How to Return to the Office After Covid-19 Lockdown

Rita Akekelwa | June 23, 2020 | Covid-19

If you are thinking about opening up your offices, you need a game plan to do so and we have exactly what you need to open up shop in the most safe and secure way possible.

COVID-19 has hit the real estate industry hard. Companies have gone into lockdown and operations have slowed down significantly. Your agency needs a post-COVID-19 recovery plan. You need to come out the other side swinging. The ultimate aim is to generate real estate leads on supercharge. Read on below for our expert tips and guidelines.

Health & Wellness is a Top Priority

Well, this is a no-brainer. The pandemic is a health issue, so you need a plan that speaks to health concerns directly. Owners and landlords, in particular, have to support the well-being of their employees.

You need to think about how to ensure a safe workplace. Also, employees need to be confident that you care about their health. A secure and happy worker is a lead generating machine!

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We suggest you arrange for visitor screening services, online hubs, well-being tool kits, and mobility ambassadors. So many measures don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Make the most of your existing resources and think outside the square!

Look at the general building facilities too. If you have gyms, showers, and lockers these may need to stay closed. Sweat and heavy breathing are fodder for virus transmission! If you don’t want to shut these down completely, find effective ways to limit access.

This brings us to the next point. Have a good look at your air filtration system. It may need an upgrade to ensure good, effective air filtration. Here’s a handy tip: set the HVAC systems to operate on full fresh air instead of recirculation.

The air conditioning systems can also be pre-purged. Lastly, put in UVG (ultraviolet germicidal light) in the units. These actions improve indoor air quality overall. We all need to breathe easy; in more ways than one!

How Should You Rethink Your Space?

That’s a great question. We’ll break it down for you. Here are some practical suggestions. If it’s too overwhelming, you can always adopt a staggered approach to implementation.

Access to amenities and common areas:

  • Limit staff crowding in communal areas like the cafeteria and gym.
  • Have staff bring their own lunches to limit trips outside the office. Encourage staff to make use of delivery services that provide pre-packaged meals.
  • The heavy use of kitchen equipment should be managed well. Regular cleaning is essential.
  • Have clear guidelines for how and when staff will occupy the premises. For example, think of introducing rotational shifts.

Make Use of Technology

  • If you have the budget for it, you could implement health screening robotics and touchless technology. Also, continue to support remote work as much as you can.
  • Utilize existing technology to monitor and provide occupancy and access.

Strategies for Spatial Distancing

  • Plan for and manage congestion build up in areas like lifts.
  • Make use of virtual technology like video conferencing.
  • Establish guidelines for on-site meetings, or limit them altogether.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times.

Assess Your Office Layout

  • Try to avoid “hot desking” for a while longer.
  • Have cleaning protocols in place for shared workplaces.
  • Find a way to repurpose spaces that are underutilized.
  • Reconfigure furniture and redesign floorplans as needed.
  • Install touchless technologies especially for trash receptacles and restrooms.

Workplace & Property Operations

Getting your buildings and workplace operations ready for a post-COVID comeback is no small feat. