The Aging Facility Management Workforce & Your Hospital HVAC System

Posted by Connect with ODIN on Jul 1, 2021 7:45:45 PM

Figures from the IFMA show that the average facilities management professional is now 49 years old, with 28 years of experience (including 16 in facilities management). This is older than the median age of the general workforce by 8 years. 

Aging in the facilities space is not a recent phenomenon, either, but a trend that’s been continuous for at least a decade. Back in 2012, Health Facilities Management and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) reported that 40% of facility managers were over 55 — a result that was 35% higher than the same survey in 2009. One Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) even spoke with a large healthcare system manager who has someone on staff that’s 81 years old.

Aging Techs & Your Hospital HVAC System

The aging of the workforce has become a major concern in hospital facility management, where the technicians that manage hospital HVAC systems and sophisticated building automation software are graying — even as technology marches into the future. 

As a consequence, many hospitals are continuing to use an antiquated or obsolete BAS because it’s the one that their aging workers are most familiar with. These older systems also tend to be more complex, poorly integrated, and less user-friendly than modern solutions, which only exacerbates the challenges that come along with a highly-skilled but aging workforce.

Cape Cod Hospital Case Study

Those challenges include:

  • The inefficiency of outdated software or methods of facility management
  • General discomfort with complex computer software systems
  • Overcoming the learning curve when shifting to new technology
  • Confusion from juggling multiple older technologies that don’t seamlessly integrate
  • Employee resistance to change and new tech adoption

The end result for your hospital HVAC system tends to be increased frustration with system adjustments, overburdened manpower, the potential for extended maintenance outages, and more money spent on lost energy from system inefficiency. This is not a reflection on the techs, who are valuable, experienced professionals, but on the tools that they have to work with.

Reduce the Learning Curve with ODIN

ODIN (Operator Display Integrated Network) is a software designed to simplify and streamline the daily operations and monitoring of any facility with BACnet-enabled devices.  ODIN offers hospitals true remote access and interoperability in a secure, intuitive platform that’s comfortable for older employees. 

We’re no strangers at ODIN to the obstacles faced by an aging hospital facility management workforce. One recent client with this conundrum, for example, told us that their techs “could keep a small city running if they needed to,” but complex computing systems simply weren’t their strongest suit. What they needed (and what all healthcare facilities with this problem can benefit from) is a software solution that’s optimized to be intuitive, familiar, and easy to adopt. ODIN can be controlled from the comfortable format of a simple mobile app interface on a touchscreen phone. 

Our client reported that the familiarity of a phone app made ODIN easy for their aging workforce to learn and integrate into their day-to-day operations. This was, in essence, a technology they were already used to using in their daily lives. Widespread adoption was fast. The majority of the hospital facility management staff was actively using ODIN in no time and loving the results. They found it quick to set up, with automatic BACnet object and BAS discovery, simple user group formation, and easy-to-delegate permissions.

It’s possible to reduce the learning curve, boost the efficiency of your BAS and hospital HVAC system, and empower an aging workforce to excel, all at the same time. Contact us today for more information on how ODIN can augment and improve your hospital HVAC system, starting on day one.

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Topics: BAS, BACnet, Remote Building Controls, HVAC

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