Share:

Looking Further Along the Road to Recovery

Nicola Gillen • 06/05/2020

Whilst most of the world remains in lock down, parts of Asia have returned to the office. In China, we are seeing the impact of commuting, social distancing and PPE on the working day. Parts of Europe are now actively preparing to return. Hopefully this begins to signal two things, a return to a new normal working life, one without kids and illness looking over our shoulders, but also the opportunity for a better working life than we had before. This starts with understanding how people are working now, who can stay remote, who needs to come into the office, why and how often?

Anecdotal evidence over the past two weeks suggests that occupiers are looking at anything from 10-50% of their workforce returning to the office in the short term. For those preparing to return, the Recovery Readiness Guide Safe Six are:

  1. Prepare the Building
    Safety, mechanical, HVAC systems, cleaning and compliance. 

  2. Prepare the Workforce
    Plan for who returns and when, advise on journey to work, communicate new protocols, mitigate anxiety, offer choices.

  3. Control Access
    Entry points, deliveries, PPE, temperature checks, lobbies, reception, lifts.

  4. Create a Social Distancing Plan
    Staggered arrival times, explore 6FeetOffice protocols, one way circulation routes. 

  5. Reduce Touch Points and Increase Cleaning
    Low touch access, circulation and technology, sanitize surfaces, clean desk policy. 

  6. Communicate for Confidence 
    Recognise fear in returning, be transparent, listen and talk to staff. Set expectations for visitors, staff, travel and time in the office. 

Whilst social distancing may be with us for longer than anyone imagined, it shouldn’t stop us planning for a post vaccine better way of working. 

 

Who Needs to be in the Office? 

The ability to work remotely will vary by sector, job role and activity. Some sectors are more location dependent than others. Manufacturing, distribution, retail, leisure and hospitality for example, are connected to physical locations such as warehouses, logistics centres and leisure facilities. Research and development organisations are tied to physical space too. Whilst remote monitoring of laboratory kit is increasingly common, people also need to physically handle samples and equipment. Other sectors can work well remotely including professional services, insurance, financial services and tech firms. Any reluctance to continue working remotely for these sectors is likely to be driven by management choices. Certain activities such as training, social events, staff inductions, elements of teamwork and serendipitous interaction are more effectively done in person. The need to go to the office will not go away, but we should more fundamentally question why we are going there. 

 

No Touch Technology

The value of intelligent buildings and Internet of Things (IOT) is clear during this period of remote access. There is likely to be an increased investment in virtual solutions such as; remote operated security, drones for building viewings, deployment of cleaning robots and virtual receptionists. Biometric security and space management systems will allow no touch access and circulation through buildings, workspace and meeting rooms. Technology will soon enable the touchless office where access is powered through biometrics and voice. 

Intelligent Building Information Management (BIM) systems with embedded analytics will enable more efficient management of energy use and occupancy. In the short-term, occupiers can temporarily shut down floors that are not being used; and in the longer-term right size their real estate requirements for a distributed workforce. 

 

Budget Reallocation 

A positive workplace experience increasingly relies on the close collaboration of HR, IT and Real Estate. These functions usually have separately allocated and managed budgets. A distributed work force could fundamentally shift the kind of support required. If larger populations are working from home more permanently, IT could offer home packages e.g. paid for superfast broadband, screens, headsets etc. Corporate travel should be reviewed with guidance put in place as to when travel is required. We may find surplus travel budgets emerge as people become accustomed to virtual meetings. Budgets should be reviewed with any excess channelled into other areas such as support for remote working, training, ergonomics and technology.

 

Workforce Wellbeing 

Occupier interest in wellbeing and sustainability was steady pre COVID19, the current situation especially pre vaccine, is sharply increasing this interest. Organisations are setting their targets towards carbon neutral operations. We will see increased demand for buildings with wellbeing and sustainability certifications. 

The Well Living Lab, Delos, Cushman & Wakefield and Hines have aligned to advance thinking on Return-to-Workplace Guidelines. The Well Living Lab is a Delos and Mayo Clinic collaboration focussed on pioneering research at the intersection of health, building and behavioural sciences. The research will look to reduce viral transmission, strengthen physical-distancing measures and enhance employee performance in the office through prototypes in Europe and the US.

 

Communities of Work 

Work follows people rather than places. We will start coming into the office for specific reasons not simply by default. People will work across a network of places including city centre offices, campuses, local hubs close to where people live and individual homes. Local community workplace hubs will help connect colleagues, collaborators and like-minded people. New roles are already emerging including a community manager who looks after employee engagement inside and outside the office. Local co-working hubs could have an important role in re-imaging our high streets. 

Key contributors: Despina Katsikakis, Nicola Gillen, Antonia Cardone, Rachel Casanova, Carol Wong, Steve Zatta, Bryan Berthold, Caroline Gardiner, Emma Swinnerton, Stefanie Woodward, Andrew Baker, Joe White and Karon Woodcock

desk by window of skyscraper
Insights • Commentary

Who Wanted Normal Anyway?

Richard Pickering, Chief Strategy Officer, UK reviews how things have changed since the virus, he points to some positives, and questions why in fact we would want to revert to the way things were either in the short or long term. 
Richard Pickering • 06/05/2020
diners outside London pizza restaurant
Insights • Retail

Steps to Retail Recovery in Asia and Europe

Dr Yvonne Court looks at retail recovery in Asia and considers what European retailers can learn from the reopening of shops in the region.
Yvonne Court • 06/05/2020
graph and numbers on blue screen
Insights • Investment

Capital Markets - What's Next?

