In collaboration with industry experts, we have put together the following guidance on profession-specific and more generic actions and measures that workplace and facilities management professionals should consider during and after the coronavirus pandemic. This guidance does not provide detailed technical information, but rather takes a principled approach - with signposting to other authoritative guidance - and aims to support individuals with varying levels of responsibility and experience in order to help them plan ahead.
We will continue to update this page with the latest advice and best practice guidelines as circumstances change. The most up to date UK Government guidance on coronavirus can be found here.
In December 2021 we carried out our latest research on workers’ attitudes to returning to the workplace. The key findings, full results and comments from our CEO, Linda Hausmanis, can be found here.
Since the start of the pandemic, workplace and facilities managers have had to suddenly mothball buildings, maintain and prepare them for reoccupation, and help to create hybrid working environments governed by social distancing imperatives as organisations adjusted to a new set of operating norms.
This kind of workplace management programme requires professional leadership and presented a unique opportunity for FMs to take a leading role in creating and managing a new generation of workplaces - to ‘build back better’. In doing so, the profession was able to demonstrate the added value it offers, not just in bringing the space, culture and technology aspects of workplace together, but also in enabling people and businesses to work safely, flexibly, collaboratively and productively; providing maximum benefit to the individual, the organisation and wider society.
This section provides advice and guidance for when buildings are in full or partial use, covering fire safety, security, cyber security, hygiene and cleaning, utilities, business continuity and other practices which will help to ensure safety at work for employees, contractors and other building users.
Staff wellbeing covers all workplaces - it does not stop at the office door. Therefore, as part of your workplace strategy, you should consider the ongoing physical and mental support needs of both those returning to the workplace and those working remotely. Adjusted wellbeing plans will help people to adapt to new ways of working and new workplace concepts as these continue to evolve.
As businesses looked to once again reopen their doors following the easing of lockdown measures, our research from March 2021 found that the vast majority of employees will expect a level of ‘hybrid’ working in the future - with nearly half (44%) of the workforce planning to work from the office for 3 days or fewer a week. The findings also revealed that 63% of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary - a rise of a fifth since the first lockdown (51%).
The poll, which surveyed 2,000 office workers across the country, showed that demand for hybrid working was particularly prevalent in the younger demographic. Two-thirds (66%) of 18-24-year-olds admitted that not being offered flexible work patterns would cause them to look for a new job. Yet worryingly, more than a third (38%) of this demographic felt their employer is pressuring them to return to the office - risking losing new talent.
We called on employers to ensure that hybrid working is accessible for all; providing adequate choice and support for employees to perform their role from multiple locations, in order to avoid losing younger workers to competitors.
Chris Moriarty, then Director of Insight at the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management commented: ‘More than a year on, we continue to see employers striving to strike the right balance between remote and office working. The benefits of the office have not been forgotten, yet we continue to become accustomed and comfortable with our home working routines.
‘The truth is home versus office working should not be viewed as a binary choice between focus and connection. A true commitment to ‘hybrid working’ will give employees and employers flexibility to work in a way that is best suited to them - allowing them to reap the productivity and social benefits of both home and office working environments, how and when it best suits their needs. Employers should now make every effort to provide staff with genuine choice to perform their role wherever they feel their performance would be best supported - adapting the office space, incentives and policies to reflect the changing nature of the workspace environment.’
More than three-quarters (79%) of 18-24-year-olds believed that they will be equally as productive or more productive working from home. This demographic was also working the most unpaid overtime from home - on average 11.6 extra hours a week - and has invested on average nearly £300 in creating a suitable working environment at home (£292).
Chris continued: ‘The COVID-19 crisis has left a permanent mark on our view of the workplace - and a knee-jerk return to the pre-pandemic status quo risks serious implications for businesses in attracting and nurturing talent. The responsibility now falls on organisations to think about their employee experience beyond the boundaries of their corporate workspace. Effective employers will already be thinking of how to support employees and provide a suitable working environment for them, wherever and however they choose to work.’
Please find below the main findings from our research.
We have a range of guidance notes and good practice guides available for members; the following have particular relevance to the coronavirus pandemic (downloadable and free of charge for IWFM members).