Although many commercial buildings are closed or at low vacancy rates amid the coronavirus pandemic, facility and property managers are still assuring all systems are running smoothly. Rather than slowing down their work, many managers are busier than ever making sure the buildings are properly cleaned and disinfected and ready for occupancy.  They also are using this time to set up preventative maintenance protocols.

Once the buildings became empty, managers found custodians could clean offices faster than normal, and sometimes in the day instead of at night so they could practice staggered schedules to comply with social distancing. With the time they saved, custodians redirected their efforts to disinfect high-priority common areas in instances when visitors were still entering the building.

Maintenance staff also switched their focus, from answering repair requests from tenants to tackling preventative maintenance projects. If there is one advantage of the pandemic from a facility manager’s perspective, it’s that empty buildings offer enhanced opportunities for preventive maintenance. For instance, in buildings where 85 percent of the lights are turned off, maintenance staff can work on finding new lighting solutions to make the building more energy efficient.

The pandemic also offers an opportunity for building managers to ensure that an emergency response plan is updated and ready to be enacted. Some managers have put together checklists to identify issues from security to daily digital technology that can be affected by extended building closures.