Employers reopening their offices after stay-at-home orders lift

commercial real estate Jul 24, 2020

The end is in sight. Lockdown is going to lift in the next few weeks. The majority of professionals will head back to work, all across the world. But, public health in the work place has risen to a new level of importance. From the view of a business owner operating from commercial real estate, you want to get up and running as soon as possible. Just because the world went into lockdown, doesn’t mean all your bills, hopes and challenges vanished. Employees will want strong assurances that you have a safe working environment. Employers need to be careful to not be the cause of a second wave. How should you go about reopening your office? Will the renegotiation rent prices become priority before you return?

The little things count

First, your main concern is public health in the workplace. The little things of public health in the work place are going to count for employee morale and trust. When you’re renting office space, you have a duty to be extra careful. Make sure you have hand sanitizer on people’s desks and in meeting rooms. Commercial real estate offices are close quarters, employees should never be more than 10 feet from a small bottle of sanitizer. Even if you’re finding new offices to rent, health and safety spatial awareness is front and center. Hiring an office cleaning service to give your working space a good clean before employees arrive is recommended. You must encourage employees to bring their own personal protective equipment such as gloves, face masks and aprons if they feel the need to. Give your employees an office tour. Show them all the cautionary measures you have put in place and any new rules regarding greetings, eating and reporting symptoms.

Enough room to move

Businesses working out of commercial real estate make use of every inch of space. This is due to the additional challenges of public health in the workplace. But if you want to return to work without issue, you need to have social distancing present at all times. This will mean, limiting the number of desks you have available, allowing employees to sit and work without breaking these guidelines. If you don’t have adequate amount of floor space for your employees, finding new offices as the price per square feet is decreasing. Many industry analysts say companies lease 20% of space morethan is required to account for the possibility of employee numbers rising. With this not being the case now, there'll be companies looking to have a renegotiation rent prices. This could cause the average square foot cost to go from around $30 in the next coming weeks. Prime real estate could dip below triple digits. Office space in the Plaza District and Park Avenue compete with office space in Times Square. Renting office space looks set to be getting cheaper. This would allow employees to be spread around but still work closely with their teams. Be sure to take an office tour of the space you intend to expand into.

Retaining employees

Now that work is returning for many people, retaining as many employees is a top priority. As a business owner looking to achieve this, you should seek to renegotiation rent prices with your landlord. The industry is experiencing negative absorption increases. If you’re renting office space, you have little leverage to haggle and not spend so much on the rent and more on employee salaries. Now is the time for finding new offices as the prices are set to go lower. Give your employees an office tour, showcasing the health and safety measures in place to battle Covid-19.

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