Raleigh company thriving while helping others get back to business

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Raleigh company thriving while helping others get back to business
While many of us are still waiting for the outbreak to subside before heading back to our office, those who lead our companies are trying to figure out how we can back to work safe

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- While many people are still waiting for the outbreak to subside before heading back to their offices, those who lead companies are trying to figure out to get people back to work safely.

That includes a Raleigh company that helps other companies with that kind of planning.

"We're using our own software technology to plan our own return to the office," said Brian Haines a vice president at fm:systems.

The "fm" stands for facility management.

Fm:systems is helping companies worldwide manage facilities to get people safely back to work.

That includes their own.

"We made sure that none of our workstations are too close to one another," Haines said as he guided ABC11 on a tour of the company's empty Raleigh headquarters.

READ MORE: NC company hopes its 'sanitation drones' help economy take off

The company had planned for some of its workers to come back to the office last month but then there was a surge of infections.

"The pandemic is something that's on everyone's mind," Haines said. " It's scary. As you can see, we're not back in the office yet. We're being incredibly cautious."

He also recalled that at the start of the pandemic, his business declined like everyone else's, mostly because of contract delays.

"We've made a very rapid recovery and things are looking very solid," he said.

READ MORE: N.C. businesses awarded $1.3 billion in federal COVID-19 contracts

That's because, according to the career website LinkedIn, occupancy planning is one of the 12 hottest businesses during the pandemic.

Not only does fm:systems do traditional space planning, but it also uses sensors to monitor things such as employee movement.

And that could save on a new expense during the pandemic -- sterilization.

The hardware and software developed by fm:systems allow employers to track the movement of workers.

READ MORE: Managers finding out employees actually work well from home

Employees proving managers wrong about working from home.

Haines said that will mean saving money by only sterilizing areas that have been contaminated and not areas where no one has been.

"We will actually give them a live display of where everyone has actually occupied a facility and they can target those areas," he said.

They also have sensors to monitor the environment inside offices, including air movement, temperature and humidity.

And that too is now even more important to many companies.

READ MORE: Mobile auto service swaps cars for disinfecting businesses

Sitting in front of a monitor with a graph of one particular HVAC system, Haines said, "They're really seriously focusing on indoor air quality. We know it keeps people healthier. We know it reduces the transmission of viruses, even colds."

It is hard for fm:systems to celebrate even greater success brought on by the pandemic when it's hurting so many other businesses.

But the company takes heart in the fact that it can help with one of the key components needed to restart the global economy -- planning for the return to work.

Haines said it's a look at the bright side.

"Being able to not only the service to our clients but also to our own company, it feels good. And I'm excited about it every single day," he said.

And especially when the company's products could provide long-term savings to those struggling companies.