The role of the facilities manager has become increasingly important over the last three months, and workplace safety and wellbeing have become even more challenging.

Office building

Source: Shutterstock/ Vladitto

Facilities managers should ensure that the actions taken safeguard our stakeholders and in many cases go even further than government regulations and recommendations suggest.

It is important to conduct risk assessments at each managed asset to assess what is required and work in conjunction with occupiers and clients to mitigate the risks presented by Covid-19.

Some of the immediate and effective measures that could be implemented include floor markings, wall signage, Perspex screens, sanitiser stations and one-way systems.

We’ve also been using cutting-edge technology through the Colliers’ Technology Framework, such as thermal-imaging cameras to detect body temperature, with which we can control systems to monitor the density of people in an asset and remotely access control systems for buildings of all sizes.

While the events of the last few months have certainly resulted in a wholehearted change in the way that many assets operate, there has also been a considerable shift in the way that facilities managers work. They are arguably more visible than ever before, despite being remote, and they are more flexible, despite the restrictions.

Communication is crucial as facilities managers work with landlords and their clients to identify the measures that should be implemented for the safety not only of staff working in the buildings but their customers as well. It is great to have conversations over video call to solve problems together, send update emails and crucially provide reassurance at what can be stressful times.

The role of facilities management is crucial at this time, and is likely to remain prominent going forward, as this pandemic has brought about a deeper understanding of staff and customer health and wellbeing – which is exactly how it should be.

Will Hayler is head of facilities management at Colliers International