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Perspectives on FM in a global pandemic

Facilities Management

13/08/20 | Rebecca Drewett

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the world as we once knew it, impacting businesses of all sizes and sectors. This includes the FM industry, and in this series of articles, we ask our employees across the globe to share their experiences of the crisis, what it has meant for the industry in their area, and the role FM is playing to support people and businesses in these difficult circumstances,

In this edition, JB (Jon) Benjamin discusses the situation in Canada, and how FM is adapting in this challenging landscape.

For our existing essential services clients, such as government offices and healthcare, in spite of the current crisis, it has been largely business as usual in Canada, with limited layoffs and in some instances reduced staff. However, the number of our support calls with clients has increased to an all-time high, thanks in part to more attention being given to cleaning tasks throughout their buildings.

Although business has slowed slightly in Canada in terms of new projects, the level of business activity and company planning has continued to grow. In addition, we are receiving significantly more inquiries from both the USA and South America in recent months.

As FM managers struggle to operate and maintain business continuity with reduced staff and rotating teams, many projects slated for delivery in March and April have been put on hold. Specifically, these relate to large migrations and upgrades to FSI Cloud. Even so, plans continue to progress in terms of getting buildings ready for “the new normal”.

This “new normal” in Canada will include thermal imaging sensors being added in order to screen staff returning to their buildings, as well as visitors. The post-pandemic climate has resulted in new opportunities, as clients look at indoor mapping, BIM, IoT and real-time tracking and monitoring of people and assets, all integrated into Concept Evolution.

Furthermore, some of our clients are looking to automatically assign cleaning tasks to workers through Evolution and FSI Go, triggered by third-party integrated solutions and algorithms. This will seamlessly detect and dispatch cleaners to high-traffic areas of the building, such as a boardroom after the threshold of people through the room has been met or exceeded.

In both Canada and the USA, governments are telling businesses to get ready to reopen in a staged and measured approach. Strict adherence to public health guidelines is essential as the government tracks the falling rates of new cases, with the aim of ensuring that the reopening buildings and public spaces do not lead to a second wave. FM is playing a vital role in getting these organizations and buildings ready to reopen.

In the Americas, FSI expects to be busier than ever before implementing projects put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as with new projects. We expect more clients to implement CAFM systems for the first time for their cleaning activities, in addition to the traditional break-fix and PPM demands.

As Canada and the USA prepare for the gradual reopening of businesses and a return to “business as usual”, we agree with JB (Jon) Benjamin that FM will be critical in ensuring strict government measures are met and people are protected during this pandemic.

Whether this is supporting stricter cleaning procedures or monitoring people and assets throughout their facilities, the introduction of CAFM/IWMS systems will play a vital role in automating and streamlining these tasks as we enter a new, unique environment.