How To Ensure Your Commercial Property Is Safe To Work In During The Coronavirus Crisis
As Coronavirus sweeps the globe, employers and brands are swiftly taking steps to protect employees, customers and visitors; taking steps now to prepare can help you safeguard the people who work, live and play in your commercial buildings.
Consider Allowing Employees to Work from Home
Some employees may be able to do their jobs effectively from home. We live in a time of incredible technology and support, so virtual meetings, collaboration tools and other initiatives can allow some workers to leave the office entirely. This helps these workers avoid contracting or spreading the illness and cuts down on the number of people who can spread or catch it at work, too.
While your employees who pick inventory, who serve customers in person or do other work that requires them to be in your building may have to come in, others can work effectively from home. Salespeople who work with B2B clients can usually switch to home work with little difficulty, as can project managers and other managerial staff. Using this option can help you run a cleaner, more effective business and help halt the spread of coronavirus. Your building management team will be able to do a more intensive cleaning job when there are fewer people to clean up after, too.
Reschedule Large Meetings or Events
The CDC in the US recommends cancelling and rescheduling events of over 100 people to help prevent the spread of the illness. Check ahead for the next month and reschedule any coming events that could be impacted by this health crisis.
Conduct a Thorough Cleaning
Your facilities management company already has you covered, if you have one. Regular cleaning means that you’ll have less work to do to get everything germ-free. Use disinfectant to clean countertops, doorknobs, handles, desktops and more — even places you don’t normally clean very often. This will help halt the spread of germs through your facility. You can also use a solution of bleach and water, as outlined by the CDC, to wipe down surfaces and kill germs.
If you have tablecloths or other linens in use, they should be laundered and then dried on high heat to kill germs. Don’t shake them out inside your facility, even if they have crumbs or dust, this could spread germs and increase the likelihood of infection.
Increase your cleaning schedule to include additional sweeps of the office public and common areas. Keeping these places clean and disinfected will not only help cut the spread of any illness, including Covid-19, it will also help inspire confidence in your team. They’ll feel better in a tidy, germ-free space and will be more likely to take steps to clean up after themselves, too.
Create a Workplace Policy
Create or revisit a workplace sick policy that advises anyone with cough, fever or cold symptoms to stay home and avoid coming into work. This policy is currently recommended by the WHO and can help halt the spread of germs in your workplace.
You should also remind everyone on site to wash their hands regularly and to use the recommended health and safety practices currently in effect for coronavirus. Provide hand sanitizer, make sure your bathrooms are fully stocked with soap and paper towels and post reminders in the break room, kitchen and bathrooms to help remind workers of the need to be consistent with hand washing.
Revisit your Emergency Planning
If you don’t already have one, make an emergency plan for similar outbreaks and contingencies so you can respond quickly. If you had a plan in place before the spread of Covid 19 became so prevalent, revisit that plan now and see what you can do to respond more swiftly or efficiently. If you did not have a plan at all, now is the time to work on one. Emergency planning is an important part of facility management and will help you respond swiftly when you need to.
Covid 19 is not the first epidemic (just over a decade ago, another crisis was caused by the related SARs virus) and it won’t be the last, so creating an actionable plan that you can jump to at the first sign of trouble will allow you to respond more swiftly in the future. Work on this while the experience is still fresh and you’ll be better prepared for other emergencies in the future.
If you are already using an integrated facility management plan or working with a facilities management company, the work you’ll need to do to prevent the spread of coronavirus is minimal. Your team will already have your facility clean and in good order and can easily apply the extra steps and precautions needed. Taking the steps above can help you make the most of the process and help you keep your facilities and teams safe.