In light of COVID-19, we should absolutely keep in mind that many facility management professionals are on the front lines of emergency response preparedness in the event of outbreaks. They are also charged with the actual response and often directly fill roles such as response coordinators and managers.
That being said, one of the most valuable tools that facility management leaders have available to them is highly accurate facilities data which includes spatial information of not only employees but also assets associated with the day to day operations of their organization.
Workplace Management software provides a platform for tracking all of these things and I am certain that data contained in these systems is actively being used in coordination and response planning right now. Below is a short list of ways where accurate and actionable data can assist facility managements teams in responding to unplanned events such as the current global pandemic characterized as COVID-19:
- Physical space inventory – Where is your organizations space, what type and what risk is associated with each of these spaces? This could include areas critical to operations including exam and operating rooms, classrooms, meeting rooms and other mission critical spaces that enable organizations to achieve their missions. Space also includes areas that are more highly susceptible to the spread of outbreaks such as what is happening globally. This would include critical areas where employees, staff and visitors congregate such as meeting space, break rooms, cafeterias, restrooms etc. ALL these locations are tracked and managed in industry leading workplace management software such as what is provided by FM:Systems.
- Preventive Maintenance –Maintenance solutions are well suited to managing repetitive tasks associated with cleaning and upkeep of areas where employees commonly congregate. This can also be extended to janitorial and sanitizing operations such as wiping down flat surfaces, door handles, touch panel displays etc.
- Asset Tracking – Workplace Management solutions are perfect for tracking the location of equipment and supply areas and when coupled with preventive maintenance programs can enable facility management professionals to manage tasks such as locating, inspecting and filling hand sanitizers and cleaning materials.
- Space Utilization – Organizations can track reservable space usage to quickly and easily identify who might have been in a specific area over a period of time by looking at room booking history. If an organization is using sensors, mobile booking apps or booking panels it’s possible to see if people actually showed up for a meeting and facility teams can often tell who was actually in the meeting. This is great data to track employee location and interaction.
- Air Quality – As occupants congregate, air quality can diminish. Data shows that social distancing can be an effective way of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Workplace management solutions with analytics can provide visualizations of the air quality in specific areas to determine improved floor plans or reconfigured furniture layout.
We as an industry need to recognize that our colleagues who are facility management professionals are on the front lines of dealing with the response at the facility and organizational level, and that workplace solutions are well suited to help in preparing and assisting in the event of unplanned events such as the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The organizations who are best prepared to deal with this are the ones who have highly actionable and accurate data about their facilities and employees that enable them to continually have a view into their portfolio and operations.
You can learn more on the solutions we offer to assist Facility Managers here.