In view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, many facilities management (FM) companies in the UAE have increased sanitisation drives due to high demand from clients.
Berkeley Services, for instance, has reported a 70% increase in the number of disinfection drives.
“The UAE has been witnessing a sudden surge in the number of COVID cases during the last few weeks. We have witnessed this surge within our offices, camps and have received information of similar situations from several customers. In view of this threat, we have increased the frequency of disinfection services to our camp and offices. There is a 70% increase in requests for disinfection drives in the month of December compared to November. The demand is continuing and is expected to last for at least three to four months,” says Jiji Francis, senior director for UAE operations, Berkeley.
Other leading FM companies like Concordia, Imdaad, and Tafawuq Facility Management report a similar trend.
"The growing concern over the Omicron variant and the increase in the Covid-19 cases have prompted most organisations in the UAE to carry out regular sanitisation of their offices, due to which Imdaad has increased the frequency of its sanitisation drives," says Mahmood Rasheed, chief operating officer, Imdaad.
"Due to the recent spike in cases, Concordia has increased sanitisation frequency at its communities and its own staff accommodations, offices and transportation," says Faisal Fitriansyah, soft services manager, Concordia Integrated Facility Management.
For Tafawuq the number of sanitisation drives have remained high since the start of the pandemic. “We have continued to keep the same high level of sanitization services, which are delivered by our specialist in-house teams, throughout the pandemic, to ensure the safety of our staff, clients and customers,” says Michael Nicholas, executive director, Tafawuq.
Based on demand
Companies note that the frequency of sanitisation drives depend on the demands of customers.
“We perform sanitisation as per the requirements of customers; some clients need our services weekly or biweekly, and others need it less often based on their specific requirements and convenience. Considering the effectiveness of regular sanitisation, Imdaad’s sales team actively promotes it among new and existing customers as well as ad hoc requests,” says Rasheed.
Concordia reports a similar spike in its B2C disinfection services. “We have seen an increase in the number of disinfection requirements that come mostly from our Concordia On-Demand B2C business that includes occupiers who want to disinfect their homes, offices or retail units with more frequent disinfection programmes,” says Fitriansyah.
“Most of our customers have asked to enhance the disinfection services to their properties. This decision to increase was based on the number of cases recorded at their properties and as a precautionary measure,” reports Francis.
Companies are also regularly sanitising staff accommodations to reduce infection rates among employees. The health and safety of staff is given high priority as it directly affects business.
“Staff are given the requisite equipment, chemicals, measurement devices and PPEs,” says Fitriansyah. "Adherence to social distancing, reduced office occupancy through work from home programs, regular usage of effective PPE’s and a very robust vaccination program for all our staff has helped us keep infection rates very low. Our staff are deployed across various sites throughout the city and operate in different environments where we have to ensure their safety is top priority.”
“For our staff accommodations, as a precautionary measure, we carry out sanitisation drives on a regular basis, as decided by our management. However, the frequency of disinfection was increased from December onwards to tide over the increase in cases,” says Francis.
FM companies say they have been able to take on the growing demand for disinfection services by being proactive and prepared.
"Given the evolving nature of the pandemic and the various variants that are being identified, Concordia took an agile approach to review and update its sanitisation and disinfection requirements based on authority guidelines and best practice,” says Fitriansyah.
With proper planning, companies can provide quality services and exceed client expectations.
Nicholas comments, "Eltizam’s businesses continually review all government directives, while also taking into consideration client and customer requirements, to ensure that the standard operating procedures for internal and external sanitisation services, exceed all stakeholder requirements.”
FM companies should also be aware of the needs of the hour and sometimes advise clients on the required frequency of sanitisation drives, says Fitriansyah.
“It is a combination of recommending required frequencies due to our expertise and knowledge of best practice in high traffic/high footfall areas plus additional one-offs where cases have been identified in any given work or home environment. Being the subject experts we are always proactive in advising our clients on required frequencies.”
“Concordia has started implementing an ongoing disinfection program at its managed sites. This includes large infrastructures, horizontal and vertical communities, schools and hotels to name a few. Sanitisation and disinfection chemicals became part of the routine cleaning to ensure optimum quality and safety to our communities. This is aside from all our cleaning method statements and PPE which have been reviewed to accommodate the new requirements. Thanks to that, we are always prepared to face any rise in the number of COVID 19 cases and are able to cope quickly to higher demand through our highly trained staff,” he adds.
Increase in revenues
Nevertheless, companies say the increase in sanitation demand is having a positive impact in terms of revenues.
“Since Imdaad has a dedicated team for disinfection services, the company's sanitisation drive has only had a positive effect on our sales revenue without affecting our operational efficiencies or resource allocation,” says Rasheed.
Last, but not the least, is the element of social responsibility. “In addition to the positive impact on our revenues, it also allows us to contribute to the nation’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Rasheed.