When making a purchase of something as important to your operations as offshore living quarters, it’s crucial that you do your research and make a good investment. Low-grade quarters can quickly become an anchor dragging at your profits in dozens of ways: maintenance costs, energy expenses, low worker morale, health issues, the list goes on. To make sure you’re buying quarters you’ll be satisfied with for years to come, we recommend you take the following 7 factors into account when making your decision.
1) Build Quality
It may be an obvious place to start, but it bears pointing out nonetheless. There’s a massive difference between a well-designed structure made in accordance with all the best practices and standards of the industry and one which skirts the edge, barely meeting the necessary legal obligations. Not only will inferior build quality rarely go hand-in-hand with anything else you want on your structure, it will inherently increase the amount you spend on maintenance and upkeep.
Inferior structures might even increase your legal liability, at the very least increasing your insurance premiums compared to what you might see with a more reliable build in place. In other words, cheap today means expensive over time, one way or another.
Perhaps the simplest way to assess a company in any industry, is to ask for references. Make sure the references you speak with or hear from share your needs and goals. Just because someone else had a perfect experience with the company and its products does not mean you’ll see the same results if your situations aren’t analogous. Don’t forget to ask about the scenarios where a good company most makes a difference: the ones where something went wrong and a conflict needed to be resolved. These tell you far more than the experiences of people with uneventful stories.
3) Worker comfort
An indestructible steel box may be sturdy, low-maintenance, and cheap, but there’s more to consider in living quarters than that. Your workers will be living in these places. In a way few businesses must, you need to account for the quality of their time off the clock. Such direct control over employees’ rest time is a heavy responsibility. Get it right, and worker morale and productivity will exceed all expectations. Get it wrong, and you’ll face high turnover of your best employees and reduced productivity from the ones that can’t escape to another employer.
Think of this not as a headache to be dealt with, but as an opportunity. Good living quarters not only improve productivity for existing workers, they can serve as a recruitment incentive to improve the quality of incoming employees.
4) Health and hygiene
Along the same lines, you need to consider how conducive the design of your offshore living quarters may be to employee health and hygiene. It’s not enough that it be possible for employees to maintain general well-being, it needs to be a pain-free experience. Weak showers, poor sleeping conditions, and even bad layouts can make basic self-upkeep a frustrating task for your workers. This means you could lose morale, health and hygiene, or both.
5) Energy Efficiency
We’re talking about living quarters, so we need to consider energy efficiency as we would for other types of housing. Poorly designed and insulated quarters can quickly become either miserable for workers or costly for employers; either one is to be avoided at all costs. While HVAC and other energy expenditures for your living quarters may be a mere drop in the bucket compared to the expenditures of your operation, there’s no reason to throw money away when a superior design could save it.
While it isn’t a concern on every operation, any facility you anticipate some degree of growth for needs to be easily scalable. Carefully think about your needs and expectations, then choose something appropriate.
As with references, this one works no matter the product or service you’re looking at. A business confident with its product will meet or exceed industry standards, because doing so makes sense for marketing and won’t cost them anything significant. A company offering sub-standard promises simply isn’t worth working with because it betrays a lack of confidence.
In other words, a good warranty can indicate an unnecessary warranty. A bad warranty means a product you’re far more likely to need a warranty for.
As you can see, a lot of factors go into determining the best offshore living quarters for your operation—and any weakness can quickly turn into a headache with rapidly compounding expenses. Poor build quality doesn’t just cost more in maintenance, it leads to more worker frustrations, hygiene issues, and discomfort. Low energy efficiency directly effects how scalable a particular operation may be, and may have implications for worker comfort as well. A bad warranty can also leave you in a messy situation during a breakdown or malfunction.
So take your time, perform thorough research, and choose the right offshore living quarters for your business.
Rosekind MR, et. al. The cost of poor sleep: workplace productivity loss and associated costs. J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Jan;52(1):91-8. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20042880 [Retreived 8/1/2016].