In this edition of "An Expert's P.O.V.", Flagship’s Mike Thompson, President/IFM discusses strategic ways that facilities managers (FMs) can take advantage of the reopening delay to improve the overall facility environment and the employee experience.
Reopening gets postponed . . . now what?
Although they’ve been playing some really bad baseball this season, I must admit that I am a life-long Chicago Cubs fan. When I was kid watching their games in the afternoon on WGN, if there was a rain delay, they’d show reruns of the 1975 World Series.
Now as a facility professional, what should we all do during what looks like a “rain delay” for reopening our offices? While entertaining, watching Carlton Fisk wave fair his walk-off home run in game 6 still gives me goose bumps, but as FMs we need to make better use of our time.
I’d encourage you to re-focus on reopening and take additional steps to complete large-scale projects while the facility is not full of occupants.
Present employees with a healthy and safe work environment when they return to the office - check out Flagship’s free resource: Reopen Responsibly, A "New Normal" Guide for Safe and Healthy Workplaces.
Here are some better ways to use your time during the postponement:
Re-Establish Cleaning and Disinfecting Regimens
We’ve seen companies cut back their cleaning efforts just as occupants began returning to the office. That may not be the best idea.
In an article in The Atlantic in July of 2020, Derek Thompson talks about “hygiene theater”- meaning that since the coronavirus was an airborne disease, extra cleaning and disinfecting was a waste of time. I don’t think it was a “waste of time”, cleaning and disinfecting rarely are, even though some groups may have gone a bit overboard.
However, if extra cleaning demonstrates to your occupants that as an FM, you’re doing everything possible to address cleanliness and health issues, I’d argue the extra cleaning is worth it.
During the “rain delay” to re-enter facilities, look at re-establishing those cleaning regimens that will help your occupants see that the site is prepared for them to return. Flagship’s PureClean approach gives your workplace occupants’ extra confidence that their workspaces have been cleaned and sanitized. Drawing on our decades of experience in fighting pandemics (Ebola, SARS, H1N1), we’ve redefined “clean” with a four-pronged approach to your facility that will flex with your facility operations during this challenge and beyond.
And Flagship is ready to join you on the frontlines – fighting this pandemic at your facilities with methodologies designed to protect the health and safety of your employees and guests.
Tune Up Your HVAC
Study after study finds that increased fresh air turns, upgrading air filters where your system can support it, deploying portable air purification units (Dr. Joe Allen at Harvard discusses their effectiveness IF properly sized and maintained), will all improve indoor air quality (IAQ) which in turn may limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
Take the time now to perform an IAQ study and take the recommended steps to improve IAQ by tuning up your HVAC. Portable air filtration units can be quickly ordered and deployed across your offices. If you would like additional help from the professionals, Flagship can schedule and manage IAQ studies on your behalf, and we can install Active Pure technology – both induct and stand-alone air filtration systems – in your workspace.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Working with your company’s leadership, communications, and Human Resources, create a re-entry communications plan reflecting CDC guidance. Get vaccinated, mask up when indoors, and avoid large crowds: those 3 elements remain the best, most effective methods to safely return to the office.
Keep the guidance straightforward and to the point. When you’re facing writers’ block, or if you’re not sure how to articulate your communications, Flagship can support your efforts to develop a communication campaign so your occupants know what to expect when they return to the office.
Get those Capital Projects Wrapped Up
The best time to get Q4 capital projects finished is right now.
With most occupants staying out of the facility until October or later, FMs have the opportunity to get capital projects finished sooner, before occupants return . . . and I think we can agree that working on projects is much easier with fewer occupants in the space. Flagship’s Project Management team can help you get projects costed out, bid, and implemented so your capital projects are completed on time and on budget.
The good news is that the postponement of return to office gives us all a chance to reinvigorate our efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and implement capital projects before our offices fill up again.
Take advantage of the time you have now to prepare. And if you need help, you can know that Flagship can provide the skills and people you need at your site. We have an infrastructure designed to support both as-needed staffing for project work and full-time FM staff.
Flagship's customizable approach to your facility's needs will help you protect the health and safety of your occupants so you can reopen and operate responsibly.
We have experienced and professional teams ready to help your business with your IoT requirements and your integrated facilities management needs. If you have any questions, please email a facilities expert and get the help you need to create and maintain a healthy facility while navigating the process of reopening responsibly in this "new normal".