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Shore Up Your Skills During the COVID-19 Downtime

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting a number of professions. Waiters don’t have diners to wait on. Event coordinators don’t have events to coordinate. And facility managers don’t have facilities to manage. 

That’s not entirely true, of course. No matter how dire the situation may seem at times, industries continue to pivot in response to the pandemic. Even where they can only open at limited capacity, restaurants are offering take-out and delivery. In-person events are transitioning to virtual events. And all facilities definitely need to be managed and maintained, even if they are closed.

Nonetheless, it is true that the average facility manager’s day looks very different than it did before the coronavirus arrived. With fewer employees on-site, day-to-day maintenance needs have decreased. With budgets frozen, many construction and improvement projects have been put on hold. And those random emails from building occupants about accidental spills and funky odors? They’re practically nonexistent.

Here are four ways facility managers can take advantage of the downtime created by COVID-19 to shore up their skills and ensure they—and their facilities—emerge from the pandemic in a strong position.

1. Attend a virtual conference.

Conferences are alive and well; they just look a little different. OK, maybe they look a lot different. It’s not feasible to hold large in-person events during a pandemic, but many organizations are hosting successful virtual conferences.

Like many other events, the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA’s) World Workplace is going virtual in 2020. Coming up Dec. 9–10, the World Workplace Virtual Experience will feature more than 25 educational sessions on everything from robotics to clean air management. There’s even a virtual expo where attendees can learn about the latest products and innovations during live chats with sponsors. APEX Surface Care is a premier sponsor of World Workplace 2020; we’ve been proud supporters of IFMA for more than 20 years, and we wouldn’t miss it.

In many ways, these virtual events are the best of both worlds: You get to learn and network without the jet lag and uncomfortable shoes.

2. Connect with your colleagues.

In addition to IFMA, there are a number of trade associations that can help you achieve your career goals. By joining a professional organization, you have the opportunity to broaden your professional network, access valuable resources, and gain new knowledge and perspective.

Women in Facility Management (WIFM), for example, was founded to further the advancement of women in commercial facility management careers. Its members work together to further their professional knowledge, share successes, and encourage career growth. APEX was a founding sponsor of WIFM and continues to support the organization in a variety of ways, from moderating webinars to providing administrative assistance.

Before the pandemic, you could connect with fellow members in person at lunches, happy hours, seminars, award ceremonies and other events. Now these events are held virtually, but they still allow you to develop meaningful relationships that could help further your career in the years to come.  

3. Earn a certification.

Have you been thinking about becoming a Certified Facility Manager so you can gain credibility and showcase your knowledge? Or maybe you want to earn your ProFM credential so you can help drive efficiencies in your facilities that impact the strategic success of your organization and its bottom line? Now is a great time to develop your skills and deepen your understanding of best practices in the facility management industry.

Nothing signifies someone’s expertise in a field like a certification. Earning a degree and working in the industry gives you valuable knowledge and experience, but taking the time to master your role and prove you are committed to your profession takes you to a whole other level. 

If you need a little extra incentive, here’s a fun fact: IFMA estimates that earning a professional certification can lead to a salary increase of $6,000 within a year.

4. Catch up on your reading.

If you’re like other busy professionals, you have a huge stack of industry publications sitting in your office, unopened and unread. You keep meaning to dive into them and catch up on the latest facilities management news, but who has the time to read?

Well, it turns out you do.

Whether you’re looking for information on why facility managers can’t afford not to work with mission-based companies, what questions to ask to spot a pandemic profiteer, or how to protect and disinfect high-design interiors, you can find it in one of the many publications aimed at the facility management industry. Best of all, most of these magazines have a robust online presence, meaning you can read them anywhere, any time.

APEX Surface Care is proud to have supported facility managers and the buildings they manage for over 23 years. Contact us today to learn how we can help you keep your facilities clean and safe.