Keeping the offices of Raven Housing Trust going during lockdown is challenging. Vishal Pandya takes us through a week involving fire risk assessments, a leaking air-con, and the need to keep offices open so that repairs operatives have somewhere safe to use the toilet
As the facilities manager, I oversee all of Raven Housing Trust’s office locations across Surrey and Sussex, making sure that everything is as it should be in each building and that it meets the needs of our colleagues.
Throughout lockdown I have been one of the few people who has remained working on site, supporting colleagues and making sure they have everything they need to do their jobs, while still ensuring the building is safe and secure.
Today I attended a working environment meeting in which we discussed any concerns or ideas for enhancing everyone’s working-from-home experience.
There are usually a number of actions for me to work on or set in motion ahead of the next meeting, but before I got to work on those I ran a check through the main office and logged any issues with the facilities helpdesk.
This morning I received a call informing me that the air-conditioning unit in our office was leaking. After I called for an engineer to come out and repair it, I briefed the contractors who arrived to work on the renovation they are carrying out on the building’s second floor.
To comply with social distancing measures, our risk assessment confirmed that at one time we’re able to permit 11 people into the building and to monitor this, anyone visiting the office has to book a time slot using an online platform.
It was time for our annual fire risk assessment today, and I walked around the building with our fire risk assessor and took action on any potential issues spotted during the inspection.
I’ve been working on a number of projects looking at how we can change many of our current processes so that we can reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading among our colleagues if and when everyone is allowed back in the building. This includes providing everyone at Raven with their own travel coffee cup.
I started my day collecting and delivering all the new coronavirus signage to our offices.
At one of the offices, I ran into one of our contractors and had a catch-up. When everything was closed during lockdown, we kept some of our facilities open so that if any of our repairs and maintenance contractors were on a job and needed the toilet, they would be able to easily access one. It’s astounding how many situations like this we’ve had to consider and prepare for as a result of the pandemic.
I covered the caretaker’s morning shift, so my day started with opening the building. Once I completed the usual checks, I moved on to some admin I needed to deal with, which included managing key fob issues and processing stationery requests.
As no one is in the building at the moment, we’ve taken the opportunity to refresh and repaint some areas to make them look nice for when everyone returns. As I got ready to sign off for the weekend, I felt excited about when there will be a few more heads bobbing around the building.
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