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POST PANDEMIC: MOVING FORWARDS


FACILITATING CHANGE


Simon Burlison, Business Manager at Moneypenny, explores the shift in office space must-haves as a result of COVID-19.


The workspace has been in a state of transition for the last few years and facilities managers have played an instrumental role in ensuring that buildings and their services continue to meet the evolving needs of office occupiers. The outbreak of coronavirus saw these needs alter drastically – practically overnight and forced FMs to respond quickly, putting in place immediate measures to minimise business interruption and manage the shift to remote working.


As lockdown measures ease and employers get ready to bring people back into the workplace, FMs must enter the next phase – finding ways to enable social distancing, keep employees safe and allay fears while allowing work in the office to resume. However, while pandemic-proofing offices focuses on short-term fixes at present, new working patterns will influence long-term design upgrades.


By proactively considering future requirements now, facilities managers can help companies achieve positive business transformation and continue to offer value from the spaces they occupy.


The rise of remote working The COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for a global work-from-home experiment and as this waged from a few weeks to a few months, it seems that remote working is here to stay. Companies including Facebook and Google have attracted media attention for extending policies to 2021, with Twitter announcing that staff are welcome to work from home indefinitely.


32 | TOMORROW’S FM


Many employers that were reluctant to offer flexibility around remote working prior to Covid-19 now know it’s possible. The realisation that employees can work effectively from home is forcing business leaders to look more closely at their property needs and requiring facilities managers to reimagine what an office should be used for. Huge floorplates dominated with traditional desking are no longer a necessity. Now, it’s about providing a safe place for employees to work productively when they do come together, while keeping communication flowing when they’re apart.


To support those that do make the shift to remote working, FMs will need to ensure that IT helpdesks have the capacity to handle the inevitable spike in communication to and from those off-site. With the expected absence of, or a reduction in, front-of-house staff, managing business enquiries remotely – be that with a telephone answering service, live chat solution or complex digital switchboard – will be essential. These services ensure that the flow of information in and out of an organisation remains uninterrupted without compromising efficiency or experience.


Maximise meetings Although day-to-day commutes to the office are set to be less of a priority, there will always be a reason for people to come together. Technology – no matter how sophisticated – will never replace face-to-face interaction and its likely that even more value will be placed on meetings when they do happen.


twitter.com/TomorrowsFM


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