Meet the Silver Sponsor FMME Awards 2020: Farnek
With Farnek as the most recent silver sponsor at the FM Awards, Markus Oberlin, CEO, reveals the opportunities in the current market
What does the FM Awards mean to you and your business?
The FMME awards are very important not only to Farnek, but for every professional FM organisation in the region. First of all it helps to raise the industry bar across all areas of FM, encouraging companies to go that extra mile, recognising extraordinary achievements and celebrating excellence in the presence of our industry colleagues.
They also provide an authentic benchmark against which companies can measure their own performance, by identifying and sharing best practice, so that we can not only learn from each other, but we can inspire each other. Due to the format of the awards, there is an opportunity to congratulate individual FM professionals who have made an outstanding contribution to the FM industry.
Finally, on a personal note, I remember the very first FMME awards in 2010, which we attended but unfortunately we were not shortlisted for any award. Fast-forward ten years and having participated in each of the subsequent annual awards, winning numerous accolades, including Overall FM company of the year in 2015. It is rather fitting that this year we have been shortlisted in ten categories.
On the backdrop of the COVID-19 scenario, how is the FM market in terms of challenges and opportunities?
Much has been made of the current challenges and as we ease out of the current restrictions, I’d like to focus on the potential opportunities that lie ahead. As an industry we will need a collaborative approach. We will need 100% compliance with government regulation, which in itself will lead to buildings being used in a completely different way. First of all they will require a more advanced cleaning regime, stricter access controls and lower occupancies, to ensure distancing.
In terms of cleaning and sanitisation, that means greater frequency, particularly in public areas, which will increase the workload and of course revenues of soft FM providers. MEP such as A/C and ventilation systems will also need to be adjusted and air ducts cleaned and disinfected more often. However, service providers will also suffer – some companies are unlikely to survive this crisis and landlords, through the loss of service fees, will be unable to employ regular cleaning and maintenance.
There will also be a period of economic adjustment in the market and I think that there will be further consolidation, with innovation, sustainability and technology continuing to drive the market.
What is your firm doing differently now to cope with the current situation?
When the COVID-19 guidelines were introduced, we immediately initiated comprehensive training sessions for all employees to advise them of how the virus was transmitted and why the new regulations had been brought in. For us it was vital, that our staff fully understood the importance of wearing masks and gloves and social distancing, whether relaxing in their rooms, using our transport to and from work, or when working onsite for our customers.
Naturally, we also started a new and upgraded sanitisation protocol for all of our accommodation centres, our vehicles and our offices. Staff also went through in-depth theoretical and practical training at our dedicated training centre, before they were allowed to serve or supervise our customers and or their staff members. This included personal hygiene such as regularly washing their hands in warm soapy water and a procedure for changing their uniforms and bedding. As a further precaution, we also took the temperature of anybody entering any of our buildings.
One initiative that I am particularly proud of, was that during the first week of April, Farnek was the first FM company to install a sanitisation gateway which disinfects all staff, upon leaving and returning to their accommodation centres. The disinfectant system works via a Fog Gate, or disinfection tunnel, which sprays staff with a highly efficient, non-toxic, pH-neutral and durable disinfectant. The mist is completely harmless and dries in seconds, after employees pass through. It not only protects our staff, it protects our customers and the general public.