Creating a safe environment will require collaborative solutions between tenants and landlords.
Like retail, offices are expected to execute a phased-style reopening. While strategies for re-opening office spaces and inviting employees to return to work have focused on business owners and office occupiers, property owners and landlords will certainly play an important role. According a recent workplace report from CBRE that surveyed business owners’ plans to re-open, both landlords and tenants will need to collaborate on solutions to create safe spaces for workers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced challenges that require timely, open and collaborative solutions for building owners and their tenants,” Karen Ellzey, executive managing director of CBRE’s reopening the world’s workplaces taskforce, tells GlobeSt.com. “Both parties are responsible for monitoring and implementing the latest safety guidance and orders from relevant authorities, establishing plans that account for them, communicating those plans to their constituencies, and enforcing any policies put in place.”
Building owners also need vital information from tenants, including when and how employees are returning to work and how many employees are returning in each group. “The top concerns also include how to safely manage in the ingress and egress of tenants and visitors, including clarity of responsibility between the parties on activities such as screening, enhanced common area cleaning (lobbies, parking, amenities) and changes to building operations,” says Ellzey. “Communicating these plans clearly and regularly to tenants should be a key area of focus. Many building owners are choosing community-building apps to do this virtually, allowing real-time and interactive engagement with tenant needs and concerns.”
Office occupiers, on the other hand, are focused also focused on employee return, but with a slightly different set of concerns as well, including when and how their buildings will open up, whether and when enhanced protocols, like cleaning and HVAC, at the building level will need to be implemented, and cost implications,” according to Ellzey.
Most of the responsibilities will be shared or mutually resolved between the landlord and the tenants. However, there are some gray areas that will need to be negotiated. Ellzey’s list of those unclear responsibilities include:
– Cleaning and Sanitation
– Operating Hours, Visitors and Scheduling
– Elevator Capacity and Wait Times
– Emergency Response Plans
– Parking and Garage Access
– Food Delivery
“CBRE strongly believes it is in the interest of both parties to find reasonable and mutually agreeable solutions to these actions to ensure workplaces are healthy and safe for workers to return to,” adds Ellzey.
So far, a lot of these changes could also prove to be temporary; however, the long-term impacts are still unknown. “That said, changes that facilitate social distancing, ongoing communications programs, enhanced cleaning, HVAC retrofits, hygiene stations, security, and health screenings are all examples of areas that are likely to impact both operating costs and capital expenses for the foreseeable future,” says Ellzey.
Source: “How Office Owners Will Play a Role in Re-Opening Businesses“