As the very first recruit to join Envirotech FM, Regional Facilities Manager Simon Spensley is best placed to reflect upon the impact that the COVID 19 pandemic has had on the industry and the challenges that organisations face ahead of the return to the workplace.
“When I joined Envirotech FM in 2018 it really was a new business, as demonstrated by the fact that my laptop serial number is EFM 00001! After more than 15 years in senior FM roles at companies including JLL, CBRE and Eric Wright FM, it was of course something of a risk to join a brand new company, however when I first met Managing Director Pinder Hujan, I instantly bought into his experience and expertise. I was already aware of his excellent reputation within the industry and I had zero doubts that he would make Envirotech FM into a real success story and it’s no exaggeration to say that I have loved every minute ever since.
“As a proud northerner, when joining the business I was keen to help develop a portfolio in the area and I now have responsibility for properties ranging from office space to business parks and shopping centres in Liverpool, Wakefield, Doncaster and Durham amongst others. This past year has certainly been an interesting period and we went from expecting one type of challenge regarding the mobilisation of new sites across the north to be faced with something completely unexpected and different, but it has been one that we have successfully adapted to.
“All of a sudden our priorities related to establishing new ways of working and ensuring that properties were made COVID safe, while maintaining compliance at all times. It was very much a learning process that we adapted to hour-by-hour, never mind from one week to the next. However, with different members of the team tasked with gathering the latest findings and sharing these through regular and frequent meetings calls, this ensured that we were all kept fully informed regarding the latest recommended approaches to service delivery.
“Actions that we immediately took included adapting the way that people entered and exited buildings safely and engaging with our supply chain to share expertise on specialist deep-cleaning methods that can be adopted in response to a virus situation. In addition, we implemented risk assessments on all sites to ensure a checklist of key elements were recorded as safe and secure, such as water systems remaining clean and chlorinated.
“The measures that we put in place not only not only ensured that the buildings remained safe and complied with the latest best practice thinking in terms of delivering a response, but also provided peace of mind for the tenants. Even now, as we approach coming up to 12 months since the first national lockdown was implemented, we still host three calls a week to ensure that everyone remains fully engaged in delivering the best possible response.
“At the time of talking we are now preparing buildings for the return of staff, which we need to implement as safely and effectively as possible. None of the properties that I look after were mothballed during any of the lockdowns, with them all being checked on a weekly basis to ensure they remain compliant, safe and secure and, as a result, this will ensure that we can get these up and running again in as little time as possible in the most cost-effective way.
“For example, we have explained to landlords that simply closing a building and turning the water off for the past nine months would not have been the right move in terms of both ensuring building compliance, as well as from a financial perspective. If we had done this, then when it comes to reopening for business the extent of works needed simply to allow staff to re-enter the workplace would’ve been prohibitive with the best approach being to maintain regular weekly checks for leaks and pests, in addition to circulating the water, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
“It is this expertise and know-how that, when combined with our passion, allows us to deploy the safest, fastest and most appropriate solutions for our clients.”