I visited Georgia Institute of Technology to play the role of Professor Tolbert for two hours. Kathy Roper, the Associate Professor and Chair of Facility Management, invited me to speak to her class to share how technology is changing and improving the way facility managers are addressing the rules and regulations in keeping tenants safe and buildings running.

Facility managers’ responsibilities are increasing and becoming more complex, but still have a tightened budget. The expectation to manage threats is no longer that they are simply reactive, but more proactive. With more complex threats and the expectation to prepared 24/7, technology has offered facility managers the opportunity to do their job efficiently and effectively, all the while keeping their tenants safe.Professor Tolbert

Threats challenging commercial real estate buildings today greatly surround workplace violence, or as I call them – lobby threats. Workplace violence is defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse that occurs in a work setting. The biggest risk today for facility and property managers is not preparing, testing plans, or practicing communications drills for these threats. When a disruption occurs, facility managers need to not only be able to communicate quickly, but they need to know what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to.

To be proactive, facility managers can organize a crisis team, have online training for a multitude of threats, provide expert content on protocols, and have related documents readily available in the Cloud to team members and tenants. To be reactive, facility managers should take advantage of technology to have an emergency notification system beyond phone trees and make use of mobile access. A benefit of technology is the ability to communicate quickly and often.

It was an honor to speak to facility management students that are not only embracing innovative technology in the industry, but are driving the adoption of it to their peers and tenants. For more lessons from Professor Tolbert, follow me on Twitter @RandallTolbert. For more information about Preparis, contact us at info@preparis.com or call at 404.662.2950

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