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Back at the office together but apart

UK

After a month of working from home, Colliers is now reopening on a small scale. The optional return to the office workplace has been well received, but most employees continue to work from home. For the employees that are back at the office special guidelines apply.

The gradual reopening takes place because some Colliers employees were starting to feel the strain of having to work from home for a month. In acknowledgement of the need for some employees to be able to return to their workplace, management initiated a gradual office reopening last week. However, employees are still encouraged to continue to work from home if possible.

“In the management group, we fully understand the strain of having to work from home for a longer period. If, for instance, you live in a small flat and need to share space with a flatmate, also working from home, it may well become a bit cramped. This is the situation in which several of our young employees find themselves, and it can affect both job efficiency and enthusiasm”, says Peter Winther, CEO Colliers Denmark.

“Well, you experience some level of ‘isolation anxiety’ if you are confined to very little space 24-7. I would not be able to stand it myself. We are very much concerned with the well-being of our employees, and we have therefore decided to offer those that find it particularly difficult to continue working from home that they can return to the office”, says Peter Winther, who, incidentally, has attended the first physical client meetings, of course without handshakes and keeping the required distance.

“Both I and the clients felt a bit like the cattle finally getting out to graze spring grass last weekend. We were more than ready to get back to business again. At Colliers, we experience that activity has picked up slightly and that our customers are starting to feel more optimistic now than before the Easter holidays. However, we still face some challenges, in particular when it comes to our foreign customers, but we will just have to be patient in this respect”, concludes Peter Winther, referring to the closed borders and the resulting challenges in terms of arranging viewings and inspections by foreign investors.

When back at the office, employees are required to take a number of precautionary measures. First of all, they must maintain a 2-metre distance to the nearest colleague, i.e. between individual desks as well as on encounters in the office in general. In practice, this has been resolved by spreading workspaces and teams working staggered hours. In addition, lunch servings are individually wrapped, and even stricter hygiene requirements have been imposed to ensure that various surfaces are wiped with disinfectant. Furthermore, employees have been urged to observe all possible precautions during their transportation to and from work. For instance, they are encouraged to avoid using public transport during rush hours and to bicycle, if possible.

Colliers opened its offices for employees in the middle of last week, with full-scale reopening expected to take place on 10 May given the current situation. Less than a third of all employees have so far decided to opt for going back to the office, with the majority therefore still working from home.


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Peter Winther

Executive Director | Partner | MRICS

Copenhagen

Peter is Executive Director and heads Colliers’ Danish Investment & Capital Markets teams. Peter provides strategic property consultancy services and facilitates the sale of commercial and investment properties, including hotels and shopping centres, as well as property portfolios and companies.

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