Even during the darkest moments of the pandemic, many have speculated how the return to office would look -- if it happened at all.
Government authorities and businesses will probably impose stricter hygiene standards to ensure worker safety. You, as a Facilities Manager, will have to prepare.
Sure, there are plenty of tools out there to help you in this endeavor: HR software, AI-based schedule optimizers, IoT, and so forth. What about a more human approach that can be just as effective and doesn’t break budget?
How can asking workers for feedback in real-time help you, the Facilities Manager, ensure a successful return to office?
Keep workers safe and paranoia-free
Let’s pretend you took a day off to renew your driver’s license. You’re sitting in the waiting room, and all of a sudden nature calls -- you have to use the restroom.
A sense of trepidation invades you. Your COVID-induced paranoia makes you cringe at the thought of using the same restroom that thousands use every single day.
Do you dare touch the door to the stall? Do you touch the flush button, risking COVID in the process, or do you choose to avoid the button and handle the embarrassment of an unflushed cubicle instead?
And like any public restroom, washing your hands feels more like playing 50/50 odds: Will there, or will there not be soap?
Lucky for you, you feel the rush of relief as soap does come down from the dispenser. You may not be so lucky next time.
It’s not too much of a stretch to assume people using your facilities will have similar worries. Workers will be debating whether or not to flush the toilet and playing Soap Roulette from Monday to Friday.
Being in a constant state of paranoia over restroom cleanliness isn’t good for them, for you, or for the office as a whole.
Real-time feedback, as the name implies, is all about capturing a person’s experience as they’re living it -- not after having time to reflect on their experience. Capturing it lets you know that a restroom is fine -- or that it needs your attention right this instant.
Know when and where cleaning is needed -- and keep providers on their toes
Here’s an example:
In each restroom location, place an emoji feedback terminal at the entry/exit point of the restroom. The terminal asks the question “How clean was the restroom?” Workers then express their sentiment by choosing the emoji that best reflects their views. This data is then aggregated and presented to you in a single online dashboard.
You now have a birds-eye view of which restrooms need your attention across your entire facility. When there’s negative feedback coming in from a single place in a narrow window of time, you know you need to get down there ASAP.
Armed with this data, you can keep cleaning providers on their toes. If cleaning is done in-company, this feedback data can be a part of a worker’s performance review. If they’re an external cleaning services provider, the feedback data gives you an overall snapshot of how they’ve been performing -- invaluable when it comes to contract renewal.
Encourage social distancing and cover all your blind spots
You can’t help but feel satisfied with your work. With careful planning and preparation, you’ve created a comfortable and COVID-safe working experience for all.
Everybody sits at least 2 meters away from each other.
The restrooms and common surfaces are continuously sanitized.
You’ve even studied what parts of the facility need to be reworked in order to avoid crowding. For example, since there’s only one hallway leading to and from the lunch hall, you’ve proposed that lunchtime be broken into two turns so as to avoid the typical lunch crowd.
But are there other such bottlenecks in your building that you may not be aware of? Other than spending time and resources inspecting every nook and cranny, how can you ensure all your blind spots are covered?
Real-time feedback can also help you here.
If you suspect that a specific location may be a bottleneck, you can place a smiley feedback pod and ask the question “How well can you socially distance at this location?” As workers leave their responses, you’ll start to understand whether your assumptions were right or wrong, and take preventive action.
Real-time feedback can help you uncover locations you never suspected were bottlenecks.
Instead of guessing, why not just ask people using the facilities? You could, for example, send a 1-question survey to workers’ emails or through SMS asking them to identify what areas they think are difficult to maintain social distancing.
You can ask them for open-text feedback where they write their answers directly, for example “Please describe in what areas of the office is it difficult to socially distance.” The result is the same; you get specific problem areas to tackle based on users’ own experiences, across your entire facility network.
Avoid Conflict: Keep feedback anonymous
An effective way of maintaining social distance and healthy hygiene is by holding each other accountable. This is easier said than done. People are likely to avoid reporting co-workers for not wearing a mask or not socially distancing if the complaint can be traced back to them.
With OMBEA real-time feedback, you can remove this social conflict by making feedback anonymous. You can again use smiley terminals to ask workers the question “How well do you feel people are following COVID measures?”
This gives you a general snapshot of how workers feel about the rules, without revealing an individual’s identity.
To uncover specific incidents, you can always use quick surveys to allow people to give you a specific text-based explanation of what happened while still maintaining anonymity.
Real-time feedback can make your life as a post-COVID Facilities Manager much easier. Not only does it help keep your cleaning providers on their toes, it also helps you keep a safe and socially distanced office environment.
With real-time feedback, workers in your facility will feel that their concerns for cleanliness and safety are being heard. Most importantly, someone’s doing something about it.
How will you integrate real-time feedback into your facilities management?