Facilities Teams: The People Side of Bringing People Back

May 18, 2021

For a frictionless flow of information between employees and Facilities managers, promote visibility and workplace culture.
Mike Lindstrum, Vice President Consulting Services at Mainstay

If the pandemic disrupted any workplace team more than others, it may be our Facilities staffs and managers. Handed the task of coordinating new safety protocols with the ever-changing policies of state health orgs and local management, Facilities shouldered a heavy burden—with widespread success.

As the blended workplace continues to evolve into a manageable model for companies across the country, Facilities groups are evolving in step. How will they rise to meet the unique needs of the people side of their workforce?

What kind of awareness campaigns can they raise to alert employees of changes?

Undoubtedly, new technologies have played a central role in ensuring employee health and safety—think remote calling and room monitoring AI. But the question remains of how Facilities can manage face-to-face change in the hybrid office.

Prioritizing Safety in the Office—And Being Open to Change

What pressure points will be critical to identify for Facilities groups who adopt a people-first approach?

First, teams will need to embrace the evolving face of the post-pandemic workplace. As the CDC and WHO weekly revise safety guidelines and managers adapt to meet them, Facilities should prioritize tasks that affect people first.

Speaking of prioritization, Shawn Rollin, head of technology and global solutions engineering at Zoom, recently shared his advice. “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority,” he said in the 2021 Enterprise Connect Virtual meeting, “If you try to waterfall deliver all of your projects and implementations at once, there’s a greater chance of failure.” For Facilities managers, beginning a smart campaign to seriously reeducate staff, will go a long way to restart work with people first.

 How Can Facilities Set Up Smarter Workplace Operations?

Keeping up strong partnerships with other functional groups in the office and at home is proving to be crucial for hybrid workforces. In many ways, facilities lie at the heart of our companies—and their partnership with other teams is vital.

To encourage a frictionless flow of information between other office groups and Facilities managers, the latter should stress visibility and open workplace culture. The question might be: what systems can Facilities put in place to make workplace changes first in the minds of our colleagues?

Supplying a steady stream of safety signage across the office (and digitally) will encourage workers to stay attentive to changing health guidelines. Post clear updates on mask mandates. Reinforce the importance of a strict cleaning schedule. Make logging completed tasks straightforward for staff—and incentivize logging in kind.

The goal is to ease the transition to a blended workplace for all employees—and for Facilities staff especially.

Take a Leadership Role

Though it’s a challenge to balance social distancing protocols with the task of uplifting employees, Facilities can, in fact, play a leading role. And they can relay changes to remote workers without missing a step.

From their central position in the office, safety and sanitization staff are best suited to lead several operations. A few may be: monitoring if floor plans are code, providing feedback to management on mask usage, and assessing where high-traffic areas need special attention.

In closing, it’s not only IT and HR managers who are reimagining changes to the workforce. Fostering a company culture of attentiveness and safety was the concern of Facilities groups long before 2020, and they can continue to lead the way.

If your Facilities team is interested in more solutions to change and communicate to the people-side of your organization, we can help. At Mainstay, our Prosci-certified change management professionals are uniquely qualified to help reintegrate to a post-pandemic workplace. We can identify a change management solution to fit your company’s new initiatives and policies—we might even find a solution to an issue you didn’t know you had! To learn more, contact us at sales@mainstaycompany.com

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