Speak with managers to see if this had an impact on productivity and collaboration. Work with curated experience experts to scale this up with detailed occupant journeys, taking into account demographic and working-style splits between different teams.
Work closely with technology to quantify everything you can, including any physical assets used by occupants, and you will be in a strong position to deliver modern, data-driven office spaces occupants will thrive in.
How can I ensure that my workforce is safe in a post-COVID 19 world?
While we are still waiting for national and international scientific advice to guide us in this area, we can start to prepare ourselves with the relevant data points and measures that will prove useful in the future.
Measuring core real estate metrics such as square foot per person / workstation will become a core measure by which we will all be judged. While some believe this means an increase in space to achieve lower density (and much higher costs), we believe that a more intelligent use of existing space and capabilities promises better results.
Improved use of collaboration technologies is already in full flow. Working closely with technology teams to roll out tracing apps will no doubt become commonplace, as companies seek to ensure that headcount densities remain low. A massive increase in the number of ‘contactless’ features such as automatic doors will be needed. Dividers and well-spaced desks, coupled with work-from-home rotas, will ensure employees are protected.
A root-and-branch review of FM services will also be needed, particularly around cleaning (which will see a scaling-up) and catering (which will likely be scaled down).
More info – https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/14/21211789/coronavirus-office-space-work-from-home-design-architecture-real-estate
Considerations for CRE Leaders
To get the best out of CRE and HR teams, leaders need to remain assertive and focus on the positives of maintaining a close relationship. Without consistent focus teams drift apart, and their objectives diverge. To avoid this, focus on the following goals:
Maintain your relationships
Ensure that you stay in regular touch at all levels with your peers in HR. Visibility of their goals, areas of focus, and the challenges they’re facing will go a long way in making sure that your objectives remain closely aligned.
Regular meetings, share insights, adopt ways of working
Where possible, establishing knowledge share sessions between CRE and HR teams to exchange case studies and insights in your respective fields. Getting people into a room (or a Zoom call) and telling stories is the best way to encourage collaboration and resolve issues.
Keep CRE relevant
Traditionally, real estate has been seen as a low-innovation support function within major corporates. But recently, real estate teams have begun to take a more central role in long-term business strategies. CRE leaders must maintain this momentum by emphasising the potential of a well-run estate to C-suites. Share success stories, communicate insights to leadership, and stress the criticality of connected CRE / HR / technology strategies for attracting, retaining, and getting the most out of talent.
Privacy and trust
With the potential for technology to measure areas such as real-time property utilization and employee productivity, privacy naturally comes to the forefront as a risk worth discussing. When engaging with HR and technology teams to carry out initiatives of this nature, ensure that you communicate the importance of privacy to your stakeholders and follow through with this by implementing strict privacy standards to protect employees.
With new working practices thrust upon us, we are in a unique position to completely re-think the role of CRE functions within wider organizations. By sharing data and aligning goals with HR, and by leveraging the capabilities of your technology partners, you will be well positioned to challenge the scepticism many C-suites have about the ability for real estate to be fundamental for the long-term success of your organization.