Facility Management At Frontline To Combat Covid
A Sector That Has Been Long Overlooked Is Delivering Essential Facility Services To Suppress The Covid-19 Outbreak. We Look At What Facilities Management Companies Are Doing To Help.
With each passing day, facilities management firms are stepping forward to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic by adopting various measures which will help clients as well as the society. They have been offering services like deep hygiene cleaning, eco static disinfectant cleaning, industrial machinery cleaning and fumigation services etc to ensure that the client’s premises are sanitized and safe to operate once the lockdown ends.
Being in charge of the maintenance of buildings and most importantly, people, it is the responsibility of facility managers to take action towards implementing the right prevention and containment strategies in the workplace. The prevention strategies for FM services essentially include – reducing concentration of personnel and physical proximity of staff, cleaning and disinfecting most used surfaces and HVAC air circulation as well as keeping everyone informed. In fact, as country is fighting the pandemic, FM players have come forward to play a pivotal role in enhancing their operational support.
Stringent measures are being taken by facility managers to ensure the safety of people through temperature monitoring at entry points using thermal scanners, hand sanitization, provision of masks and constant monitoring of the health of members reporting to the facilities. Frequent cleaning of common touch points and repeated disinfection of common areas such as lobbies, elevators, etc. is being carried out across facilities to ensure maximized hygiene isolation wards are made readily available at many commercial facilities in case of emergencies.
“Our entire ‘Service Team’ has been on ground across locations or even remotely, keeping critical basic services running round the clock to minimize inconvenience to our clients in business parks. ESPL is supporting its clients in their Business Continuity plan by ensuring zero down time of all servers/ data centres at our parks, thus enabling the client employees to continue to work from home and for businesses to continue operations. We are keeping in regular connect with our residential community while reinforcing social distancing, regular hand washing and safe hygienic practises. The ESPL ground team supported the group CSR initiative in handing out sanitizers, masks and refreshments at Kiosks to Traffic Police in and around our Business Parks in Bengaluru. The ESPL COVID Response Team has overcome the initial challenges and continues to ensure regular compliances on critical work while monitoring the situation constantly,” said Pradeep Lala, MD & CEO, Embassy Services Pvt. Ltd. (ESPL)
Manoj Parekh, Managing Director – OCS group (India) stated, OCS India, is helping the Government of Maharashtra providing crucial essential services and operate some of the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. We are also advising companies on the dos and don’ts of reactivation post lockdown and the impact of this crisis on people, premises and equipment when operating in the ‘new normal’. With many of our client sites closed due to the pandemic, we are utilizing this time for deep cleaning, preventive maintenance and advising on equipment maintenance. We are also devising training and awareness programs to communicate and rebuild confidence to employees of customers and their visitors to operate in the new normal.”
According to Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO and Co-Founder, Facilio, property management workforces will be a critical line of defence. “As COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the globe, including property operations and management teams are putting their best foot forward – by responding swiftly to control the spread of the virus. The onus currently falls on the management team. With the help of technology and IoT based apps property management team can be agile in real time on one platform to methodically mitigate the risks of infection inside buildings and to limit potential transmission incidents. The tech platforms can help monitor the special cleaning schedules and frequent sanitization of high usage surfaces – such as door handles, restroom fittings, elevator etc. at various public places including airports, supermarkets, and hospitals are diligently and verifiably executed. Regular updates and training can also be quickly and consistently disseminated, using the interfaces and apps through a centralized platform.”
Considering that facility management organizations are dealing with essential services on-ground operations, the pandemic has been an ultimate test of the sector’s capabilities. this is an eye-opener for all of us across the globe and there is a lot to learn from this crisis. risk management will have to be taken very seriously with reference to business continuity plans. Companies will need to take a closer look at the safety and health of employees. there must be clarity in post-disaster and lockdown to ensure a safe return to work.
FM Companies Business Continuity Planning
Despite the demand for facility maintenance services, FM companies are facing a reduced level of activity at customer sites. With government shutting down the hospitality, retail and leisure establishments and mandating offices to adopt work from home, most workplaces have become dormant. This has led to suspended contracts and reduced pay-outs.
As a result of a reduction in client demand, companies will need to assess and re-deploy resource and start considering long-term preparations. The goal is to ensure continuity of service delivery and business operations, working collaboratively and sharing best practices.
Casting A Spotlight On FM
The FM industry has now become a bedrock in supporting critical roles across several sectors like healthcare, IT, aviation, retail, BFSI etc. The current crisis has turned the spotlight on cleaning operatives and reducing health risk at the workplace. As corporates have begun to understand the importance of frequent intensive cleaning, there has been a tremendous response to deep cleaning and sanitization services across the country.
Property and Facility management will witness major changes to its functioning and the realisation of its key role in client growth. efforts to cut down expenses and adopting technology to ensure business continuity would be the ‘new normal’.
As the lockdowns ease and our lives gradually return to normal, our customers and the public will want to be confident that it is safe to return to their respective offices, public venues, schools, and other places. The FM industry has a crucial role to play in building this confidence and helping the world return to normal.
The IFM industry would need to gear up and be prepared to perform their tasks covering two major objectives – Cost efficiency and Business continuity resilience. In the coming years, the company which can adapt to the new IFM world faster, bring in reliability coupled with cost efficiency, supported by technology tools as well as motivated manpower, would be the one to survive and prosper.
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