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Case Study | COVID-19 Plan for an Essential Business

How a Colliers Facility Solutions client implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 plan to ensure business continuity throughout the pandemic.

With services centered around people's finances and private information, the client's option to send its people home during the pandemic was not feasible. Their offices have remained open and in full operation throughout 2020.  This presented a unique challenge to find a solution enabling our client to support business continuity while simultaneously providing for its people's health and safety. They turned to their facility management company, Colliers Facility Solutions. Craig Kent, Director of Facilities with Colliers Facility Solutions headed up the solution to address the client's challenge.

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Craig, leaning on his tenured experience and enterprising nature, began to help the client outline a strategic plan to ensure business continuity while safeguarding employee's health. Craig dedicated hours to sorting through CDC, state and local health department, and OSHA guidelines to present the client's team with a concrete solution addressing critical focus areas. These areas included space planning, cleaning, food service, operations and procurement. 

The client's approach to COVID-era space planning was centered around guidance from health experts. Craig's focus was on creating social distancing within the client's existing workspace. In the workstation area, the management team promoted social distancing by closing off particular floors and setting up tic-tac-toe style cube farms on open floors to establish safe distances between stations. Additionally, under Craig's guidance, the client assessed end-cap workstations and closed them off for use. The facilities management team removed chairs and technology from stations that did not meet social distancing standards to discourage the use of off-limit workstations. Anticipating possible bottlenecks in workstation capacity, the client implemented eWorkx, a tech app that allows workstations to be scheduled up to seven days in advance. 

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The client's COVID-19 space planning program also included provisions for high-density areas such as conference rooms, huddle rooms and lobbies. The facilities management team assessed each of these spaces and determined that reducing density could reduce contact within those spaces. Craig and his team prominently posted the updated maximum capacity to discourage over-crowding in these areas and updated the technology within the spaces to encourage reduced density.
Another area of focus for the client and its facilities management team included its goal to reduce the risk of contact among employees. This included implementing an employee-led initiative of a clean desk policy. Additionally, the client adopted Softphone - an online phone service through computers – so employees did not have to share phone hardware. 

One benefit that the client associates enjoyed at many of its facilities included in-house food service options ranging from full cafeterias to coffee bars and snack stations. However, the pandemic presented a unique challenge for the client to find a solution to provide these services to its employees safely and risk-free. Especially as other dining options were limited due to the pandemic, providing this service was vital for the client. Craig and his team addressed the concern by creating 'micro-markets' within each facility. To facilitate touch-less food ordering, the client adopted a catering app that allows employees to order food and then pick it up in a designated area of the café.

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To reduce contact at coffee stations, the facilities management team created centralized coffee stations on each floor. Each coffee station provided individually wrapped cups and condiments and a dedicated attendant to help reduce contact from multiple people within the station. 

Perhaps one of the client's most significant accomplishments during the pandemic was its ability to mobilize the client's COVID-19 Task Force quickly. The client's COVID Task Force addresses all items related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Task Force is the organization's decision-makers regarding anything the company and facilities management team does related to COVID-19. They are responsible for dictating signage, implementing procedures, addressing and implementing protocols for confirmed and potential cases and procuring and distributing PPE including hand sanitizers, masks, gloves and other supplies to more than 12,000 associates worldwide.