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5 Quick Wins for Busy Educational Facilities Managers

Feeling overwhelmed by staffing shortages, budget cuts, and an increasing workload? You’re not alone. In a recent CUPA-HR survey, 59% of higher ed facilities staff said they were likely to look for other jobs within the next 12 months. And as many facilities professionals near retirement, some will leave the workforce entirely. If you’re struggling to keep up, quick wins improve your morale and demonstrate progress toward your long-term goals. Start with one or more of these five ideas:

1. Do a Visual Inspection of Keys and Locks

Safety and security is a top priority for all educational institutions, and effective access control combined with mechanical locks is an important part of that. To ensure there are no blatant issues with your key control process, visually inspect your key storage area. Ask yourself:


  • Are keys organized?
  • Have keys been returned properly (e.g., placed in a slot vs. thrown into a key control drawer)?
  • Are there any loose keys or tags laying around?
  • Are there any signs of damage or tampering?
  • Are access cards or key fobs secured when not in use?

This isn’t a full key audit — it’s simply a quick inspection. (Although you can do a quick key audit with an electronic key control system). Document your findings, and put a time on your calendar to address any necessary key control improvements.

Benefit: This simple task helps you identify potential security risks and areas needing stricter key management practices. In addition, it maintains the integrity of key storage locations and prevents potential security breaches due to inadequate key management.

2. Identify Processes That Still Use Paper

Document any processes you’re responsible for that still use paper. List them in order of environment impact and/or how it affects your internal efficiency. Then, set a time to come back later to plan how to digitize these processes.

Benefit: As sustainability becomes a top priority for businesses, it’s time to phase out any paper-based processes. Of course, this project is easier said than done. By breaking it up into manageable tasks, you can make progress toward sustainability while managing the rest of your responsibilities.

3. Remind the Campus Community of an Important Policy or Procedure

Using the appropriate communication channels for your institution, remind the campus community of an important policy or procedure. It could be a policy for using campus resources and facilities or the appropriate procedure for after-hours lockouts or maintenance requests.The University of KeyTrak Memo


Benefit: Effective communication can solve many common inefficiencies. If you already have processes in place to address common challenges you encounter, a gentle reminder can help get your operations back on track. As a side benefit, you can raise awareness of facilities management as a career, potentially attracting new job candidates.

4. Decide on a Standard Naming Convention for Assets

Dedicate an hour or two to deciding on a standard naming convention for the assets you manage, including keys, equipment, locations, and supplies. For instance, for keys, you could use the format “LOCATION_Building Number-Room Number” for your assets (e.g., “CLSRM 2-109”).

Key Roster report Using a standard naming convention makes reporting more consistent.

Then, decide on an action plan for updating the descriptions of these assets in your key control system, maintenance management system, or other software.

Benefit: With the volume of information involved in facilities management, consistent naming conventions improves data accuracy and consistency, facilitating easier analysis and reporting.

5. Identify Bottlenecks You Can Solve With Existing Technology

What are the biggest sources of inefficiency in your day-to-day routines? Jot those down and consider how you can improve one or more of those processes with technology. If budget is an issue, start by considering which processes you can improve with technologies or vendors you already use. For example, if you use an electronic key control system, consider using it to manage parts as well.

Inventory Tracking reportConsider using your key control system to track parts and inventory, as shown above in this report from KeyTrak Edge for Education.

Benefit: Improving processes with technology increases overall productivity and reduces the burden on your limited resources. Although you can’t solve all your bottlenecks in one day, brainstorming solutions is an important first step.


How to Fit Electronic Key Control Into Your Budget Blog Graphic (1)
Using Quick Wins to Alleviate Immediate Challenges

If you’re feeling the pressure of a growing project list and not enough staff or budget to complete it, quick wins can help you address immediate challenges in manageable increments. These small victories will demonstrate your effectiveness in your role and pave the way for more comprehensive solutions.

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