The pandemic has significantly changed the way the whole world runs. Companies that didn’t imagine working remotely 18 months ago are now considering closing down physical locations completely or reducing the number of hours their employees have to be in the office. But not every job can be done in remote mode, and one of such essential jobs is maintenance. Rain or snow, pandemic or wildfires, maintenance teams has to continue performing tasks to keep the facility running. Now, after a wave of lockdowns and lifting restrictions, facility managers have to take on a new task – accomodating in-person and remote team members and contractors. Here’s a review of what else has changed for facility managers all over the world and what to consider when developing maintenance strategies in 2021 and beyond.
Lessons Learned: Why Flexibility Matters
Maintenance managers didn’t use to deal with multiple unexpected issues before 2020. Of course, a piece of equipment breaking down or a frustrated resident with a leaking dishwasher is never a pleasant surprise, but it’s still part of the job. Besides, you always had a plan and knew where to go, who to ask, and what to do. That changed when the pandemic started. Strict lockdowns and social distancing measures came out of the blue, and your only concern was how to keep workers, residents, and visitors safe and healthy. Having navigated through all the rapid changes, you know how essential flexibility is, whether it comes to updating protocols and procedures or implementing new concepts.
A remarkable example is schools and universities, where closures and resuming in-person learning switched various times depending on outbreaks and federal mandates. Maintenance departments had to focus on several tasks at the same time: instilling a proactive cleaning regime, maintaining an adequate supply of sanitizers, soap, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), frequent inspections of high-contact areas, etc. Besides, it was vital to make sure that the building systems, such as heating and ventilation, were in viable condition, in other words, repaired or upgraded as required.
Embracing the New to Define Maintenance Strategies
The pandemic has also put new solutions on the radar of facility managers. For instance, each maintenance manager had filter replacement in their preventive maintenance schedule, but now it’s more important than ever to ensure that advanced filtration is implemented to filter the air. Besides, things like plexiglass barriers, shoe disinfectant mats, and ionizers that kill bacteria are the most recently added items on the maintenance assets list.
We have to get used to the reality of restaurants open for take-out and delivery only, mandatory masks, and immunization proofs. Brand new challenges will keep arising in our everyday lives and in professional settings, like hybrid work, for instance. The same is true for facility and maintenance managers: you’ll have to stay resilient and reimagine the next steps in developing emergency preparedness and disaster recovery plans and define what “the new normal” means for your company’s preventive and corrective maintenance.
Next Steps: Choosing the Right Tools to Stay Ahead of the Game
Powerful software tools can help you achieve the new facility maintenance goals. Effective and user-friendly Maintenance Care CMMS can give you the flexibility and safety your maintenance techs, visitors, and contractors deserve. One of the most recent features developed for Maintenance Care users is PPE tracking. With this feature, you’ll always know which supplies are in stock and what needs to be reordered soon. What's more, listening to our customers and their suggestions, we decided to develop OneAccess – visitor management software allowing you to do fast health screenings upon entry, send invitations to visitors and contractors so that they can prefill their information and speed up the check-in process. Unlimited users, unlimited entry logs, unlimited possibilities. Feel free to reach out to our customer care team today to learn more about how OneAccess can streamline visitor management in your facility.