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For something that we all thought would last a few weeks or months, it has now been almost two full years since we first heard about the ‘novel coronavirus’. Since then, facilities have been turned upside down and sideways, and will continue to change as we learn more about this virus and its far-reaching impacts. For facility and property managers, there are ongoing demands to implement and oversee safety measures unique to each property. Ensuring clean, healthy and safe environments while keeping an eye on the bottom line has never been more challenging.

As we continue to monitor data and follow public health guidelines, facility managers cannot ease up when it comes to keeping their clients, staff and guests safe; we aren’t anywhere near being out of the woods. The ability to adapt operational and infrastructure strategies while prioritizing your tenants’ and employees’ health is the key to your success. With ION Facility Services as your strategic Covid-19 consultation and maintenance partners, we help give you the resources and supports to move forward during these exceptional times. We’ve outlined some best practices to help lead us through the pandemic and come out stronger as a result.

Effective assessment strategies

Most businesses have been diligent in their efforts to stop the spread of Covid, but many have noted that fatigue has taken its toll. Here are essential strategies to reinvigorate your teams and best serve your tenants, clients and visitors.

– Take a fresh look at each area of your facility each month to identify high-traffic areas and frequent touchpoints, noting that traffic and movement patterns change often.

– Document how many people are in the facility at various times and for how long. Do they need to be there from an operational standpoint? Even with vaccine policies and/or passports in place, facility managers must assume that Covid-19 pathogens will be present.

– Assess your infrastructure and all areas, including lobbies, hallways, restrooms, stairwells, etc. to identify locations that could hide or transmit viruses.

– Examine air flow/HVAC systems – find out just how and where air moves to lower the risk of exposure.

– Talk to building occupants – learn their key concerns and keep communication flowing.

An adaptive plan of action

After assessing the facility, it is time to implement a customized action plan. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, as every building has unique (and ever-adapting) operations and policies. Below is a list of fundamental processes that reduce the spread of infection while keeping your facility more safe and secure:

• Control point of entry access – e.g., utilizing security personnel, card swiping, ‘one in, one out’
• Limit touch points and install/retrofit hands-free equipment
• Boost cleaning frequency, especially in high traffic areas
• Disinfect using electrostatic sanitization and other high-potency cleaning
• Improve availability of hand sanitizing and hand washing stations
• Install acrylic or polycarbonate barriers/partitions to reduce person-to-person transmission
• Arrange/adjust spaces for optimal distancing and air flow
• Ensure signs, banners, floor decals and other posted information is clearly marked, accessible and accurate
• Layer your ventilation improvements – such as open windows, strategically place fans, increase air filtration, maintain exhaust fans, add portable HEPA fan/filter systems, add UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) to enhance air cleaning, and adjust HVAC systems to increase airflow to occupied areas – where possible

As we collectively navigate a pandemic that we thought would end some time ago, it is important to remain vigilant, follow the science and public health guidelines, and be flexible yet strategic. Collaborating with your IONFS team means you get a complete suite of services to reduce the risk of Covid infections so you can keep business booming. We deploy experienced, knowledgeable cleaning, sanitation, HVAC, and other maintenance crews who are committed to your facility’s successful operations. Whether this is the new normal or not, we’re here to get the job done. Connect today to find out more about our suite of facility services.

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