This post has been updated.
One of the most exciting opportunities in the facilities management industry right now is watching the innovative ways people are reconsidering how we use space. Whether it’s evaluating how much space we actually need (what does remote work mean for renting out the conference room?) or how we navigate the area (would those parking spaces better serve as outdoor seating?), there is a lot of conversation about how to navigate our reopened world.
If you manage a community space, whether public or private, indoor or outdoor, here are some of the factors to take into consideration for creating a space that meets the needs of your community in 2022 and beyond.
The most important thing to keep in mind as you are opening back up is the safety and health of your staff and customers. Resuming group gatherings after the pandemic still brings up a lot of strong feelings for different people, and it is important to make everyone feel understood and safe.
Continue to prioritize cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces in your facilities as often as you can. It is likely this practice is already happening at your facility, so plan to keep it up! People will feel more comfortable using your spaces when they know what you’re doing to protect them.
Keep personal safety measures available in your spaces as well. Mask mandates and vaccine mandates still vary by location. Make it clear that people still have the option to wear a mask in your business if it will make them feel better. You will never be able to please everyone, but hopefully, most people will be happy to have options to be in public as much or as little as they want.
One of the biggest lessons learned during the pandemic is that many employees work perfectly fine outside of an office. If you manage a facility that serves as a workspace, you may have a new opportunity to market your space to individuals or companies that only need space part-time. Consider how you can connect with local businesses to offer new packages, such as renting your conference room for a half-day meeting and your recreation space for team-building.
Even though some businesses are considering ditching the office space model, it’s also clear that people crave community interaction. Positioning your facilities as a place where coworkers can work and play not only helps your business but also fulfills your role as an important community resource.
Going into the community and gathering again may take some time to get used to, but it is crucial to start now to undo the negative impact of COVID-19. According to the National Parks and Recreation Association, 90% of surveyed parks and rec professionals believe COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on youth sports. This is just one demographic negatively impacted by the lack of access to community space, but just one year without the benefits of play and community could have long-term effects on children.
Facilities operators have a chance to make a major impact on the community as people become more comfortable meeting in person. Connect with local groups, such as youth sports and youth clubs, to determine what they need in order to easily book spaces for play. Even on a smaller scale, showing the community how easy it is to book your spaces will foster more opportunities for the community to reconnect after an isolating year.
You have the potential to positively impact your community as spaces and parks reopen. Opening up your space for rentals boosts your community engagement while also boosting your revenue.
Learn how Spotz can help.