Social distancing signage put in place by Facility Managers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Planning for reoccupying post-COVID-19: The Facility Manager’s role

Canada and the world at large are in the midst of dealing with the unimaginable complexity of the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, with conditions and risks that seem to be constantly changing. Combined with the barrage of information coming at us from the media, and from everywhere else it seems, managing risk has resulted in massive closures of buildings and facilities that are deemed non-essential, as well as hold-in-place scenarios where the building might be occupied (like a high-rise condo).

Despite the lack of stability in the market, businesses and building owners are looking to their facility managers for guidance and direction now. It’s not surprising that FMs operational and maintenance functions, both hard and soft services for buildings, are considered essential – facilities management impacts all areas of business practice and structure.

Facility Managers are charged with providing safe, healthy spaces that we all use to work, live and play, so businesses and building owners are reminded that the Facilities Management function and our process-driven tools are absolutely vital to an organization’s health and viability.

That brings us to the situation we are in today. For weeks now, Black & McDonald’s Facility Managers across Canada have been working relentlessly for our clients, on the front lines, where they need to respond to COVID-19 by quickly prioritizing, then executing plans to address what is happening today. At the same time, Black & McDonald protects assets to ensure they are ready to be reoccupied once normalcy returns. It’s kind of like trying to fix the airplane while it’s flying, but everyone knows it will eventually land. This is the reality of what we’re faced with.

Businesses and owners need to work with their facility people to anticipate and plan for re-occupancy and the new landscape in a way that manages these conditions, minimizes risk, and gives people comfort that the spaces are safe when they re-enter buildings.