The Government has published its COVID-19 recovery strategy, a plan to ‘return life to as close to normal as possible’. Key to this strategy is the need to make sure workplaces are ‘COVID secure’. This set of circumstances has thrust the facilities management profession into the limelight, giving facilities managers the opportunity, indeed the obligation, to take the lead on returning the nation’s workforce safely back to work. Facilities managers will need to prepare buildings to be ready for reoccupation, while keeping the workforce within the parameters set by the Government’s social distancing guidelines. The COVID-19 testing programme now includes all essential workers in England and Scotland who are showing symptoms of coronavirus. Employers may, in addition to the tests required by the Government, want to consider offering colleagues an antigen test. Managers should follow the COVID-19 risk assessment which should inform them about any need for PPE or the use of face coverings. The Government says any PPE currently used for non-COVID-19 risks should continue to be used, but additional PPE is not beneficial.

This article was first published in the June 1st 2020 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.

“There are all sorts of issues to navigate in our return to work,” comments Antony Hunt, MD and founder of temporary buildings supplier Smart-Space. “Some organisations are able to implement a one-way system, others are incorporating staggered days with different working hours. Rest and dining facilities are being radically reconsidered. There is a need for fewer people gathered at any one time. Strict ruling on the maximum occupancy of rooms within your buildings will have to be observed.”

Utility monitoring specialist Optimal Monitoring is providing an empty building monitoring service, free of charge using its game-changing EMMA AI solution. This offer is being provided as a gesture of goodwill to help businesses control and reduce financial commitments so funds are not wasted on unnecessary utility consumption during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Away from COVID-19 for a moment Johnson Controls is now partnering with a well-established Spanish manufacturer of public address and voice alarm (PA/VA) systems. The partnership allows Johnson Controls to offer its customers all the fire detection products needed to protect commercial buildings. All the PA/VA products will be sold under the Johnson Controls name. As part of the partnership, Johnson Controls is releasing two new PA/VA products: the NEO and the ONE PA/VA systems.

Inevitably, more businesses are taking steps towards reopening as they begin to understand what the ‘new normal’ will look like and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic deepens. Facilities managers can help build a new generation of workplaces which can allow their staff to work safely, flexibly, collaboratively and productively, maximising the benefit to the individual and the organisation.

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