The immediate impact of the pandemic on facilities management was significant. Buildings were suddenly empty or at reduced capacity, and the need for thorough cleaning and disinfecting increased dramatically. Facilities managers had to quickly adapt to new protocols for cleaning and sanitising surfaces, installing hand sanitiser stations, and ensuring proper ventilation to reduce the risk of airborne transmission.
A survey by IFMA (International Facility Management Association) found that 70% of facility managers have changed their cleaning and disinfection procedures due to COVID-19. The same survey found that 42% of facility managers have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in response to COVID-19.
Remote work became the norm for many employees, which meant that facilities managers had to find ways to maintain and manage buildings with minimal staffing. This required the implementation of new technologies and remote monitoring systems to manage and maintain equipment and systems from a distance. A report by CBRE found that the pandemic has accelerated the trend towards flexible and remote working, which will have implications for the design and management of office buildings.
Finally, CAFM systems can help facilities managers ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. CAFM systems can provide a centralised repository for compliance documentation, automate compliance workflows, and generate reports to demonstrate compliance.
Looking ahead, the future of facilities management will be shaped by the lessons learned during the pandemic. There will be a continued emphasis on preparedness and resilience, as facilities managers recognise the importance of being ready for unexpected events. This will involve investing in new technologies and systems that can help automate processes and improve efficiency, as well as establishing clear protocols for managing emergencies.
Another trend that is likely to continue is the adoption of remote monitoring and management technologies. Facilities managers have seen the benefits of these systems during the pandemic and are likely to continue using them to manage equipment and systems from a distance. This will not only improve efficiency but will also help reduce the risk of transmission by minimising the need for in-person interactions.
The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of sustainability in facilities management. With the growing emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change, facilities managers will need to find new ways to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, and conserve resources. This may involve implementing new technologies, such as smart building systems, or finding new ways to optimise building operations and reduce energy consumption.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on facilities management, forcing managers to adapt to new challenges and rapidly changing conditions. The lessons learned during the pandemic will shape the future of facilities management, with a continued emphasis on preparedness, resilience, and sustainability. According to a survey by the British Institute of Facilities Management, 83% of facilities managers believe that the pandemic has increased the profile of the facilities management profession and its importance to business operations. Facilities managers will need to be flexible, adaptable, and innovative in order to navigate the challenges of the post-pandemic world and will need to work closely with other stakeholders to ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants. By embracing these lessons and trends, facilities managers can create a more resilient, efficient, and sustainable built environment for years to come.
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