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Leesman & RICS-IFMA launch joint Covid-19 response group

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) collaboration is to throw its weight behind an emergency initiative by workplace assessment specialist Leesman, building a global pan-industry response group to the threat posed to the real estate and facilities management industries by Covid-19.

New research from global data suggests that facilities and real estate management leadership teams will be under unprecedented pressure to report on the organisational impact of the mass mobilisation of home-working strategies. The threefold joint initiative aims to arm the industry with the information and insights it will need when social distancing policies are relaxed.

Part one of the initiative sees the global deployment of a research tool that employers in both private and public sectors can use now to fully understand the experience that their newly home-based employees are having. This front-line intelligence will enable organisations to better support employees promptly and provide critical feedback to inform business continuity plans as they develop.

Part two of the initiative will allow organisations participating in the research to learn from one another’s data. The CREFM Covid-19 Response Group will convene as data amasses to exchange lessons and will put Leesman’s academics and data analysts at the forefront of a combined data-driven response.

Part three of the drive will then kick in when social distancing policies are relaxed and employees are allowed back into the corporate settings. Leesman will play back the results of the empirical data collection to understand, at a depth and diversity never before possible, the impact that prolonged home-working has on traditionally office-based employees.

Tim Oldman, CEO, Leesman, commented: “We are amid a larger test of remote working than any of us thought necessary or possible. But if no one marks the test, we leave ourselves wide open to misinterpretation.

“The immediate impact on employees and employers is unknown, while uncertainty about how long this will last is adding to employees’ anxieties. We urgently need to know how home-working is working, which tasks are suffering, and which might improve.

“We believe this international crisis needs a unified international analysis that lets us learn from one another’s experiences as they unfold and together be ready for the questions that will come thick and fast when normality returns.”

Paul Bagust, Global Property Standards Director, RICS said: “This much-needed mass response to what has been described as the biggest global crisis since World War Two is the profession’s opportunity to demonstrate the resilience and agility it has long preached as vital for its survival. Our Asian colleagues are weeks ahead of us in their response and we need to capture and distribute their experiences rapidly. Now that the stakes are the highest we could have ever imagined, it is time to unite and lay out the plan for action.”

Linda Hausmanis, CEO, IWFM, said: “These are unprecedented times and every aspect of our lives has been affected significantly, including work. As organisations adjust, it is crucial that we learn lessons that help us be more effective today and make us more resilient in the future so we can learn collectively from this experience. Workplace and facilities managers are being tested in ways unimaginable only weeks ago. We look forward to seeing the outputs of Leesman’s work and supporting the effort to develop best practice from it.”

Numerous organisations have already committed to participate and begun exploring how the global move to home-working will demand a rapid overhaul to both leadership best practice and vendor supply models. Early adopters will discuss their results in weekly virtual town hall meetings, with a view to arming the industry with the guidance and tools as the situation develops.

Leesman and RICS-IFMA are encouraging anyone who possesses expertise in corporate infrastructure or experience in delivering agile environments outside the physical walls of an office to join this global taskforce to help develop a resilient home-working model that safeguards the industry’s future.

To find out more click here.

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