Building Management + Working From Home = Easy?

In the FM world where remote working is pretty much unheard of, Covid-19 has proven to us all that it can work, in some circumstances…

In conversations with FM professionals, it’s apparent the industry was/is one of the last to ‘clock off’. With tenants wanting to remain ‘open’ and clients/landlords demanding properties stay operational, the ever-challenging role of the Building Manager became just that bit harder.

Initiating “lockdown”

“Lockdown” was announced, and some properties had just a few hours to close all units. It sounds simple doesn’t it, “let’s just close”. Well, it hasn’t been that easy. Various professionals explained that in their careers of course they have welcomed new tenants, mobilised contracts, launched new developments and properties, but, not one has ever had to close one. Not with such a short turnaround anyway. How we will I do it? What about the team? What about the tenants? What about H&S? What about security? What could go wrong?

All these questions send my brain into overdrive. Now, let’s consider having a time restriction of say… 3 hours? No thank you!

Still, the FM industry took the challenge in its stride and is, somehow, managing buildings without being in/near the buildings… what? Sounds impossible but actually, FMs are able to effectively oversee the operation of their building/portfolio, with ease.


What’s the secret to success?

Adaptability. FMs have adapted and adapted quickly. But, how? How have FMs UK wide been able to not only stick rigidly to (quite frankly) outrageous timescales for closures, but ensure the safety and security of their customers, tenants and staff?

Speaking to contacts in the market, there are two key messages I’ve received and understand have made all the difference in reacting to Covid-19.

  1. Having an exceptional team. Operational excellence, customer experience and asset value on an upward trajectory are all facilitated by the very best talent that is invested in, engaged with the business and passionate about what they do. It just so happens that in the face of a pandemic, these characteristics in a team can make all the difference.
  2. Having collaborative and empathetic relationships with stakeholders. There is so much uncertainty surrounding what the world’s recovery phase might entail. When will it be? How will it affect our economy? Many businesses are looking to negotiate lease terms, rent and service charge rates, SLA agreements, contract length and even payment terms. Genuine partnerships have facilitated businesses coming to agreements palatable for all parties.

Sound easy? We’re not done yet…


So, what’s the plan for recovery?

In anticipation of the lights going back on (literally) in the next few weeks, how are you planning to tackle the challenges ahead? Please get in touch!

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