As 2021 draws to a close, Lee Fox, Director of Global Business Development and Key Accounts for Kleen-Tex, discusses the impact the pandemic has had on the facilities management industry, whilst looking ahead to the trends and opportunities 2022 presents.
Whilst the manufacturing and construction sectors, were hit hard by materials and distribution shortages throughout 2021, the repercussions of the pandemic remained the main driver of change for the facilities management sector, with 95% of organisations stating they have been impacted by the pandemic, according to latest research by Rubbermaid.
As businesses began to reopen their doors at the beginning of the year and employees continued to return to their workplaces, the last 12 months has presented facilities management teams with a complex range of factors that they will have to continue to adequately manage throughout 2022. Out of the businesses surveyed, 85% felt the continued increase in footfall will be a challenge.
Whilst achieving due diligence and adopting a best practice approach to cleanliness and hygiene was at the centre of these challenges, Facility Managers also faced increased levels of expectations, from both visitors and employees, to provide the highest possible standards of protection.
In response to this, facilities management teams not only re-evaluated their existing cleaning routines, but invested in higher quality products, whilst undertaking new approaches to hygiene and cleanliness.
Laying the groundwork
Within Rubbermaid’s research, 93% of respondents said visibility of cleaning is key, including measures such as the installation of hand sanitisation stations and the implementation of one-way traffic flow with separate entrances and exits.
With regard to successfully managing footfall around a building and ensuring the adoption of social distancing measures throughout communal spaces, such as reception areas and lift lobbies, many businesses utilised their floor space as an opportunity to communicate key messages.
Traditionally, these types of messages have been installed on walls and doors in the form of signage, which may often be over-populated and therefore overlooked. In response to this, Kleen-Tex has seen a significant uplift in demand for bespoke floor matting over the last 12 months that communicates key messages, including identifying sanitisation stations, highlighting entrances and exits and encouraging individuals to ensure social distancing measures are sustained.
This alternative approach to communication also supports Facilities Managers in achieving greater levels of cleanliness and hygiene, as the installation of floor matting throughout key areas of a building proactively minimises the transfer of dust, dirt and moisture around the building.
Achieving increased efficiencies
Unsurprisingly, the research also identified that budgets are under increasing strain, with 45% of those surveyed stating procuring durable solutions will be more important in the future, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
As facilities management teams manage multiple factors to mitigate the spread of viruses and bacteria throughout their building, they are having to purchase additional products and services to achieve this. Achieving a successful specification by purchasing the right products to provide effective long-term use was here a key factor, to support professionals in achieving the most effective and proficient approach to hygiene and cleanliness.
This has led professionals to source higher quality products that provide extended longevity and durability, to ensure a best practice approach is consistently maintained.
From a floor matting perspective, we have seen professionals transition from PVC products to high performance nylon ranges that offer exceptional dirt and moisture capture. Alternative approaches to floor matting also continue to be adopted, with Facilities Managers increasingly installing a dedicated combination of different systems throughout key areas of a building to successfully mitigate the transfer of dust and moisture throughout the building.
This not only enables professionals to successfully optimise the cleanliness of their premises by reducing cleaning requirements, but simultaneously protects the flooring as increased levels of footfall returns.
Adopting a sustainable stance
Sustainability also continues to be at the forefront of industry developments, with the Rubbermaid research identifying that 74% of organisations were concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their sustainability credentials.
Whilst 2021 saw a rise in single use PPE such as face masks and gloves, professionals are increasingly looking to fulfil their environmental responsibilities by procuring products and services that support their company’s sustainability agenda.
This includes products such as our new Super Mat range, which features 100% Econyl fibres, which is a regenerated nylon textile composed of man-made ocean and landfill waste, including abandoned fish nets. This supports Facilities Managers in adopting a more sustainable approach to cleanliness, without compromising on quality or resilience.
As Facilities Managers continue to navigate the complexities and additional challenges presented by the pandemic, achieving increased efficiency, performance and sustainability will continue to be key drivers throughout 2022. By working in partnership with manufacturers to identify the unique requirements of their facility, professionals can successfully fulfil these requirements, whilst ensuring their premises are consistently safe.
For further information about Kleen-Tex’s extensive range of high quality external and internal floor matting, please visit www.kleen-tex.co.uk or call 01204 705070.
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