Why support for facilities managers is essential as buildings reopen

One of the side effects of the pandemic, working from home and the workplace revolution is that we all have a greater appreciation of the impact of buildings on our mental health and wellbeing. But what about the mental health of those charged with managing buildings as they reopen?

Many businesses may look to adopt a hybrid work model post-pandemic, but the reality is that most buildings are on track to be fully reopened in June when the Covid restrictions end. Many of these spaces have been dormant or below occupancy for more than a year and compliance might have fallen by the wayside.

Ensuring buildings are safe to reopen is not just about cleaning and hygiene. It’s about ensuring that all aspects are compliant, and that duty falls to estate managers. That level of accountability is a big burden and will undoubtably be the cause of much stress for those individuals.

An anxious return?

It’s quite clear that the onus is on employers to help building occupants feel supported in their mental health, and estate managers have a big role to play.

There will be plenty of people that are excited to get back to the office, but there will be just as many that are anxious about the return.

Business leaders too will be anxious. They want to ensure the safety of their employees, clients, and customers. They also have a financial risk to consider. If a building fails compliance, that might lead to a fine or the space being shut down. That could be highly disruptive to the business.

Estate managers must manage these risks and communicate with leadership and building users how and when they have been mitigated. It’s a big weight to carry and we businesses must ensure that their estate managers have the support they need – not just through the tools they need to do their jobs, but on the wellbeing side too.

Supporting estate managers

Estate teams should already be working in close consultation with other senior leaders. Since the pandemic struck and the role of the building was amplified, many estate managers have found themselves to have an elevated voice in the business. Now is the time to capitalise and ensure that this remains the case long after the pandemic.

Estate managers should share how and why they are managing various tasks, from compliance to lighting, and water safety to energy management. For their part, business leaders must do all they can to support them in achieving their goals.

This could include the creation of an up-to-date asset list; an audit of building condition; compliance inspections and assessments; prioritising projects; and the delivery itself.

This can be a hugely demanding workload for a team, let alone a one-man band. In many cases it can be beneficial to partner with an expert consultant to help manage one of more areas of estate management. Business leaders can support their teams by being open to this option.

This is not just a ‘nice to do’. This is essential in supporting the mental health of estate managers, and in turn the business.

We offer a range of estate management services that will support your business and its employees. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your estate management.

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