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Reassure Employees and Customers with a Safe, Welcoming Space

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It’s important to make the experience a good one when your employees and visitors arrive. You still want to maintain an atmosphere of welcome so that they don’t feel uncomfortable or anxious.

Foreword

The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been profound for corporate real estate professionals as they rethink and rapidly reconfigure their workplaces to adapt to the “new normal.” In our Mighty Guide eBook, 7 Experts on Reimagining the Workplace, we interview real estate professionals on the impact of COVID-19 on their roles and their employees’ well-being as well as how they anticipate moving forward. In this blog post, London Kemp shares her perspective on how corporate real estate professionals must address a new set of challenges and opportunities.

How can corporate real estate professionals make their employees, visitors, and customers feel more at ease in the workplace?

It’s important to make the experience a good one when your employees and visitors arrive. You still want to maintain an atmosphere of welcome so that they don’t feel uncomfortable or anxious. The lobby experience will, of course, be different from the moment you enter the building because you want to have the physical distancing rules implemented. You still want to keep the atmosphere friendly and not have an overly sterile approach to how people are entering the building, however. It’s important to strike a balance between comfort and safety.

You can make the lobby experience more comfortable in a few ways. One approach is simply to have the same familiar people in the lobby who are responsible for being the first point of contact. This continuity will put your employees and visitors more at ease. You should also demonstrate that you are taking your employees’ safety concerns seriously. Wipe down surfaces in the space frequently, and have sanitizing stations prominently available.

You also want to make your workspace inviting to your customers. If you’re in retail banking and customers show up at your bank, you don’t want them to feel like they’re not welcome in the building. You must balance this priority with safety protocols, so consider having the security staff or people staffing the front entrance give masks to your customers. Or, in the case of a corporate building where people are specifically coming in for meetings, consider providing tablet check-in and making it easy for visitors to see the measures you’re taking to sanitize and keep stations clean so that they feel safe.

What crucial factors should corporate real estate professionals keep in mind as they are preparing workplace reentry plans?

Corporate real estate professionals are asking themselves many questions that center on this issue. What is the return to the office workplace going to look like, and how soon are we really going to have the answers we need? It’s important to create a plan that meets your unique needs and takes the local COVID-19 impact into account.

One crucial factor when preparing your workplace reentry plan is assessing the need for mass transit for employees in each of your locations. How are people getting around the city? For example, we would take a different approach for our Los Angeles office than we would for our San Francisco office because the typical commute looks different in those two cities.

Everyone is using this time now to develop their workplace strategies and scenarios. They’re working with cross-functional leaders to reimagine how the new workplace is going to align with their business. Many of them are also connecting with human resources to find ways to increase productivity and performance through digital and virtual experiences.

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