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Vanke Service and Cushman & Wakefield JV: Effective Property Management during a Crisis

Edward Law • 5/6/2020

property management during a crisis (image)

During a global health crisis like COVID-19, commercial properties can be vulnerable to security breaches or other unexpected emergencies, raising concerns around asset protection and security for landlords.  While the broad-reaching impact of this pandemic is without equal in recent history, the Vanke Service and Cushman & Wakefield Joint Venture (“the JV”) took several measures to manage the pandemic and its impact, creating a foundation to help landlords effectively manage the crisis response.  

Swift and Unified Responses to Different Levels of Emergencies   
It goes without saying that in times of crisis, organizations should be prepared to go above and beyond to provide additional support and resources for clients. Here’s what the JV did.

First, we created a special pandemic prevention taskforce, led by the JV’s CEO Johnson Yip, to identify and target several levels of emergency scenarios. The taskforce then quickly conceived and developed strategies to resolve various scenarios.  

Operational Guidelines for Frontline Teams 
Next, in an effort to institutionalize work processes across the business during this critical period, the JV issued guidelines to our teams on the ground. Called Operation Manual for Handling the Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures, these guidelines provided instructions and ensured that our teams met critical requirements to provide business continuity to our clients. They also served to prepare our teams for a potential resurgence of COVID-19.  

A three-level emergency system, at the heart of the operating manuals, guided teams on corresponding levels of response as well on when to initiate various response measures.  Through these clear instructions, teams were able to mitigate the impact of the challenges they were facing day to day.  

Leverage Available Resources or Expertise 
The JV was able to leverage strong support from both Cushman & Wakefield and Vanke Service. That support allowed us to remain active in procuring resources and materials as well as deploying manpower across service projects. For example, we provided resources to work with government officials to disinfect buildings and equipment, deliver virus samples to laboratories, and prepare meals for isolation wards and essential employees, ensuring we met daily operational requirements. 

Consistent Communications and Support for Improved Client Experience 
Leading up to the recovery, the JV also prepared client communications that provided helpful reminders and guidelines. These included recommendations for flexible work policies and staggered work hours to prevent crowding in public areas of buildings. Our building personnel also implemented digital registration systems so that workers could return to the workplace and sign in efficiently.   Additionally, our teams ensured building users followed social distancing measures and protocols. We set up temperature-taking checkpoints and installed signage and floor markers within lobbies and lifts to help establish safe distances. The JV also ensured that facilities were stocked with sanitizers, wipes and masks for public use.  Building personnel disinfected different areas of the buildings several times a day. And additional resources were deployed to direct traffic in parking lots to prevent overcrowding, ensuring that pick-ups, deliveries and drop-offs were efficient and safe.  

Facilitating the Return to Work 
By making the best use of existing resources and providing timely instructions and insights, the Vanke Service and Cushman & Wakefield joint venture was able to assist clients during the crisis, as well as help them prepare to return to work safely. As of April, the JV has assisted clients in more than 80 cities across the country, and more than 10,000 companies, over 800,000 employees (approximately 95% of total), have successfully returned to work. 

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