Managing a Hybrid Workplace: an FM's P.O.V.

Category: Facilities Maintenance

Tags: Safety, Janitorial, Business and Industry, Coronavirus,

From March 2020 through 2021, Facility Managers adapted to maintaining their facilities while accommodating occupants that were virtual. Just as the new normal seemed to have taken hold, 2022 found many organizations establishing hybrid schedules for returning employees, with some returning to the facilities full-time, some part-time, and some adapting to a hybrid schedule.

Luckily for most FMs, the lessons learned in the first two years of the pandemic will prove valuable when adapting to a hybrid model. The founder of The Friday Group, Stormy Friday, shared some tips for the new world of work. Perhaps some or all will help to manage your facilities this year as well:

  • Focus on corporate priorities: Level set any changes in direction or company mission and share any change in direction that impacts service delivery with FM staff.
  • Reconnect the FM team: After two years of working in and serving remotely, the team may need help rediscovering and maintaining a sense of unity, especially in a new hybrid organization.
  • Encourage experimentation: Throughout the pandemic, many processes had to be reinvented to cope with unknown challenges and business disruptions. When returning to the office, encourage an environment that continues to reward that level of creativity and experimentation in supporting the hybrid facility.
  • Understand the human aspects of a hybrid environment: This hybrid world of work is still new; recognize that FM staff and other employees may still have uncertainty and insecurity about ongoing adjustments at work and home. Being able to recognize and empathize with this very human reaction will help establish understanding in the days and years ahead.
  • Recognize outstanding work: Many employees have gone above and beyond during this period — working long hours in uncomfortable conditions, solving uncharted problems, and creating innovative solutions. This won't change in a hybrid work environment but publicly acknowledging and rewarding outstanding contributions will keep your teams engaged and focused on problem-solving.
  • Update emergency plans: Most organizations did not have a business continuation pandemic plan in place — and many developed their response plans on the fly. Take the time now to review all your emergency plans — from active shooter scenarios to pandemic planning.
  • Document, document, document: Because of the accelerated pace of change that the pandemic occasioned, many FMs simply did have the time to note every alteration to processes, procedures, and policies. Along with reviewing and updating emergency plans, now is the time to assign a task force to review and update changes that were made during the pandemic.

These and other tips provided by Ms. Friday can be found in fnPrime's 2022 Facility Management Predictions, online now.

About the author: Stormy Friday is the President and Founder of The Friday Group, an internationally known consultant in organizational development, marketing, and customer service. She is internationally recognized as an expert in facility management and has lectured at FM conferences and events in over thirty countries.