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BACK TO WORK


BACK TO WORK: THE FUTURE OF FM


What will the offices of the near future look like? How will people adapt to socially distanced working practices? What role will FM play in a post-COVID workplace? Three workplace experts give us their view.


indicating where people can stand in high-traffic areas and regular handwashing or sanitising stations – for many it will look like a completely different workplace to the one we left in early March.


The lack of social spaces could also hit employees hard, particularly after months of isolation, so it’s important that companies still manage to keep contact alive and think of alternative and creative ways to maintain a connection. One-to-ones outside, meetings and even small social gatherings in parks could be a good and creative way to help maintain your core values and culture as a business during this difficult period.


Although these changes may look daunting and clinical in a lot of places, they will ensure that we can all get back to working collaboratively. Although many businesses have coped with working from home – many have struggled to be as creative and productive as they would be in the office. It’s therefore a huge consideration for those in charge of operations and facilities to ensure staff feel comfortable with the new measures, and that they feel safe and protected whilst at work.


Jitesh Patel O www.peldonrose.com/ CEO at Peldon Rose


ne of the biggest trends seen within offices before the pandemic was the move to creating social and collaborative spaces that promoted a more cohesive


workforce and enhanced participation. However, with social distancing in place, these areas can no longer be used for their intended purpose and individual working areas may once again take precedence as people value their personal space more than ever.


This presents a new challenge for those in charge of office layouts alongside facilities managers and maintenance teams who are working around the clock to find new and creative solutions that will not only satisfy employees but also follow government guidelines.


Due to the varying nature of workplaces across the country, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why it’s vital there is a full planning process in place and time is carved out to make these changes in your physical back to work plan. From protective screens at desks, to markers


34 | TOMORROW’S FM


It’s not just about COVID-19 though. As well as navigating the well-publicised government guidelines, it’s vital that those with operational oversight also ensure regular maintenance is carried out – especially as many locations have laid dormant for over three months.


Water system flushing, air ventilation checks and ensuring all lifts are in full working order are at the top of the list to make sure that staff are as safe as possible when it comes to returning to the office. The fact many properties will have had no one step foot in them, means that there has been prime opportunity for bacteria such as Legionella to grow in the pipework. This is such a concern that Public Health England recently warned of the importance of all commercial spaces carrying out necessary checks before people are allowed back.


If your business does have a regular maintenance provider, a lot of these tasks should have been carried out before you physically re-enter the space, but it’s always worth double checking directly with them.


Many people have been hailing the success of this global work from home experiment as a revolution of sorts, where the office will become obsolete. However, the office serves a greater purpose than just a physical place to


twitter.com/TomorrowsFM


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