Continuing to Evolve the Health and Safety of Your Buildings in This “Next Normal”
While there is a sense of “enough already” about hearing about COVID-19, building owners and managers need to maintain efforts to protect building occupants and continue to demonstrate your commitment to their health and safety. People may be somewhat “over” COVID protocols personally, but they want their building management to still show that you are fully in it. Here are some considerations for continuing forward in this “next normal”:
1. Communicate, Then Communicate Again
Just because you started instituting COVID-19 protocols more than a year ago, don’t assume the people in your building internalized them, even now. Do you have a building newsletter where you can continue sharing the “COVID Corner” updates? Is there a common area building occupants frequent where you could visually showcase what’s new? Do you have an FAQ available when questions arise? Chances are you have all of this information in various places among various staff. Ask your vendors and contractors if they have relevant information to share to help put your occupants at ease. Consolidate this information and display it strategically to ensure your building occupants know what you are doing.
2. Check Your Signage
You work hard to ensure the building is welcoming, so ask yourself: how gross have our COVID protocol-related signs become? Is our front door wallpapered in multiple pieces of paper of varying visual quality (aka, signage soup)? Is our signage even up to date based on our policy or the policy in our area? Clean, fresh, coordinating signage is as much a subliminal message of your brand as it is a direct and clear communication tool.
3. Ensure Contractors and Delivery People are Up to Speed
The people you hire to support operations in your building or deliver stuff to your tenants are a reflection of building management, whether it’s fair or not. These audiences need the same communications and clarity in message and signage – and that’s another area where you can assert your safety precautions to your full-time building occupants.
4. It Takes a Village
Building managers and owners cannot have eyes on every single thing 24/7. Ensure your staff, including security and contractors, are up-to-speed on current protocols, but even more importantly, ask their feedback on the protocols you are putting in place and whether or not they see any gaps. Discuss what tools they need to enforce the health and safety guidelines. Walk through scenarios when they may be confronted with an angry tenant or a belligerent delivery person. This effort will both help engender buy-in and enhance enforcement. A cohesive facility team who is respectfully and professionally “singing from the same hymn book” will reflect positively on your management as a whole.
While this topic may continue to feel both boring (“yeah, we know”) and perhaps also a bit charged (“I’m sick of hearing about COVID”), the fact remains that people observe and will pass judgement about how building management handles health situations. While you cannot control what and how people exercise their own health habits, you can continue to show how you care about the people in your building by promoting and communicating how you are keeping them safe.
Thank you to our 2021 BOMA San Diego Annual Supporting Partner, CCS Facility Services, for providing this educational content.