There’s no denying that the pandemic changed the way people view indoor spaces. While Covid-19 cases have remained relatively flat throughout 2023, experts warn that this could change. Post-pandemic, people are more concerned about their health, and how its impacted by their environments. Research has shown that the experience an employee has in an office space has a direct impact on whether or not they’d want to return to the office, or continue to work from home.
Facility executives and managers have coped with this increased awareness for the past three years. Moving forward, facility management professionals can look to improve on safety measures, and look to reduce their bottom lines, by making small but simple changes overtime.
To learn more about how these small changes can make a major impact, Facility Executive spoke with Robert Moore, Facility Solutions Director and Category Manager and Nick O’Brien, Senior Product Manager for Facility Solutions for Veritiv, a leading Fortune 500 facility services and strategies company.
How can small facility management solutions make a big impact for small- to mid-sized organizations? On the other hand, what are small changes larger organizations can implement to improve operations and create healthier buildings?
Clean environments are a necessity no matter the size of the business. Small- and medium-sized organizations can have a large impact on their facility management solutions by investing their resources in foundational materials and processes to make every dollar count.
This can include implementing proper trainings for the cleaning staff to ensure high-touch areas are being managed correctly and disinfectant products, including dwell times, are both effective and cost-efficient. Another example is installing touchless towel dispensers in restrooms to not only protect employees’ health, but also assure patrons that the company is investing in sanitation.
To maximize resources, companies should standardize products and simplify the number of solutions. A facility advisor can help to make recommendations such as one soap dispenser throughout a facility big or small to ease the refill process. While standardization is always a best practice, larger facilities can have varying needs to consider to enable a positive patron experience. For larger facilities, a recommendation could include installing high-capacity, automatic hand sanitizer dispensers for high-traffic areas such as breakrooms and another for smaller meeting rooms to balance patrons’ access to product and overall facility aesthetic.
For larger organizations, small changes, such as streamlining and organizing, can make the most impact in facility management solutions. For example, color-coding janitorial products is an easy and effective way to avoid cross-contamination, along with straightforward signage. For example, a simple code for all trash can liners is clear to represent recycled content and black to represent trash. In food processing industries and food service buildings, Sparta Color-Coded Program, distributed by Veritiv, offers up to six colors to keep allergens away from other foods and cleaning brushes in their dedicated areas. By standardizing operating procedures and access to training through Facility Solutions advisors, the facilities team will be set up for long term success while being cost-effective.
What are some major hurdles facility managers are facing today? In your experience, how have facility management professionals addressed these issues so far?
One of the major challenges facility managers are facing is navigating hybrid environments such as schools, government organizations, and business offices. The hybrid environment has created new obstacles for managers trying to balance supply levels and employee attendance. Facility managers have to work to estimate the right safety supplies on-hand without storing too much.
Managers can lean on Facility Solutions advisors to help make informed decisions and navigate these new challenges. Experienced and credentialed facility advisors are able to predict needs and make orders simple by leveraging industry statistics and proprietary tracking processes.
With a potential recession looming and inflation rates rising, companies are looking to cut costs and boost their bottom lines across their organizations. Do you think facility management solutions processes are sometimes overlooked as an area to invest in and boost efficiency?
Facility management solutions are often overlooked because companies view cleaning as a cost instead of a value driver. While facility management changes can seem small and not connected to the overall well-being of an organization, they can significantly impact the bottom line. For example, in school environments, systematic cleaning can ultimately reduce the overall cost of the custodial or facility management program by nearly 50%, according to the Clean Schools Initiative study. Facility management solutions can also help to cut down on teacher absences, which cost the U.S. around $25 billion each year, according to ISSA’s Clean Standard: K-12.
Effective facility solution management also goes well beyond cutting costs and bottom lines. When you come across an empty hand sanitizer container, how does it make you feel? Showing employees and patrons that you care by keeping facilities stocked with accessible soap and cleaning products combined with properly trained staff can produce real results and meet goals to motivate and retain a dedicated workforce. By applying standardized principles to effectively manage a facility, facility advisors can eliminate waste and increase efficiency.