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Getting the Workplace Ready for Workers to Return

National  + Weekender  | 

The conversation in the office sector has been shifting toward the question of what a post-coronavirus workplace will look like, and more specifically how to prepare both the space and employees for a return. With that in mind, Cushman & Wakefield released its “Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace,” a guide for real estate tenants and landlords on reopening workplaces as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

“It is extremely important to the health and safety of people around the world that organizations take well-thought-through precautions when introducing their employees back to the workplace,” said John Forrester, president of Cushman & Wakefield and executive chair of the firm’s recently launched Recovery Readiness Task Force.

He added, “Our workplace experts, in conjunction with our top researchers, have created this guide to make this monumental migration from home more approachable – with quick and customizable solutions that are cost-effective to implement.”

In creating the recovery readiness guide, the firm leveraged insights and best practices from its recent experience moving 10,000 companies and nearly one million workers back into 800 million square feet of buildings it manages in China through a joint venture with Vanke Service.

The guide outlines “The Safe Six” workplace readiness essentials:
1. Prepare the Building – implement cleaning plans, pre-return inspections, and HVAC and mechanicals checks
2. Prepare the Workforce – create policies for deciding who returns, shift/schedule management and employee communications
3. Control Access – enforce protocols for safety and health checks, building reception, shipping/receiving, elevators and visitor policies
4. Create a Social Distancing Plan – follow guidelines for decreasing density, schedule management and office traffic patterns
5. Reduce Touch Points & Increase Cleaning – implement open doors, clean-desk policy, food plans and regular cleaning of common areas
6. Communicate for Confidence – recognize the fear employees may feel in returning, communicate transparently and listen/survey regularly

“The migration back to places of business will look different for every organization, but the principles outlined in this guide are applicable to nearly every real estate owner and occupier,” said Despina Katsikakis, head of workplace business performance at Cushman & Wakefield.

Along with the guide, Cushman & Wakefield’s “Recovery Readiness” web page provides a PDF of the workplace safety essentials as a six-point checklist, along with on-demand replays of a webinar discussing the guide.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).