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Easing Back: Landlords Prepare Post ECQ

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Navigating our future workplace amid COVID-19 is crucial as landlords and occupiers implement safety protocols to adapt to the new normal.

With cases still increasing globally, and with lockdown measures gradually lifting, there is a need for guidance, direction and assurance of safety and security for both landlords and occupiers.

As organizations plan their transition back to their workplace, things will be different. Significant attention should be paid to housekeeping and social distancing measures, and implementation of new strategies and safety precautions in the workplace to address these will be vital. In this blog series, we will present the insights we’ve gained from landlords on easing back to the workplace against the backdrop of a new normal.

 

Assessing building preparedness and implementing safety protocols post lockdown

On May 01, 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, and this was also aligned with what the Department of Health (DOH) set as the minimum health standard. Since office buildings are one of the prime places for diseases like COVID-19 to spread, with different people passing through common entry points (i.e. lobbies, security checkpoints, and elevators) on a daily basis, additional safety protocol measures must be implemented by landlords to provide a safer work environment for employers and workers.

Consulting with our Real Estate Management Services (REMS) team, here are our recommendations, in consonance with the guidelines issued by the government:

  • >Strict measures for safety and prevention
    • Landlords are advised to strictly implement the following guidelines
      • Before entering the property:
        • Mandate use of face masks.
        • Strict thermal scanning.
        • Demarcation of social distancing protocols
        • Tracking and collection of health check questionnaire per tenant
    • Additionally, Landlords should make sure that the following are adhered to:
      • Prohibiting gatherings
      • Restricting use of the smoking area
      • Align with allowed workforce capacity

From our conversations with landlords, we also recommend implementing additional safety and sanitation measures such as:

  • Investing in UV light cleaners and defogging machines
  • Installation of disinfecting mats in all building entrances
  • Installation of proper floor markings in all common areas or path entering and exiting the building, to observe social distancing

 

Changing the mindset of occupiers

Under these circumstances, many employees are facing new stressors both at home and at work. Now more than ever, landlords must strive to constantly engage and communicate with their tenants to align on expectations and how they can work together to ensure the health and safety of all occupiers. Communicating and showing safety and sanitation procedures, especially in high foot traffic and high contact areas, would notably allay the fears of the tenants and employees since they will see the protocols in place for their safety. Raising awareness of what is already available in the building, and proactively sharing plans (even those that are still under development), will greatly ensure peace of mind for all.

 

Colliers View

The most important factor to consider during these challenging times are the health and safety of people. While it may seem daunting to adjust workplace policies and design amid COVID-19, it’s vital for landlords and occupiers to approach the return to the office by exercising caution. Occupiers will have to possibly reconfigure their offices to allow for social distancing and landlords will have to adapt to the changing office culture. Both must also ensure that the facilities and the employees are both prepared for a new setting and environment of work, by establishing safety guidelines to mitigate risk and to reduce the transmission of germs. As one of the landlords we interviewed mentioned, there is nothing wrong with exaggerating safety. Investments are minimal compared to the value of the building and the tenants.

While personal hygiene plays a role in preventing the virus from spreading, there is now an even greater need to embrace the trend toward smart buildings, which enables touchless operation, and presents other valuable features.

Sources: Damosa Land, Colliers REMS, Arthaland



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Mara has over 7 years’ experience in the real estate industry in the Philippines.  She joined the Office Services Team of Colliers Philippines in July 2016 and brings with her a wide understanding of various real estate markets, deal structuring, lease negotiations, and conceptualizing different marketing strategies.

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Charles Serviano

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In 2008, he transferred to the Office Services as an Analyst where he was tasked to manage the Department’s database. With this, he gained exposure in the facets of property services and transactions. He was then promoted to Negotiator in 2009.

In 2016, he shifted gear and joined the Landlord Representation team handling various projects in Metro Manila and different Provinces

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