Jason Winfield, Head of Investment Agency UK & Ireland reports resilience in Central London offices, supported by interest from overseas buyers who see good value, and in logistics and industrial as a consequence of investor belief in the structural shift to online.
Jason Winfield • 06/05/2020
UK London City
Insights

The Challenge for London Construction

Nic Wilkinson, Head of London Project & Development Services considers how the development of new protocols has enabled sites to reopen with reasonable levels of productivity, albeit with compromised supply chains.
Nic Wilkinson • 06/05/2020
Empty office modern clean
Insights • Occupier

What Next? The Future of Offices

The good news for the offices sector is that the hysteria appears to be dying down. Business leaders that were calling time on the office, now accept that they’ll continue to have an important role in future.
Ben Cullen • 23/09/2020
red steel building
Insights • Commentary

UK Real Estate Perspectives

As the COVID-19 pandemic envelops the globe, we are committed to providing our clients with up to the minute intelligence and commentary as to what is happening in the real estate markets.
Digby Flower • 24/09/2020
recovery readiness guide 2.0 card (image)
Research • Workplace

Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace

The “Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace,” outlines some of the best thinking and practices that our more than 53,000 professionals have compiled across the globe and also includes insights from key partners.
02/09/2020
young white man working in cafe with laptop and headphones
Insights • Workplace

Future of Work and Place

COVID-19 will cure our inertia: we have had the technology to work from home for years. Management attitudes have held us back. Trust remains an issue. Modern leaders manage through outputs not presenteeism.
Nicola Gillen • 24/03/2020
Rebalance work life_Ep3 (image)
Podcast • Workplace

Staying Informed and Collaborating Virtually

In the third podcast of the “Rebalancing the Work-Life Experience” series, our attention shifts to two further drivers of workplace experience: staying informed and collaborative teamwork.
Nicola Gillen • 24/04/2020
modern office with lamps and Vitra style chairs
Insights • Workplace

The Challenges of Returning to Work

The return to work is considered across 3-time horizons and across 5 key areas from integrated facilities management, work space, people and future work patterns, to buildings and portfolio.
Nicola Gillen • 21/04/2020
New Normal (image)
Research • Workplace

Workplace Trends Accelerated – and Reversed – by COVID-19

Which changes are actual disruptions of the status quo, and which are just accelerations of a pre-existing trend?
David Smith • 22/06/2020
Nicola Gillen
Nicola Gillen

EMEA Lead, Total Workplace
London, United Kingdom


Nicola.Gillen@cushwake.com

Download VCard

Previous COVID-19 articles

modern office with lamps and Vitra style chairs
Insights • Workplace

The Challenges of Returning to Work

The return to work is considered across 3-time horizons and across 5 key areas from integrated facilities management, work space, people and future work patterns, to buildings and portfolio.
Nicola Gillen • 21/04/2020
high rise apartment block looking up
Insights • Investment

COVID-19 and Alternatives

Investors in specialist sectors such as student accommodation, life sciences, retirement living, data centres, healthcare, co-working, hotels and residential are seeking to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the underlying operational businesses as quickly as possible.

David Haynes • 21/04/2020
University laboratory US petridish
Insights • Lab

Life Sciences Looking Forward

Life science: from academia, to businesses and clinicians, the sector has never been more at the forefront of society.
21/04/2020
empty lecture theatre
Insights • Education

Student Accommodation

The lack of certainty over the 2020/21 academic year and impact on student intake has caused some investors to be more cautious. 
Sarah Jones • 21/04/2020
elderly gentleman's hand place over each other on walking stick
Insights • Lab

Senior Living Resilience During Uncertainty

As a needs-based product, senior living real estate has historically proven to be more recession-resilient and stable than traditional real estate sectors.
Caryn Donahue • 21/04/2020
sand timer with red colour sand
Insights • Residential

Residential - Timing Is Everything

The UK residential market continues to be impacted further with the Government’s advice to close down the new homes and secondhand markets.
 
Charles Whitworth • 21/04/2020
Manchester
Insights • Commentary

Rethinking Density

Putting people together creates value. This principle is now being significantly challenged by COVID-19. Do we need to rethink density? If so, do we also need to rethink cities and offices?
 
Richard Pickering • 21/04/2020
red steel building
Insights • Commentary

UK Real Estate Perspectives

As the COVID-19 pandemic envelops the globe, we are committed to providing our clients with up to the minute intelligence and commentary as to what is happening in the real estate markets.
Digby Flower • 24/09/2020
young white man working in cafe with laptop and headphones
Insights • Workplace

Future of Work and Place

COVID-19 will cure our inertia: we have had the technology to work from home for years. Management attitudes have held us back. Trust remains an issue. Modern leaders manage through outputs not presenteeism.
Nicola Gillen • 24/03/2020
Rebalance work life_Ep3 (image)
Podcast • Workplace

Staying Informed and Collaborating Virtually

In the third podcast of the “Rebalancing the Work-Life Experience” series, our attention shifts to two further drivers of workplace experience: staying informed and collaborative teamwork.
Nicola Gillen • 24/04/2020
modern office with lamps and Vitra style chairs
Insights • Workplace

The Challenges of Returning to Work

The return to work is considered across 3-time horizons and across 5 key areas from integrated facilities management, work space, people and future work patterns, to buildings and portfolio.
Nicola Gillen • 21/04/2020
New Normal (image)
Research • Workplace

Workplace Trends Accelerated – and Reversed – by COVID-19

Which changes are actual disruptions of the status quo, and which are just accelerations of a pre-existing trend?
David Smith • 22/06/2020

CAN'T FIND WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?

Get in touch with one of our professionals.