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Think Fast: Learning Lessons from the Pandemic
Maintenance and engineering managers are not trendsetters or risk-takers by nature. Their responsibilities are too crucial for them to take a flyer on anything that doesn’t have a record of success.
Building owners count on managers to operate facilities cost effectively and energy efficiently, and occupants need them to provide safe and healthy workplaces. Because of these expectations, managers rely on tried-and-true strategies and applications that have delivered benefits in other facilities.
But with the arrival of the coronavirus this spring, so much has changed. In many facilities, managers’ heads have been spinning since spring, when the coronavirus started to sweep the nation, forcing many facilities to close completely and others to limit operations and occupants.
In a different time, managers developing plans to upgrade and retrofit facilities to achieve a specific goal would have the time to carefully assess their options based on past experiences. They would be able to gather information on available product and technology options, and they would consult with their peers. They would meet with the organization’s finance, IT, and design and construction departments to narrow the options and settle on a final plan.
Those days are gone. Pressure is mounting nationwide to open facilities – especially the nation’s K-12 schools – sooner rather than later.
So managers who are responsible for rethinking, upgrading, and reopening facilities will have to learn fast and act faster. Learning on the fly is becoming standard operating procedure, and leaps of faith are more acceptable.
The results of these projects have yet to play out and many issues remain uncertain, but one thing is clear: The degree to which organizations succeed in reopening facilities while protecting the health of occupants and visitors will depend largely on the performance of managers.
With this issue, Dan Weltin joins us as editor-in-chief of the facility market overseeing Facility Maintenance Decisions, Building Operating Management and FacilitiesNet.com, in addition to our new membership program, fnPrime. Dan brings with him 17 years of experience overseeing publications in our cleaning group. Welcome, Dan!