Companies across all industries have found the past 12 months challenging. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption and business facilities have been forced to close to comply with strict social distancing rules.

The end is now in sight. A roadmap has been released and COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted entirely by 21 June. 

Returning to the workplace will not be a simple process. Facilities managers must devise a strong back-to-work strategy to protect employees and minimise the impact on productivity and profits. Here are the top back to work challenges that facilities manager will face:

Complying with government regulations

You must comply with government safety regulations if your facility can operate during the pandemic. Managers have a duty to protect their employees against the risk of infection. 

Maintaining a hygienic work environment has never been so crucial and the pandemic has highlighted the need for cleanliness in the workplace. Facilities managers must implement a strict cleaning policy that involves disinfecting workspaces and shared areas regularly. 

The easiest way to maintain a hygienic and COVID-secure environment is by hiring an external professional cleaning company. Many specialist cleaning companies are offering deep cleaning services and emergency COVID-19 decontamination

Maintaining social distancing 

Facilities managers must maintain a two-metre distance in the workplace until social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Social distancing can be enforced in the workplace by keeping work stations two metres apart, staggering employee shifts and breaks, and creating one-way systems in the workplace. 

Allowing staff to continue working from home will help to control the volume of employees in the workplace. Take a look at this article by Benenden Health for useful tips on how to support remote workers now, and post lockdown.

Supporting long COVID employees

People respond differently to COVID-19. Some people develop serious complications while others have no symptoms after contracting the virus. For most people, the symptoms of COVID-19 pass quickly, but a few people will develop what is known as long COVID. This is when the symptoms of the virus continue for several weeks or months. Long COVID could become the biggest back-to-work challenge for businesses, according to personneltoday.com

People with long COVID will experience difficulties when they return to work and facility managers must support employees affected by ongoing symptoms. Staff must be encouraged to take regular breaks and managers should offer flexible or part-time hours to minimise the risk of overexertion. 

Employees will feel anxious about returning to the workplace after several weeks or months at home, especially those with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms. Facility managers should be sympathetic to this and ease anxiety by creating a safe and supportive work environment. 

Managing shared spaces

Managing shared space is one of the biggest challenges that facilities managers will face during the coming months. 

Facility managers must continue to comply with social distancing regulations and control building volume. Work stations must be kept clean and employee belongings should be stored away safely. 

Installing smart lockers will improve safety and efficiency in work buildings during and after the pandemic. Smart lockers can minimise the risk of infection by automating locker systems and allowing safe remote access. 

Experts at eLocker describe how their innovative locker systems can automate “94% of your locker management workflow.” Installing a smart locker system is an excellent way for facility managers to improve safety, increase efficiency, and boost revenue during COVID-19 and after. 

Summary 

COVID-19 is the biggest crisis faced by modern businesses. The pandemic has caused unparalleled disruption and managers have been forced to rethink and adapt their operations. Fortunately, the end is now in sight and many companies are planning their return to work. 

Facilities managers will face several challenges over the next few months and they must take steps to ensure that their buildings and processes are safe and efficient. The above suggestions will help facility managers plan a successful back-to-work strategy.

Click here to learn more about how our smart locker systems could improve warehouse efficiency and profitability.

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