At Visa, Facility Management Shores Up COVID-19 Response

By Stephanie Palacios

The legendary comic book writer, Stan Lee defined a superhero as once, “See your face who helps others since it should or should be done simply, and because it may be the right move to make.”

COVID-19 put a spotlight on the selfless work of first responders, healthcare professionals, teachers, researchers, and supermarket workers. However, facility managers are overlooked when naming the heroes of the pandemic often. They, too, have already been on the frontlines for companies round the global world, making sure employees remain safe and critical facilities are secure tirelessly.

Photo: Visa

At Visa, facility managers played an essential role keeping in mind our business operational through the height of the pandemic and orchestrating on-site adjustments for a lot more than 125 offices in 78 countries. They created a protected climate for essential workers whose jobs required them to be on-site. And today, as Visa prepares to welcome employees to any office back, they’re developing new processes and remodeling offices so employees feel safe if they return.

Valuable lessons were learned in today’s crisis across Visa’s facilities team that may be valuable guides for future challenges. With this thought, certainly are a few I’d prefer to share here.

CREATING A Business (Continuity) Case

One of the most critical lessons from the pandemic is that facility managers will need to have a seat at the table in the beginning of business continuity planning any potential crisis. They possess a great perspective, including understanding of individual buildings, floor programs, physical security systems and teams, suppliers, along with other resources that are fine part of maintaining a spot. Each day facility managers also understand the initial needs of local employees since they work alongside them. These needs may differ based on continent, countries, cities, and cultures. These perspectives are usually critical to informing operational protocols, human resource procedures, and employee and corporate communications.

Facility managers also serve as on-site commanders – people who are acquainted with and prepared to deploy business continuity plans. They’re the boots on the floor who help solve logistical challenges, expedite response times and move the business towards adapting to the crisis.

If your organization doesn’t possess facility management involved with business continuity planning, you should become at the table during preparing and create an open forum where you as well as your team could work and speak right to local business leaders to make sure visibility in to the needs of a niche site.


When an urgent event occurs, determining the place to start and what to concentrate on, may be the first hurdle. At Visa, our top priorities through the pandemic continue being employees, clients, and local communities, small and micro businesses which are being hit particularly hard especially.

When concentrating on employees, Visa had to find out who would have to be in the working office to handle critical business functions. This was established once, facility managers helped develop guidelines and procedures for every individual office to make sure compliance with federal, state, and local health requirements.

The procedures and guidelines included keeping essential workers in the working office socially distanced. This involved placing signage and arrows throughout offices to point traffic flow, generating schedules for deep cleansing, and marking off shared spaces to avoid close physical interaction. This is when local boots on the floor facility teams had been essential because of their knowledge of office floor plans.

Anticipate The Unexpected

Most companies have got site-specific emergency response plans to see on-site preparations and responses, which includes scenarios where back-up locations are accustomed to grab operations and compensate for other locations which are temporarily closed or offline. However, COVID-19 made this course of action inapplicable since it impacted major cities and simultaneously globally. Now, companies have to include measures that take into account all working offices to be closed.

Modern plans must take into account the continuity of essential operations, if employees aren’t permitted to enter all company facilities even.

Collaboration Will be Key

COVID-19 also demonstrated the worthiness of cross-functional collaboration. Facilities managers through the pandemic proved helpful in lock step with C-suite executives to implement pandemic responses. Frequent interaction through the height of the pandemic permitted all parties to raised realize each other’s needs and interact to meet up them.

For instance, Visa surveyed and gauged employee sentiment through the entire pandemic frequently. People managers did exactly the same making use of their teams to assess their well-being qualitatively. Together, these findings provided valuable insight in to the readiness of employees to come back to any office and their concerns about safe practices if they return. This assisted inform discussions and decisions among business leaders and local facilities teams helping offices all over the world because they assessed potential changes to any office environment and re-examined go back to work protocols to make sure employee concerns were fulfilled.


Facilities management in times of crisis shall evolve, but COVID-19 proved flexibility among facility teams might help navigate unexpected challenges.

At Visa, it intended transitioning a large most 20,000 global employees to remote work, protecting essential in-office staff by following safety and health guidelines predicated on varying local health requirements in various markets, and troubleshooting every employee issues without the physical interaction. Today, this means getting ready to re-open doors to the large most 20,this season 000 employees time for the office in a few form later. We were holding not in the playbook, but they now are.

Visa continuously up-to-date its business continuity plans through the entire past year with COVID-19 lessons and the revised plans have previously paid – leveraged when catastrophic weather events happened in Austin, TX, february 2021 in.

Another few months will undoubtedly be filled with a whole large amount of unknowns as vaccination rates increase, businesses re-open, mask requirements lift, employees go back to the working office, but COVID-19 variants persist. Than make an effort to predict the near future rather, year teams should rely upon the lessons learned from days gone by, revise their playbooks to integrate those learnings, and get ready to end up being flexible if the problem deviates from that which was anticipated.

Palacios will be Senior Vice President of Operational Resilience at Visa Inc. , concentrating on the company’s capability to withstand and get over operational disruptions and business incidents of most kinds. Through leadership of the Crisis Management, Business Continuity, and Vendor Resilience teams and supporting functions of Technology and Governance Solutions, she is in charge of proactively determining risks and making sure strategies are in spot to withstand and get over business disrupting events.

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