Sunday, 21 February 2016

Cultural Diversity and Facility/ Owners Association Management

In most cities today, it is normal to see people of different cultural or ethnic groups living and working under the same roof or in close proximity. This increasing trend in cultural diversity influences how people interact, live and work together. It also has a significant impact in the Facilities Management (FM) and Owners Association Management (OAM) industries. To stay competitive and to improve service standard it is important that the FM and OAM industries embrace this fact and adapt its services to cater to a more culturally diverse customers, tenants, service providers and employees.  

Managing people in a culturally diverse setting can presents its own set of challenges and the FM and OAM industry is largely about managing people. 

One of the major challenges that a Building Manager may face is communication. As a Building Manager you need to communicate effectively with people of different cultural or ethnic background. Get your message across clearly without any misunderstandings and misinterpretations. A Building Manager’s cultural competence in other words his or her cultural awareness plays an important role. Understand what is acceptable and what is not in different culture.

In some culture, they are used to very direct and blunt way to express what they feel and think. While some people may think this as rude to another it is quite the norm. How you speak affects how the other party react.It is important to note this when you are resolving  problems with tenants/residents or service providers. It is also important to take note of this when you are communicating with a team of culturally diverse staffs or service providers. Communicating effectively is often the first step to resolving a problem and how you say something is just as important as what you are saying. Accents, slangs and pronunciation affects effective communication. 

Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. As research shows, a large component of communication is usually non-verbal. Non verbal communication can give off mixed signals if you are not aware of the other party’s cultural background. Understanding body language is an added advantage when dealing with people. 

It is important to realize that different people from different culture have different expectations from a Building Manager. They may have different expectations on the level of cleanliness and security in a building. It is therefore important to be aware of these different expectations in order to improve your service standard. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

An Introduction to Owners Association Management (HOA) .....

Owners Association Management (OAM) is the control, management and administration of Strata Titled properties (Common Interest Development) or properties that are jointly owned by multiple owners. These properties have common area and facilities that are shared by all owners. A good example of this type of property is the condominium. Each unit in a condominium is owned by individual owners however they have common areas and facilities like lift lobbies, gymnasium and swimming pool that are shared by all owners. The owners in this type of property ultimately form an Owner’s Association (Community Association or Management Corporation , or some other term in other countries). They in turn will elect a few owners to form a “Board” or a Council to manage and administer the common area ,facilities and the financial component of running the estate. The member of the “Board” will then outsource the service to professional Owners Association Management Companies. 

Unlike Facilities Management however, different countries have different terms for Owners Association Management. In some countries it is called Strata Management in some it may be referred to as Community Management, Property Management or Home Owners Association. The reason for this lack of standard recognition across the globe is simply because the OAM industry is pretty much influenced or affected by local factors, like the local law, demographic,society and culture. 

The way a condominium is managed in Miami may not be entirely the same as the way a condominium is managed in Singapore. Similarly the way a condominium is managed India may differ to the way a condominium is managed in Dubai. Despite the differences, there is an increasing demand for professional managers to manage these types of properties. 

In most countries, regulations with regards to the management of jointly owned property takes shape in the 1960s, however it is not until the 1980s that this profession gained importance. 

An Introduction to Facilities Management .....

Facilities Management is the control, management and administration of buildings e.g. schools, hospitals, shopping malls or residential buildings. Facilities Management is the connecting point of the various services in a building. It encompasses the management of the Mechanical and Electrical components in a building to the management of tenants and service providers (cleaning, security, landscaping etc). 

Buildings are an essential a part of our lives, therefore, to ensure that our lives goes on smoothly it is essential that the building that we live or work in operates and performs its functions smoothly. You may not realise this but there are a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that a building is conducive for its occupier.

Below is a pie chart which gives a clear yet detailed picture of just what Facilities Management entails. 

As you can see, Facilities Management is a “jack of all trades” kind of job. There is no single template on how a building should be managed. A government building for example may require a different type of security services from say an industrial building. A hospital may require a different level of cleaning services compared to an office building, so on and so forth. 

Facilities Management is essential in providing the building with the right kind of support for its purpose so that there is seamless interaction between the building occupier and the physical space. 
Facilities Management most probably had a humble beginning as “caretaker” services provided by individuals in a home or office buildings. It has however now evolved into a complex service that requires the skills of trained professionals to ensure that a building is well maintained and running smoothly. This is evident with the establishment of Facilities Management institutions around the world. It is even a discipline of its own with postgraduate degrees offered in Universities around the world.