All work environments—whether owned or leased offices, warehouses, labs, retail stores or manufacturing facilities—will require careful consideration and tailored plans. Organization are making critical facilities management decisions every day, with more to follow in the near future.
Equally imperative are the decisions that an organization makes in the coming weeks to answer questions like, “Who can be in my facility?,” “How do I respond to a suspected contamination?,” “How will I keep my buildings operational and protected while most of my workforce is home?,” “What is our facility showing our community about our company and our values?.”
CBRE manages a large number of facilities and started tackling these questions in partnership with its clients in India. With majority of the employees being asked to work from home in all the corporate houses, it has not only impacted operation significantly, but also imparted value lessons that will lay the foundation for future development. Forethought is critical as important activities must be approached in fundamentally new ways. Some of these key areas include:
- Manage entries
The best way to keep the facility safe is to keep people with the virus at home. There are several ways to approach this, including temperature screening and that could become permanent installations. There are also low-cost options, like increasing lobby signage reminding people to stay home if ill, restricting visitors, and setting up self-check temperature stations. Self discipline, declaration and PPE.
- Clean often
Increased cleaning has a direct, infection-control benefit and should be implemented as a preventative move. A full daily disinfection may not be necessary, but increased cleaning will help lower the exposure for everyone. Clean more often and be visible with these services, especially in common areas. As the world opens back up for business, we should expect a lot more cleaning.
- Treat your suppliers well
Facilities suppliers are becoming critical to business continuity – especially cleaners. A number of our clients have instructed us to work with suppliers to be sure they retain staff and maintain capacity even while client sites are closed or are in partial use. These clients understand that their supplier partners operate on thin margins and that their employees operate on even thinner margins with no safety net. We believe these clients are going to be very well served for these actions.
- Take advantage of the down time to prepare for re-opening
Every facility has deferred projects and tasks that were waiting for a weekend when the building sits empty. Planned correctly, now is your chance for these projects, to complete delayed projects, replacements, and repairs.
- Review and update BCP plans
It is very likely in the current environment that there will be someone who is infected by the virus sooner than later. The actions and preparation needed in this case needs to be agreed within and with all stakeholders.
To conclude, the facility readiness process is extensive, and no detail is too small to consider. Occupiers and property owners can convey their safety efforts to occupants through the aforementioned steps to change the physical environment that support physical distancing and other safety practices.