Risk Management Vs. Risk Aversion in FM

During times of upheaval or unrest or, say, a global pandemic, business leaders tend to err on the side of caution. Some companies have enacted hiring freezes until the fallout from COVID-19 subsides, while others have put all strategic or budgetary decisions on ice for the foreseeable future.

Although we’re not in the clear yet, studies show that things are starting to thaw and businesses are planning their next moves as lockdowns lift, people return to work and stores reopen their doors. This is an encouraging trend, but we’ve also seen what can happen when businesses open prematurely: A new wave of coronavirus cases has caused many retail, restaurant and entertainment establishments to shut down for a second time.

This leaves lots of retailers caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing risk. Staying open can put employees and customers at risk of infection, but closing up shop—even temporarily—can put your bottom line in serious jeopardy.

Here are a few suggestions for organizations wondering, “what’s a safe path forward?”

Retail and Corporate Locations Require Consideration

Regardless of what niche your business occupies or what products it sells, it’s important to recognize the differences between your retail environment and your corporate offices. Many retailers remain hyper-focused on the updates they must make to their stores and have gone above and beyond to protect customers with additions such as plexiglass shields, floor markers to encourage social distancing and accompanying signage. 

But employees at the executive level have a different set of challenges that they’ll need to adapt to, as well, and their needs should also be addressed in your go-forward plan. Consider investing in additional janitorial services to ensure office environments are routinely disinfected. It’s also important to assess your HVAC system before employees return to work, and adjust or install air filters to help prevent the spread of infection via airborne contaminants. In the long term, it might make sense to redesign your office and/or rethink how your employees can work and interact with one another in a safe manner. 

Invest in Your Strategy Today, Boost Your Bottom Line Tomorrow

It’s no secret that plenty of brands are suffering financially right now. Where some have seen a major uptick in online shopping, which has helped to keep them afloat during these past several months, others are shutting their doors with no plans to reopen.

Making any kind of investment, whether it’s a new technology, vendor or partner, can seem risky at a time when it’s hard to predict next quarter’s revenue, let alone next year’s. If you find it difficult to make projections into the future, FM technology can help you collect and analyze your data in real time. This will streamline a range of FM activities, from service delivery to financial forecasting, making it possible for you to scale your business and make data-backed decisions without incurring risk. 

Safety First, Security Always

Managing risk is often a double-edged sword. Cutting services will help you reduce your budget, in turn reducing your risk of financial instability. But at a time when employee and customer safety is in the spotlight more than ever before, you can’t afford to skimp when it comes to the security and cleanliness of your facilities. 

The best approach to mitigate risk is to:

  • Aggregate your FM data and assess it often
  • Obtain alignment, from leadership down to store employees, on strategy, tactics and next steps
  • Leverage FM partnerships to gain a deeper understanding of problem areas and potential solutions

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for recovering from the pandemic, but it’s important to make moves today that will impact your organization tomorrow. Inaction due to an abundance of caution will only create problems down the road. 

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