Five Top Tips For Managing A Building During A Pandemic

2nd December 2020

Rachael West, Facilities and Building Manager at The Circle, wanted to share her experience of managing a building during a pandemic.

Building managers are by design problem solvers. They have to think on their feet every day, finding solutions to problems that seem like they have no answer. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and suddenly Voluntary Action Sheffield’s city centre building, The Circle, had to close, it seemed like everything was thrown up in the air. Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) was left wondering where it was going to land, and managing a facility like The Circle is not a simple experience, especially as there are many people to consider.

Entering the second lockdown, it felt that even the most robust problem solvers can start to weary under the barrage of issues we have been faced with daily. Rachael’s natural tendency was to find order in these uncertain times – hard to do during this period.

Here are Rachael’s five of her top tips as a building manager in managing a building through a pandemic.

Actions speak louder than words

It was hard to know what The Circle could do to help our customers when things were being shut down left, right and centre, and our customers appeared to be disappearing in front of our eyes. But there were things The Circle could do to show we really do care. We made sure our room hire customers could cancel an event without any cost to them if restrictions got tighter or were somehow directly affected by COVID-19. When The Circle has to close down completely, we gave all our registered office customers a free 3-month extension to their contract. 

Communication really is essential

We are all currently being bombarded with lots of information, so it can sometimes be hard to keep up. Keep abreast of the key milestones in our forever changing world and make sure all building users are kept updated with information that is likely to affect them. Don’t forget to get their input – this is invaluable in ensuring that you are on the right track.

Review your marketing & use this period to get ahead

Often marketing is something that gets neglected or taken for granted, especially when you have a good customer base. This experience has taught Rachael never to take anything as given – especially our customers.

Give your running costs a break 

Apart from a short break over Christmas, The Circle has never been closed since it opened in 2007. You know your occupancy levels and how much energy, water, and other resources that use. Things like electricity and water will have an automatic reduction in cost with fewer people in your building – but don’t forget about things like waste collections – do you really need 3 collections a week?

Don’t forget Health & Safety 

With all the new requirements to make sure premises are COVID-19 secure, it is easy to forget all the other H&S needs you spent hours each week doing before this happened. Review your schedule for H&S checks and carry them out to make sure you remain compliant – you know what you need to do, so don’t forget to do it!

For more information about The Circle please visit their website: www.thecirclesheffield.org.uk

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