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As I see it, facility management in the context of a workplace concerns itself with creating, operating and maintaining commercial environments and infrastructure. In an office context I believe the term "building management" is largely synonymous.

So are questions about this topic considered suitable for the Workplace?

This question was prompted by this question asking for ways to prevent conference phones from migrating through the office.

We've previously had a thread on ergonomics-related questions with a clear consensus that the community believes this is on topic. But while that's also a topic that doesn't deal with interpersonal relationships it's a very different and better scoped subject. In my view the answers given there also wouldn't apply to facility management.


Note: I consider this to be entirely distinct from office management which has a much more obvious focus on business processes and people.

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    The linked question seems on topic. But question about "how do I do my job as a facility manager" seem off-topic to me. Wasn't there a question about "how do I stop people from taking my chair?" a while back. They seem like the same sort of questions to me. – WorkerDrone Nov 29 '16 at 20:21
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    "How do I do my job" is certainly too broad to address, for almost any job. Specifics might or might not be on topic depending on whether they are really about the workplace rather than the facility. Creating and maintaining seem to be out of scope; operating with emphasis on how it affects and is affected by the workers might be in scope. – keshlam Nov 30 '16 at 3:48
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    @keshlam That sounds reasonable, want to convert it to an answer? Perhaps this is just too broad a subject and its suitability for the site will have to be decided by the community's votes on a case by case basis? I think the aspectsyuou mention that affect employees could overlap with classic office management. "How do I properly secure a video projector in the conference room?" is a hardware question whereas "How do I determine how many projectors my company needs?" might be on topic, even if it's not a type of question we get often. – Lilienthal Nov 30 '16 at 8:58
  • We have tags for temperature and thermostat wars which are completely facilities management as well as some very popular questions related to facilities OH&S. I wouldn't VTC a question based on the fact that it was about facilities. – Myles Dec 6 '16 at 21:36
  • @Myles Those are a bit distinct in my view. Thermostat war questions are about sharing a space with other people and the pitfalls involved. A (pure) facility management question would be "How can I lock the thermostats?". – Lilienthal Dec 6 '16 at 22:30
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Maybe

I think the question on the conference room phones was on topic because it was something that would have serious implications on our core topic of navigating the workplace. It is something that the OP (at least conceivably) could have control over, and something that could be addressed with out having to escalate to a high level management type.

Facilities management question types that would be clearly off topic:

  • Which phone system is best/should i choose?
  • How do I connect my phone system through our Intranet?
  • I have been directed to cut our Telcom budget by X% how do i do that?
  • Can I connect my gen 3 utlrapro phones to a gen 1 Telcom Server?

So basically questions that are technical or Business Management focused are off topic. Questions that are Personnel management, or policy implementation, problem solving oriented are more likely to be on topic. But it really all comes down to context.

The linked question about the conference room phones while in my opinion, is on topic, it would not take many changes to the question to move it to off topic.

  • Seems about right. I would argue that the way the linked question is worded boils down to "How do I control resource X" which opens the door for off-topic answers about physical security and control and which means the question itself comes across as off-topic. "How do I get staff to realise why they shouldn't move the phones?" would be better since then you're talking about enforcing and communicating policies. – Lilienthal Dec 1 '16 at 10:17
  • I do not think the point of closing questions is to preempt some off topic answers. Questions are either a good fit and meet the criteria set about navigating the workplace or they dont. Bad answers get down votes. If we see a rash of bad answers on a question that is a different story. But I do not think we should close questions just because they Might have some bad answers. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 1 '16 at 15:24
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Edit: After some discussion, the best answer seems to be to decide on a case-by case basis whether or not something veers too close to "Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies".

As IDrinkAndIKnowThings points out in their answer and in chat: Even if a question like this could be on topic, then it would likely run afoul of "every answer is equally valid"


I would argue that facilities management has a rather large impact on interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

Cramped, uncomfortable or poorly maintained facilities will cause aggravation in employees and seems logical that such things could affect overall morale and productivity.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – user30031 Nov 30 '16 at 17:36
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    I've removed some of my comments to clean up the answer, but they can all be found in the previous chat link. – user30031 Nov 30 '16 at 18:09

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