The virus is spreading geographically with magnitude impact on people and businesses. Some public affairs analysts and economists have already predicted slow economic growth because of the ongoing stabbing of key sectors of the global economy. Global trade, tourism and stock markets have had shared of the infection. World airline market has been projected to record $30 billion losses. In the consumer goods industry, a brand in the United States has suffered loss of $170 million in two months because consumers are linking the brand with the virus.
To contain the spread of the virus, the World Health Organisation says world needs $675 million for the development of preparedness plans and a global response strategy. From Lagos to Ogun states and Cross Rivers to Ekiti states, there are have been a number of preparations by the state governments in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Despite the preparations, reports indicate that governments, health workers and built environment businesses need to increase their efforts towards the effective containment of the virus. This piece offers insights that could be leveraged by facilities management service providers and professionals for the protection of people and facilities. This is essential considering the primary role of integrating people and technologies towards operational efficiency.
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Demand-Side and Supply-Side Strategies
Before the confirmation of the first case in Lagos, Nigerians had the course for seeking information regarding the virus, most importantly specific symptoms. Apart from this, social and public affairs analysts had also explained the efficacy of the Federal government’s level of preparedness and response strategy with the mixed positions. The mixed feelings were largely premised on the poor health facilities across the country and a small number of health professionals who could respond when cases are detected, our analyst observes.
In line with the mixed reactions on the preparations and high expectation on protection at workplace and public places, it is clear that facilities management companies and professionals have a huge task to accomplish in places being managed, particularly in the development of appropriate strategies and management practices for maintenance of critical facilities such as air conditioners, hard working tools and common rooms.
Exhibit 1: Flash Playbook for FM Companies and Governments
As stated earlier, FM companies and their employees have the main task of ensuring performance of building and its facilities to the level that helps users meeting the required needs. Air conditioners are part of critical facilities being used by employees everyday. Whether indoor or outdoor air conditioning system, facilities managers need to keep the air in the system from drying out because study has indicated that low humidity levels increases the transmission and severity of the flu virus.
Delivering Supply-Side Strategies
As Lagos awaits the results of the confirmed case and those quarantined, FM companies need to leverage existing national and global information resources which include relevant facilities management standards, control and prevention measures, and the National Centre for Disease Control measures regarding isolation and transmission prevention in healthcare facilities for appropriate message development and the right communication channels selection for purposeful information dissemination to the facilities managers and clients’ workforce. This is necessary because of the need of decimating unverified information sharing about the disease.
Since it has been established that human-to-human transmission occurs when contact is made with the environment, FM companies must be more proactive in protecting their employees and others. The use of protective facemasks is a must. With this approach, FM companies and employees will compliment the goal of a patient-centric and healing environment for everyone expected at this critical period.
Though, the world is yet to find a cure for the virus, FM companies and professionals could leverage the results of a new study in addition to the insights offered in this article for possible protection of people and facilities from being victims of the virus. According to the study, “human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05–0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective.”