Welcome Back to the Office

Organizations around the world are adjusting to what many believe will be the new normal as workers begin to slowly transition back to an office environment. Many considerations ranging from janitorial protocols and operating building standards to social distancing requirements and utilization of space may permanently alter the way we interact with others in the workplace.

Building owners and tenants will find it crucial to develop a comprehensive plan that works for each asset or location. It will require a plan that helps address what will likely be, the most important question being asked: Do I feel safe at work? The action plan should have detailed phases and be clearly communicated to all building occupants along with additional recommendations of protocols to be implemented in each leased space.

The intent as we envision, is for stakeholders – landlords and tenants, to use a multidisciplinary approach and collaborate with key individuals to plan and execute on the return-to-work place strategy that is in their respective best interests. These individuals should include Risk Management, Legal, Human Resources, Financial, C-suite, Board and subject matter experts that provide unique perspectives.

While every building is unique, there are a few drivers or core areas that are paramount to every policy or procedures that may be put into place by landlords and tenants which will affect the total operation and create a stable pathway towards regaining ‘normalcy’. These core areas will help ensure the health and safety of employees returning to work.

Getting Your Business Post Pandemic Ready

Companies around the world are preparing to bring their employees back to a workplace that many believe will be the new normal. Several considerations ranging from janitorial procedures and social distancing requirements to utilization of space and technology may permanently alter the way employees collaborate. While many unknowns are still in our horizon, health and safety will continue to be at the forefront and a new generation of office design standards will come to fruition in the near future.

As a business, it is essential to develop a comprehensive game plan for employees to return to the office and clear guidelines need to be communicated in advance. Consider an action plan with detailed phases inclusive of your space plan, social distancing protocol, safety procedures, and sanitation best practices.

While every company we work with is unique, there are some basic requirements that organizations should consider in order to ensure the health and safety of employees returning to work while maintaining a positive company culture and productive work environment.

Space Utilization

  1. Consider creating an office reintroduction policy that includes an employee density reduction plan such as return-to-office shifts or blended schedules.
  2. Consider stationing your employees 6′ apart (CDC guidelines). Evaluate those that are assigned to “bench-style” seating and consider eliminating “hoteling” workstations and “hot desks.”
  3. Consider reducing the density of your conference rooms and huddle rooms by removing chairs.

Technology

  1. Sort out all remote working issues so employees can continue to work from home to accommodate for shift schedules.
  2. Consider upgrading video-conferencing technology to allow for client and employees dialing in.
  3. Leverage new technologies to track employee use of conference rooms, break rooms and huddle rooms. Heat mapping tools allow organizations to track activity throughout the office.

Sanitation and Janitorial

  1. Equip your office with the necessary safety items including directional signs indicating 6′ distance, “wash your hands” reminder signs, hand sanitizer (min. 60% alcohol), tissues, additional waste paper baskets, masks, gloves, etc.).
  2. Consider upgrading your office janitorial services to include sanitizing and disinfecting of spaces.
  3. Consider assigning and properly training a staff member to assist in the implementation and adherence of the new, safety-first at work policies.

Our Tenant Representation team is prepared to advise you on any real estate matter including:

  • New requirements
  • Move and Renewal Scenarios
  • Early restructuring of current lease agreements
  • Space utilization review and recommendations
  • Subleasing of your space
  • Short-term temporary space solutions

For more information on how we can help, please reach out to any of our Tenant Representation practice leaders:

Christopher Harak
Executive Vice President

Randy Carballo
Executive Vice President

Luciana Carvalho, MCR
Senior Vice President

David M. Valdez
Senior
Vice President