Planning for a safe return to work
11 November 2020
With Government guidance surrounding lockdown restrictions being reviewed and updated regularly, Atalian Servest's teams have been focusing on helping its clients get back to business in this new COVID-19 landscape. As Andrew Sellars explains, this involves not only identifying and actioning the changes that need to be made across both soft and hard services, but also planning to meet the longer-term challenges of this ever-evolving situation.
AS A global facilities management company offering fully integrated systems, it's important to help our clients navigate these changes, exceeding industry standards in safeguarding properties, assets and most importantly, people.
Managing and facilitating change is what we as a business have always done. While the pandemic has certainly presented new challenges, this is essentially business as usual for us. Our approach, rooted in a meticulous attention to detail, adherence to agile project management principles and a clear communication and escalation strategy, remains unchanged.
As with anything in business, the foundations of success are based around having a robust plan. We have shared a more in-depth summary of how we help our clients stabilise, adapt and thrive during these times; enabling clients to initially mobilise, and then manage and mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the long term.
Putting people first
People are the most important asset for any company. Which, is why all our clients want to know we are looking after the safety and well-being of our colleagues, their employees and any visitors or contractors who are working with them during the pandemic, particularly the front line workforce who are visiting premises on a daily basis.
We conduct full risk assessments of all the working environments we operate in. All our colleagues are given clear guidance regarding on site protocols and standard precautions for infection control which must be adhered to. And, because this situation continues to change, updates are sent out to keep all Atalian Servest personnel informed of the latest COVID-19 guidance, with colleagues encouraged to speak to their line manager immediately if they feel they are unable to adequately protect themselves within any working environment.
As part of our business continuity planning process, we continue to work closely with those clients who operate in environments that present a higher risk of infection transmission, such as residential care homes, to determine those tasks and services which are essential. This ensures we can continue to provide the service they have come to expect from us, while minimising risk for both our colleagues and any vulnerable groups.
New ways of working
The pandemic may have changed the way many of us work forever, with remote working likely to play a more important role in how many organisations operate in the future. From advice on how to manage and transfer data securely, to using technology to host meetings, manage projects and share resources, we can help our clients support their employees working from home.
When reoccupying sites, new guidelines need to be carefully considered-from how to maintain social distancing rules within workspaces to managing occupancy levels and people flow. We are able to guide our clients and help them implement the necessary changes, from using signage to remind people of restrictions and introducing changes to how people move around a premises, to installing software that can instantly trace and contact anyone who has been on a site within a two week window.
Supporting our clients, and meeting their unique requirements is a crucial element of our service offering. In reflection of our ongoing relationship with HMRC Estates, a spokesperson commented: "Atalian Servest has provided HMRC Estates with impressive ongoing support and delivery to the HMRC Newcastle Estate, Edinburgh and Belfast Regional Centres. They have built on the foundation set out at the beginning of the contract delivery and its subsequent extension to support the wider supplier group during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have created a one team ethos.
"Atalian Servest has used an agile approach to project management. This, supported by their proactive supply chain partners, has enabled them to continue to support our ongoing mobilisation and extension of services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowledge sharing, coupled with their transparent systems, real time reporting and innovative measures, has ensured the ongoing stability and confidence in our customers as we facilitate a return to business as usual, or as near as we can under COVID-19 conditions."
Security screening solutions
Our Security division is working in partnership with world leading technology solution provider Hikvision, to offer a range of solutions to help keep the workplace safe, including thermal imaging devices.
The safety of colleagues and visitors is undoubtedly a priority as more people return to the workplace. Using the latest technology in fever screening, we can help in the early detection of possible COVID-19 cases for peace of mind.
By conducting preliminary fever screening at the entrance and/or critical areas of sites, we enable our clients to make real-time decisions on allowing any individual into their buildings to mitigate any further risks.
To meet the challenge of limiting the number of people inside public places such as supermarkets, leisure facilities and tourist attractions, we have been providing our clients with density monitors. These provide live updates on the number of people in a premise at any one time, and how many can still enter. They are easily connected to an existing network for a fast and hassle-free deployment. In addition to this, we also provide mask detection monitors for internal areas where it’s mandatory to wear a face covering. The monitors detect any incidents of non-compliance in real-time and, deliver friendly audio reminders.
Engineering and compliance services
During the pandemic the landscape of engineering and compliance services has shifted dramatically. Atalian Servest has played a critical role in supporting its clients, including HMRC Estates, in applying best industry practice throughout the period of nationwide restrictions. This has included maintaining building compliance and, implementing crucial technical solutions to support the phased re-occupation of properties in a controlled and assured manner.
Understanding the technical infrastructure of each unique building is key to the service we provide to our clients and, has continued to be a focus during the mobilisation of contracts after lockdown.
Mike Floyd, technical services managing director, observed: "Throughout the period of March 2020 to July 2020 we have supported HMRC Estates, in applying the latest engineering strategies endorsed by SFG, BESA and CIBSE to ensure the critical engineering infrastructure was there, meaning each system was inspected, maintained and tested to meet statutory requirements.By doing so, we ensure our clients are confident that buildings are maintained to the very highest standard.
"We have also successfully onboarded additional buildings across the central region throughout lockdown, supporting the HMRC Estates’ strategy in both reoccupation and future estate strategy. Our teams successfully implemented our Asset Management Strategy to support this mobilisation process, which is a critical enabler for understanding how buildings work and establishing the key requirements for maintenance and compliance activity."
Without doubt, one of the most important elements of planning a safe and successful return to work is ensuring buildings, vehicles and assets have been effectively cleaned. Many premises and sites are starting to reopen or are currently running at reduced occupancy, which makes it the ideal time to schedule a property disinfection. Our trained technicians, equipped with full PPE, are on hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deliver planned or rapid response hygiene services for properties and vehicles.
The most effective disinfection service utilises fogging; an air fumigation process that contains antimicrobial technology. COVID-19 has been shown to survive on surfaces for up to nine days, but all of our hygiene products have been tested against a variety of pathogens to ensure effectiveness. Our fogging services are quick, safe, effective, and done with minimal disruption-for maximum peace of mind.
Now is also an ideal opportunity to review your initial crisis response. What went well, and what would you do differently?
Frequent and sometimes unexpected changes to government guidelines and, swiftly imposed local lockdowns will continue to be a challenge that all businesses must consider when planning for the foreseeable future. As part of our fully integrated outsourced solutions, we take the time to understand our clients, to get to know their people and identify their priorities. This approach has always been key to how we operate and, has never been as important as it is now.
With template mobilisation plans for all our services and integrated solutions, and a continual review of all client business continuity plans and risk assessments, we are always on hand to help clients fully prepare for whatever might be, as John Crombie, senior QSHE manager technical services at Atalian Servest, said: "We have been working with our clients to develop bespoke COVID-19 specific business continuity plans which address their individual needs, identify essential tasks and agree response strategies in the case of local lockdown scenarios.
"There is no such thing as one size fits all, everything we do is tailored to the individual client. This kind of rigorous planning ensured that even during the national lockdown we were able to continue providing critical services to clients such as care homes, supermarkets and government sites. Clients can be assured that we will always continue to deliver solutions, no matter the circumstances."
Andrew Sellars is group head of projects and mobilisation at Atalian Servest.
For more information visit www.atalianservest.co.uk