Strength, growth and adapting to change

There isn’t an industry in Australia that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19. We have all had to make difficult decisions in a landscape that changes from one day to the next. But we are committed to remaining focused… to standing true to our core values… and adapting to every challenge thrown our way, continuing to make a difference to the communities we work in.

At Facilities First, we approach every day with strength… and it is our strength and our purpose that have bolstered us through the upheaval of this crisis.

Video Conference

Caring for our team

We are on the frontline. Our teams are cleaning COVID-19 outbreak schools so kids and teachers can safely return to school. They are cleaning medical and aged care facilities that have had a corona-positive test. And through this, our team has worked tirelessly, proving their absolute dedication to their work.

Facilities First CEO, Ben Bayot, couldn’t be prouder of the way his team has adapted to the evolving situation,

“We aren’t dealing with a product… we are dealing with people. Our workforce has changed. We have people working from home. 

Where clients have reduced their cleaning requirements – or at worst, closed their sites – we have undertaken a large redeployment program to move our staff into new projects so they can keep working. We have added 150 new cleaners to our workforce to support clients who have requested an increase in services. On top of this workflow and workforce management, we are also managing the fear of each individual in our team.

People are concerned. They are dealing with COVID-19 at work but also with what it means to them individually in their world. Some of our people have chosen to stand down in response to the crisis and we completely respect those individual choices people are making. But others are embracing their job as a cleaner and truly shining.”

Two women cleaning

The silver lining

This change has not been easy for any of us… but at Facilities First, the silver lining has been how we have come together to implement a new strategy as we adapt to the change. Our CFO, Alan Fonseca, explains how this has been possible,

“For so many businesses serving the retail or hospitality industries, their business stopped overnight and they didn’t have the chance to adapt. We are in somewhat of a fortunate position because of the strength of our relationships with our government clients who have significantly increased their requirements for cleaning services.

From a financial perspective, we have shifted quickly from a profit/loss approach, now moving to a cashflow concept to manage money in and out of the business. For the last few years, we have had a very significant growth outlook in terms of acquisitions and scaling the business… in the current environment, that growth outlook is tempered with a view to adapting and managing what we have so we emerge leaner and stronger from this crisis.”

We choose to approach each day with a positive attitude… and that hasn’t changed through all of this. We choose to look for the silver lining in everything… and through COVID-19 that silver lining has been our clients, our relationships and our strong focus on bouncing back.

Man mopping the poolside

Going above and beyond

Many of our customers are hurting just as much as we are right now. As much as we are looking after our own team, we are responding to our clients’ needs with flexibility and understanding.

Janelle Dixon, Facilities First General Manager, Integration, Communications and Recruitment, explains that this approach – combined with our commitment to caring and making a difference – is central to our success through this time.

“Even more than normal, we are going above and beyond for many of our relationships. We have the size and scale to manoeuvre and adapt to whatever has been thrown at us. In many cases, we have provided services to our customers outside of our usual deliverables. And for us, that’s about picking things up to ensure the customer has the right outcome.”

Alan Fonseca adds,

“We are focused on our relationships to ensure they are strengthened through this time. It comes back to caring for our staff and caring for our customers who have been significantly impacted.”

Woman cleaning the workplace

Moving forward to a new normal

We don’t know what the post-COVID-19 world will look like… but one thing we know for sure is that our industry is changed forever. Cleaners have always been rolled out after dark and never seen… but now cleaners will become a more visible part of workplaces and facilities.

CEO Ben Bayot is prepared for this change… and everything else that will come from this situation.

“Moving forward, there will be more of a focus on technology and innovation… which is something we’re doing already. We will be looking towards standards and accreditations, enhancing cleaning processes and investing in our people. We will be able to add significant value to larger commercial projects and sites.

COVID-19 has changed the conversation around cleaning, and that is something we very much welcome.”

Whatever the future does hold, we know for sure that Facilities First will be game-fit and ready for the challenge. We will learn from this experience and use it to strengthen our services, our relationships and our teams. And we will continue to play a leading role in shaping the cleaning, maintenance and facilities services management industry in Australia.

Are you looking for a tailored cleaning or maintenance solution?

Contact the team at Facilities First for a seamless, integrated service delivered with care and guaranteed quality.

Contact Facilities First