Pandemic Lessons for the Near Future and Beyond

A return to the office does not mean a return to normal – at least, not the old ‘normal.’ Below are the top five facility management lessons we’ve learned through the pandemic and how our offices will be forever changed (for the better!).

Read More: Tips for Creating a Return-to-Work Strategy

1.     Risk Management is more than fire safety

If you looked at most risk management policies pre-pandemic, they would consist mainly of plans and procedures aimed at fire safety, medical emergencies, and theft. The insufficiencies of a lot of these plans to deal with extreme restrictions and illness have come to light under the immense pressures of a global pandemic.

Those who had measures in place that could aid in reducing the impact of illness have been most resilient in the face of COVID-19, including sophisticated methods of monitoring for contact tracing, personnel responsible for supporting and accommodating employees, established contacts and communication with local authorities, and adaptable workspaces.

Such measures will surely become commonplace in risk management, and such measures ensuring safety and wellbeing will be expected from employees.

2.     Having a dedicated emergency fund can be both life- and company-saving

Pre-pandemic, having a hefty emergency budget was generally seen as a luxury; COVID-19 has revealed that, in actuality, it is a necessity (at least to cover the essentials such as salaries and customer delivery).

These buffers determine the difference between recovery and liquidation, not to mention the sustained wellbeing of employees and employers alike.

3.     A dedicated environmental, health & safety personnel is a worthy investment

It’s a well-known concept in all things health: prevention is key. Due to the unexpected nature and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, most action has had to be reactionary. But to be caught off guard again by a similar situation would no longer be naive; it would be irresponsible.

To ensure optimal preventative measures are in place, having a dedicated team of environmental, health and safety experts is essential. Organizations with such systems in place have dealt significantly better with the pandemic than those without.

Such a resource is also more versatile than some of these other considerations, making them a hugely valuable asset to any organization.

4.     Transition to digital facilities management. Just do it.

This past year facilities have had to be managed when physical access to the sites was restricted or unavailable. Accomplishing this using paper-based or manual methods is nearly an impossible task. From monitoring utilities to space occupation, asset tracking, and overall facility control, creating a cohesive digital ecosystem through which all components are integrated and accessible from anywhere is necessary to resilient management.

Many new and innovative technologies exist that can help make this transition and minimize disruption, anything from smart AI-based hardware to IWMS systems that can connect everyone to everything in a clear, simple and user-friendly manner.

Horizant offers state-of-the-art IWMS solutions, no matter your location, function, or specialty. Contact us for more details on how you can make the switch.

5.     Hygiene is crucial

And we don’t just mean your showering habits! We have learned that keeping a sanitary environment even beyond what can be perceived by our senses can make all the difference. Our standards of cleanliness will be forever changed, and we will no longer look at doorknobs quite the same way. Having a proactive and rigorous custodial team will be necessary to keeping everyone safer and healthier in the future.

While many lessons have been learned, new strategies and procedures should always be data-driven to ensure the methods used will attend to the unique needs of your organization. The health and wellbeing of your staff and clients should be the priority throughout all decision-making.

It is safe to say that the world has been forever changed by the occurrences of the last year – let’s make sure it’s for the better.