facilities hard services: 

  • Fire systems: Every business must have a certified system approved by the city to ensure people within the building are safe. This means the overhead sprinklers must be in working order, fire exits must be labeled, and more. 
  • Plumbing: Buildings that do not have adequate plumbing in the building will not be cleared for the general public. Adequate water and plumbing facilities must be up to par. 
  • Mechanical: The integrity of the structure and working parts of a building are crucial in everyday operations. 
  • Lighting: Lighting is an essential part of the safety plan to ensure people can see. They also need lighting to perform functions. 
  • Electrical: An up-to-code electrical system is mandatory and must pass inspection to deem it safe for people to inhabit. 
  • HVAC: Who wants to be in an environment where the heating and cooling systems are not working properly? Poor ventilation creates situations where people could get sick or worse. 
  • Building maintenance: Although building maintenance isn’t necessarily regulated by law, it is important to the organization to keep these other systems in good working condition. Additionally, building maintenance works directly with the office manager to get additional things in the building done, such as hanging shelves, removing doors, etc. 

Benefits 

What are soft services benefits? First, it’s important to know that soft services are essential for the upkeep of companies to maintain a hazard-free environment. While some people don’t view these things as necessary to keep things running, having employees in a welcoming and pleasant environment is a benefit in itself. What will happen if no one comes to empty the trash cans? Garbage will collect, overflow, and start to smell. What about if there’s no security? Alarms and security guards ensure everyone can work and move in a secure environment.

It’s no secret that many people are confused when you ask what is a soft service, but it’s easy to take these things for granted. Cleaning, for example, is mandatory. Between restrooms getting dirty, the floors, windows, and touchable surfaces, germs can quickly collect, making everyone sick. In large facilities, catering is included. Employee cafeterias and catering for meetings and other functions are normal operations within the organization.

Differences Between Hard and Soft Services 

Although hard and soft services differ, they work in tandem with each other to ensure that the operations of the building are running smoothly and effectively. Without hard services, there is no need for soft services. Without soft services, the building would have working parts but nothing to accommodate employees and visitors. The best facilities place equal importance on the two. 

Which Type of FM Service Do You Need? 

What type of facilities management services do you need? If you are just getting a facility set up after construction, hard services are at the top of the priority list. Most facilities cannot be occupied until the permits and construction are completed and signed off. This means having a team in charge of this is key. Once the building is inhabitable and organizations are moving in, soft services are an immediate necessity. This begins with the interior décor. Choosing flooring, paint, the types of lighting, and all those elements fall under soft services. Then, picking the furniture based on the layout and the needs of the organization is next in line. Space management is very important. While all of this is occurring, getting the cleaning crews in place, and managing the landscaping outside should all work together. 

Soft services are also a must for upkeep and everyday management, but can’t be integrated unless the hard services are in place and working well. Ask these questions to help determine which services you need: 

  • Is the service required by law? 
  • Is the service regulated by law? 
  • Is the service vital to the operation of my facility? 
  • Is the service relevant to daily operations? 

Your answers will help put you on the right path and decide which services are best for you.

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