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The Pandemic, Resilience, and Lessons from Healthcare
The pandemic keeps changing the rules in institutional and commercial facilities, where maintenance and engineering managers and their teams are trying to figure out how, how fast, or even whether to allow workers back into offices. The Delta variant put the brakes on reopening in the summer of 2021, and the Omicron variant is threatening to do the same this year.
Among the issues managers are wrestling with is how reopened facilities should be different than they were pre-pandemic in order to protect occupant health and safety.
One way to approach the question of facility upgrades and renovations is to look at the pandemic’s impact on healthcare facilities, which have made countless changes on the fly over the last two years to keep patients safe and healthy. Consider the impact of these trends in healthcare facilities:
Telehealth. Healthcare facilities managers had to quickly implement, upgrade, and streamline technology that enables patients and providers communicate remotely. The embrace of technology holds lessons for all facilities.
Facility flow. From entryways to lobbies to exam rooms, healthcare facilities quickly minimized touchpoints and bottlenecks to keep occupants socially distanced and safe. The willingness to rethink even the most basic components of facilities are critical.
Comfort. Hospitals have taken a cue from hospitality facilities, where occupant comfort is paramount, by incorporating touches of home related to colors, textures, and lighting into hospitals and medical office buildings. Moving quickly beyond the nuts and bolts of facilities might create unexpected opportunities.
What do all these trends demand from managers? Flexibility, and maybe that’s the biggest takeaway from the experiences in healthcare facilities. Whether the issue is restroom fixtures and HVAC systems or staffing and finances, managers who demonstrate resilience when events demand change are likely to find the smoothest path to success for their departments and facilities.