With the COVID-19 vaccines on the roll-out, India is on the verge of returning to offices. If you operate a commercial building that houses offices or a coworking space, it is time to take stock and then careful action.
From a smart facility management standpoint, reopening means being completely ready for the new reality. For instance, some businesses would have to consider the impact of buildings left dormant due to the pandemic and lockdown. Every business would have to take precautions to resume a facility safely. From sanitation to emergency exits, every aspect needs to be considered.
The first step to address reopening is testing security. Test the alarms to see if it is properly working and can report any vandalism, theft or break-in efficiently and on time. Use alarms with notifications sent to a central point. Make sure all exterior lights are working.
These checks include operational entry and exit signs. Inspect that they are in working order. Ensure that the doors and their hardware are operating at peak conditions. They must be free of any obstructions or jams.
Inspecting fire extinguishers is another part of safety. Physically evaluate every sprinkler valve. Ensure they are completely open. Test the fire alarms for tampering, smoke or flow. Recharge fire extinguishers, where necessary.
Go through every inch of the electrical distribution system. Evaluate for any damage. Where necessary, perform repairs. Also, make sure that the power supplied to the facility conforms to building standards.
Part of the inspection will include the HVAC system. Guarantee that it is working correctly. If needed, conduct repairs to restore operations. Likewise, clean all filters. Replace them where it is essential.
Dormant facilities tend to fall in disrepair, particularly the roof. Examine them for damage and leaks. Perform repairs if needed. Additionally, remove any debris, dust, blockages that may have accumulated on the roof. Pay particular attention to roof drains.
There is no going back to 2019. We can only adapt to the present. All the leading corporates and MNC"s have already begun to adapt to these Smart IFM services and it is only a matter of time until everyone adapts to these technologies. Hence, facilities need to learn to navigate the new conditions. It also means adding new functionalities to facility management. With that in mind, we give you the solutions every facility manager needs to embrace.
Create a customised disinfection routine for each property. Share the updates on the hygiene and health of the entire facility with the clients/tenants.
Implement a contactless visitor experience. Use mobile sign-ins or even QR codes. Get the complete health and travel history of visitors for tracing purposes in case of a COVID-19 case suspect.
Ensure that the facility adheres to new HVAC guidelines. Determines which areas need immediate action, particularly in terms of indoor air quality. Where possible, offer a live dashboard on HVAC data to tenants.
Where possible, automate. Touchless and app-based access to spaces are even better. For instance, give tenants an app to control high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons or lights.
Set up a single hub for operations. This command centre should give you holistic data on hygiene, security, compliance, maintenance, operations and tenant management.
The way forward for organisations is very unique. We need to take proactive steps to ensure the safety of people and facilities. Here are some steps that will help facility managers gain a post-pandemic attitude.
We cannot return to business as usual. That way leads to an ongoing struggle to plan and deliver. Hence, you should start with the re-build approach. You need to plan for a new future instead of restarting with the old. For instance, you may need to redesign office spaces that allow for social distancing. Another change is a shift to digital facility management to reduce in-person contact.
For a long time, most businesses took the crisis management approach to COVID-19. That’s inaccurate. A crisis happens for a few weeks, and then everything returns to normal. The pandemic is still raging even after a year. So, force yourself to strategise how you will return to a ‘new normal’, not the old normal.
Think about digitising. Implement automation where possible in your facility operations. Bring more agility to make responses faster and more efficient when any challenges or opportunities arise.
No one wants to catch the virus, but it happens. So, be prepared for everything. This includes building a COVID-19 preparedness plan for the facility. Think of it as a disaster plan. It should include measures that prevent the spread of infection, administrative steps to ensure social distancing and training of tenants on the plan. Another part of the COVID-19 plan should be proper ventilation, daily cleaning and decontamination and disinfection in case of an outbreak.
The best way to reassure people that they are safe in any facility is to follow proper and constant cleaning procedures. Adhere to the government guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting spaces. They are the best way to build trust in tenants and occupants that the facility is clean.
Last few thoughts:
Hygiene, cleanliness and social distancing are at the heart of everyone. With facilities, offices and schools reopening, it harks a daunting time for facility managers. It is your duty to make the space safe for everyone.
Still unsure about how a smart facility management company in India can help you?
They will guide you on the complex and constantly altering hygiene and safety rules. With their aid, you’ll be able to keep any premise infection-free, maintain social distancing and protect all the building users.
Practising smart IFM services doesn’t take a lot, but it does require expertise, and a company like UDS offers just that to you!