The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to adjust to a new operating reality, and it has driven them to make many tough decisions. Unfortunately, no field or industry has been untouched, including the key role of building maintenance and engineering.

As we move forward with plans for what facilities will look like in a post-COVID-19 world, businesses understandably need to balance maintaining a safe and healthy workplace with potentially tightening budgets and, in some cases, lower workloads for their existing engineering and maintenance staff.

To help your organization use this time to your advantage and be ready for what lies ahead, here are three key ways to find that balance, maintain your high standards and use your resources to their full potential without cutting your engineering staff.

1. Tackle Unique Projects

Typically loud, invasive or costly projects are difficult to schedule around the needs of building occupants. Often they are even harder to budget. Find that silver lining and take advantage of lower building occupancy and less potential for tenant disruption to perform otherwise complex projects that may have been pushed down the road. These can include lobby renovations, elevator retrofits, lighting retrofits, or mechanical upgrades. 

An added advantage is that, due to fluctuations in commercial and residential construction in various regions of the country, your team can also benefit from lower equipment, material and supplies costs, which can streamline your budget while ticking key projects off of your to-do list.

2. Rebalance Preventative Maintenance vs. Reactive Maintenance

During normal operations, your team is often just keeping up with demand. Use this time to not only catch up on key projects, but also to perform a comprehensive building evaluation and to get a preventative maintenance plan in place. Upon completion of the evaluation, your team will: 

  • Have a better understanding of the health of your building
  • Flag things that tenants may not have noticed or reported
  • Identify potential future maintenance pain points that may cause a headache later

Similarly, this time can give managers the time to evaluate their teams’ workload and identify how best to reallocate the time and skill of their staff. You may find some tasks are more efficient to outsource to professional engineering contractors, while others are best left to your team. Combined, both contractor and in-house staff with a reallocated workload can bring new perspectives to your operations.

3. Cross-Train and Continuous Development

Unfortunately, employee personal development and cross-training often falls to the bottom of the priority list when a lot of service calls and building issues arise. At the same time, this period of time may be unsettling for your engineering staff, especially if they are used to high workloads and a constant challenge.

Instead of keeping your staff idle, use this time to identify training and development opportunities, giving them each an opportunity to grow and learn new skills. Not only will this give something back to your staff and demonstrate investment in their careers, it is likely that these learning opportunities and cross-trainings can benefit your team later when the work tempo is running at full capacity again.

Take the Next Step

The team at Able Services understands that this is a unique and difficult time to operate in, especially with a lot of seemingly conflicting demands. Fortunately, our team has the experience to help guide you through some of these challenging decisions, not only helping you through this short-term challenge, but also enabling significant cost savings in the future by prolonging the life of your assets and reducing potential downtime. 

Whether we can optimize your current operational methods or organize and prioritize your workloads, Able Services is a trusted outsourced engineering partner to handle all of your preventive maintenance management activities. To learn more about how we can help your organization and get your team ready for the crunch when the workforce returns back to the office, contact us.

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