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Social Distancing: Enriching Connections at Arm’s Length


Networking events, face-to-face meetings, hand-shakes; it seemed like these were some of the requisites for getting the commercial parties to end at dotted “i”s and crossed “t”s.


However, COVID-19 happened, and in a matter of a few months, the world as we knew it changed.

In this new paradigm where physical contact is now discouraged, Landlords must come up with ways to continue to promote their products and brand while still reaping the benefits of creating a solid and authentic partnership with their current and potential tenants.

Business gurus have always harped on the importance of physical interactions since it plays a major role in closing deals and fostering deeper client relationships.   However, “Social Distancing” is now the new jargon echoed in every discussion about mitigating the spread of the pandemic.

With this limitation, Landlords and Marketeers, for that matter, must come up with innovative ways to enrich connections despite the distance.   Here are some suggestions that may assist our partner-Landlords in overcoming this limit:

I. Technology

Technology is the great equalizer.   It has proven time and time again that geographic borders are non-existent.   Video conferencing, telecommuting, Voice-over-Internet-Protocol have made business and human interactions more plausible during this lockdown.    While promoting social distancing, the connections forged by these digital interactions strengthen business partnerships.    Constant communication is indeed the key in any relationship.   

Technology can also be used to show tenants and clients the commitment of Landlords to making their buildings safe.    The introduction of contactless systems at ingress/egress points, elevators, parking, restrooms, providing Virtual Tours for clients rather than onsite inspections, as well as migrating paper driven procedures to a purely digital one achieves the distancing required to stop the spread of the virus and promote efficiency.

II. Information

In this time of uncertainty, Landlords must have the answers.    It Is critical for them to stay informed and anticipate questions from tenants and clients.   They should secure relevant and timely information from trusted partners in order to respond to concerns in the most informed and ethical manner.    The last thing tenants and potential clients want to see in Landlords are indecision and uninformed actions.   By having the answers, or even the ability to consult with the right partners to get the accurate information, will demonstrate to the tenants that Landlords are backed by knowledge-partners and experts and their businesses will always reap the benefits of informed choices.

III. Empathy

How do Landlords show empathy when they are socially distanced from their clients?  In the absence of an actual meeting - a caring gesture, a genuine inquiry on how tenants and future clients are feeling right now is vital.   Landlords must try to discover how the pandemic is affecting their tenants’ businesses and how they can alleviate some of these stressors.   Rental Concessions, although immensely helpful, are not the only solutions available to Landlords.  

Assisting tenants with their day-to-day concerns, ramping up sanitation protocols, communicating guidelines, strict implementation of health checks, and other similar activities, assure the tenants that the Landlord has everything under control.   This approach of NOT marketing your products and brand but rather just being visible, accessible and reliable, endears landlords to their tenants and future clients.   It would be a terrible waste of goodwill if the landlord takes this time to “hard-sell” their products and brand instead of creating a lasting impression.   

Colliers View:

Enriching connections despite Social Distancing is the concern.   We believe that in order to deepen business relationships while maintaining a safe distance - Landlords, Businesses, and Clients, must all embrace the tenets described above.  

Enable Technology to bridge the communication gap and use it to demonstrate commitment to the safety and health of tenants and clients.   Be Informed so that actions are well-thought of and backed by credible data from knowledge-partners.   This will help Landlords stay ahead of the curve and assist them in resolving concerns as they come.  Lastly, Landlords must put their hearts on their sleeves.   Show genuine concern and Empathy for the other party.   The Current crisis is affecting everyone and both landlord and tenants must find a way to compromise in order to survive the pandemic together.  

Although an oxymoron, Social Distancing is now a call to action.  The challenge is for businesses to find the middle ground to make the opposing terms “Social + distancing” symbiotic.   The only way to do this is to make sure genuine human compassion is present in every interaction, whether digital and distanced.

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Daniel Salapong

Senior Manager

Office Services


Daniel is a Senior Manager for Landlord Representation (LR) under the Office Services Team.  He started in Colliers as part of the Tenant Representation team and transitioned to his role in LR – now marketing the different projects in the Colliers portfolio.

As a Senior Manager, Daniel is tasked to provide customized solutions to accelerate the success of our clients, and fully lease out assigned projects, office spaces, buildings in partnership with developers and owners.

Throughout the leasing process, clients will be able to benefit highly from his valuable insights and recommendations providing them the service excellence Colliers is known for.

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