Around the world, we are adjusting to a new reality in every part of our lives as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As this unprecedented event continues to evolve, facilities management practitioners will have to start looking at how to rethink their relevance as organizations consider new ways of doing business.
The ‘new normal’ is fast becoming a cliché to describe our adjusted expectations after a disruption to the way we live or work. It has emerged gradually as we take small steps from the old ways into the unknown. However, before COVID-19 hit us, the facility management profession had been moving towards a ‘new normal’ for years in what can be termed evolutionary progress.
For facility management practitioners, the pandemic has raised a new set of issues to deal with as well as fresh opportunities to provide value- based solutions to their organizations. As we find our paths to the next ‘new normal’, one fact is clear though—the pandemic has not altered the underlying impetus for transformation – the need for facility management practitioners to keep up with the evolving requirements and expectations of the people they serve.
The major impact of Covid-19 on global economy presents opportunities for facilities management practitioners to scale above the existing realities. Increased opportunities will emerge in areas such as:
1) Data – interpreting and leveraging data to optimize the utilization of facilities. Facility managers in collaboration with senior management will have to determine what roles and work functions should return first.
2) Cleaning – from routine to high frequency. This will include sanitization of all touch areas and disinfecting of the facilities.
3) Space Utilization – this will include redefining what is office space and designing smart workplaces with consideration for physical distancing.
4) Healthcare -the safety of the employees will be the primary goal in order to give confidence to the employees that their wellness and wellbeing are of utmost importance. Workplace standards and expectations for employees returning to work should be published. Additional signage will alsobe required.
5) Compliance -new government guidelines/regulations with legal implications are likely to be issued and compliance will be required where necessary. A look at how human resources (HR) policies support the business and employees is advisable.
6) Technology – leverage technology to monitor air quality, control access, shift/ schedule management, occupancy rate, predictive maintenance etc.
Now is the time for value- based delivery of FM services. This means facility management practitioners must do the following to take advantage of new opportunities:
Identify Value: identify what are the critical services to the organization, this will require knowledge ofthe organization’s business and operations then have in place essential activities needed.
Sustain Value: facilities services need to be maintained to ensure that they operate at their optimum performance and compliance with legal requirements. Prepare for emergencies and be equipped for disaster.
Contribute value: contribution of value should be intentional through continual improvement, increasing productivity, implementing innovation and improving quality.
With everyone following guidance from government health officials, the Nigeriacenter for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), facility management practitioners will have to prioritize challenges and focus on what they have control over bearing in mind the initial capital expenditure that may be required against the possible economic realities of organization’s lost revenue.
Source: Business Day