As the world’s grappling through the pandemic and the contagion continues to wreak havoc, many offices continue to remain shut or operate partially with not much indication of return to normalcy. With a better understanding of the contagion today, organisations are slowly moving towards reopening their offices, while adhering to the strict government regulations on safety and hygiene, and, that is where Facilities Management plays a crucial role.
The need is for a holistic solution that can address all the workplace requirements while keeping the costs under check. This is where specialised Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) service providers step in. Qualcomm is implementing learnings from other countries ahead of the curve by means of best practices, technology, and innovative solutions at competitive prices to meet the current and future workplace challenges on solutions like disinfections, workplace design adjustments, and dining options for employee working onsite or remotely, etc.
With countries recording high infections daily, both the government and organisations are working on identifying a balance between the revival of economic and business continuity, while ensuring the health and safety of the workforce. Some essential services like manufacturing, healthcare which continued to operate through pandemic are now working to ramp up operations too. These initial executors have set some good examples for others in terms of sanitation, workplace design adjustments and introduced contactless solutions to mitigate risks associated with the spread of the virus. Since the return to normalcy is not predictable, many service-sector organisations are still pursuing a remote work option or split team arrangement. Companies will increasingly imbibe design-driven, behavioural and technological best practices to establish a healthy, sustainable, and human-centric workplace through wellness certifications such as WELL, LEED and Fitwel.
Qualcomm is equipped with resources at a global, regional and country level. Building on proven experience, working with their stakeholders across the world in this phase of the crisis, their teams have the expertise and agility to support internal clients to progressively return to normalcy, working together to provide a safe environment.
The company’s renewed processes include following:
• Site restart process (site restart manual with training material)
• Specialist cleaning and maintenance
• Redesign of people flow, space management, operating procedures to respect social distancing and maximised contactless service
• Adapting food services and cafeteria design for grab & go, click & collect, that prioritize social distancing
• Welcome back to work packages
• Human temperature monitoring
• Digital solution as an enabler for all the above services
Qualcomm is also working to leverage the latest research, data, and insights to set a strong and medically guided foundation for their protocols. The goal is to minimise risk and enhance safety for all of their stakeholders.
‘Touch’ is a primary factor that allows pandemic to spread and the most important consideration would be to make all touchpoints contactless. Digital entry with thermal screening will facilitate this. Sensor-based washrooms implemented, where the alarm triggers intimate cleaning, replenishing handwash, etc. Sensors faucets, thermal drying, automatic towel dispenser, etc., will help reduce human contact. Cafeteria with digital ordering, boxed meals and virtual card payments will help to minimise contact.
Clean and hygienic workplace is another major area that has gained attention. While frequent cleaning in general remains in demand, the pandemic has focused attention on the importance of fresh air flow in the work areas. The focus will be on improving the air quality of HVAC systems through disinfection.
A great deal of thought must go in towards infrastructural overhauling of the workplace considering facial recognition thermal cameras at the entry point and across the workplace to detect abnormal temperatures in facilities dealing with a large number of people, layout of work areas, washrooms, cafeteria, on-site kitchen, and other support services to support social distancing. Sneeze guards must be installed between desks to protect occupants from respiratory droplets.
As the industry progressively emerges from confinement, employees will expect to feel safe within the workplace, and will need to feel confident that the food they are eating is safe. The value of the FM team’s expertise is more critical now than ever before in rebuilding that trust. By ensuring the highest standards and procedures, they can make a meaningful contribution of restoring that circle of trust.
Some of these concerns include:
• Perception of workplace safety
• Disinfection of facility
• Airflow & air-conditioning
• Addressing work-from-home challenges on infrastructure, technology, mental health and wellbeing.