Right size, Right fit
Attitudes towards the use of office space and wider facilities has seen exponential change over the past 18 months. Safe and effective use of space is of the highest importance.
IoT (Internet of Things) has been teetering near the edge of facilities management for a while, mainly tracking and monitoring operations. Now, smart devices are coming into their own to help manage and improve facilities management to be safe, secure and ready for change.
There are several technologies being widely implemented because of the pandemic, both to ease remote working and to streamline office use. Many are designed to ensure the safety of those unable to work remotely and to help people return to their workplace safely.
Alistair Craig, Managing Director at Anabas, said in his end of 2020 roundup, “During the pandemic we’ve developed more agile ways of working and we’re using new technology at many of our client sites, such as desk-booking and visitor management systems, to make workplace roles easier and safer.
Building management systems connected to IoT and smart technology enables us to not just collect data about the workplace and workforce but also make that data actionable. It allows us to better understand how existing space is used and to effectively manage social distancing and office layout to meet post-COVID standards.
Occupancy sensors are becoming commonplace; they allow sites to carefully monitor use and ensure that safe capacity is not exceeded. Sensors might be used to monitor site use, footfall in shared areas, or workstation use.
Sensors on particularly high-risk shared areas such as toilet doors can measure footfall and alert cleaning staff when the area should be sanitised, and consumables replaced. Data-led cleaning can then be backed up by periodic swab testing.
Desk-booking systems have allowed cleaning staff to track space use and ensure that every surface has been disinfected appropriately. Some of the systems on offer have integrated software to track cleaning so that no surface is missed.
Systems like these have balanced working during restricted periods such as partial lockdowns but will also be vital in helping employees and other building users to return to the workplace in a safe and stress-free manner. Such an approach is not only cost-saving, but it also minimises risk and ensures that high risk areas are cleaned appropriately without the need for constant checking from cleaning staff.
This adds an extra layer of professionalism to front-of-house services, enhances the visitor experience, and simplifies visitor management. When a guest is registered to visit your workplace, a personalised branded e-invitation is sent to them that includes a QR code and as much information as necessary – this is particularly helpful to communicate directions or Covid-secure measures. The QR code is scanned on arrival and a pass is generated. Being contactless, it is Covid secure and reduces risk of virus transmission. Further, you can maintain an up-to-date record of every single person in the building, enhancing the level of security.
There is a huge number of new systems available for every niche demand. It can be hard for facilities managers to know what tech is worth investing in. Some sites will require specific technologies to suit their unique needs. Where this is the case, it is worth working closely with relevant teams to implement the most effective option.
COVID-19 will force companies to take steps to adopt technology advancements and modernise the workplace culture. If the workplace is to be fit for purpose for the post- COVID-19 workers and to remain relevant in the long term, employers must embrace the new and necessary technological capabilities to meet the growing expectations of those who interact with the environment as both workers and customers/visitors. We may well be faced with another pandemic in the foreseeable future so investing in technology now will be wise.
To keep pace with this change, our role as facilities managers will increasingly focus on the use of technology to enhance working environments and the customer experience. A new outlook on the office space means that as FMs, we must be forward-thinking and implement activities that will embrace the new normal. Our view is that by creating a truly integrated technology platform to support our FM services, we can take our customer journey experience to a whole new level of perfection.
Contact us today to discuss our flexible, technology driven and agile approach to FM.