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Blog #29 The Impact of COVID-19 on Facilities Management: Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

How did the pandemic affect FM?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on virtually every aspect of our lives, including the way we manage facilities. Facilities management is responsible for ensuring the proper functioning and maintenance of buildings and their equipment, as well as the safety and well-being of occupants. The pandemic has forced facilities managers to adapt to new challenges and rapidly changing conditions and has taught us important lessons about preparedness and resilience. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of COVID-19 on facilities management, the lessons learned, and the future outlook.

Immediate impact

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.

Computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) systems can play a critical role in helping facilities managers navigate the impact of COVID-19 and prepare for future challenges. CAFM systems are software applications designed to assist in the management of facilities, assets, and equipment. They provide a range of features and functionality that can help facilities managers automate processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
One-way CAFM systems can support facilities managers is by providing real-time visibility into building operations and maintenance activities. CAFM systems can be integrated with sensors and other data sources to provide real-time information on building occupancy, temperature, air quality, and other factors. This information can help facilities managers make data-driven decisions about building operations, maintenance, and cleaning.
CAFM systems can also be used to automate workflows and streamline processes. For example, work orders can be automatically generated and assigned to technicians, and progress can be tracked in real-time. This can help facilities managers improve efficiency, reduce response times, and ensure that maintenance activities are completed on schedule.
In addition, CAFM systems can help facilities managers monitor and manage equipment remotely. For example, sensors can be used to monitor equipment performance and alert technicians to potential issues before they escalate. This can help reduce downtime, extend equipment life, and improve overall equipment reliability.
CAFM systems can also support sustainability initiatives by providing data on energy consumption, waste generation, and other environmental factors. This information can be used to identify opportunities for improvement and track progress towards sustainability goals.

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.

In summary, CAFM systems can play a critical role in helping facilities managers navigate the impact of COVID-19 and prepare for future challenges. By providing real-time visibility, automating workflows, monitoring equipment remotely, supporting sustainability initiatives, and ensuring compliance, CAFM systems can help facilities managers improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants.

Lessons learned

The pandemic has taught facilities managers several important lessons. One of the most significant is the importance of preparedness and resilience. Facilities managers must be prepared for unexpected events and have contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of operations. This includes having backup equipment and supplies, as well as established protocols for managing emergencies.
According to a report by FMJ (Facilities Management Journal), COVID-19 has led to a greater emphasis on the use of technology in facilities management, such as remote monitoring and sensors. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of emergency preparedness and business continuity planning for facilities management. A report by Deloitte found that only 20% of businesses had a pandemic response plan in place before COVID-19.
Another important lesson is the need for flexibility and adaptability. Facilities managers must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and find innovative solutions to new challenges. This may involve implementing new technologies or protocols, reconfiguring spaces to accommodate social distancing, or finding new ways to manage and maintain equipment remotely.
The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration. Facilities managers must work closely with other stakeholders, including building occupants, vendors, and service providers, to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. Clear communication is essential for maintaining safety and ensuring that all necessary measures are taken to reduce the risk of transmission.

Future outlook

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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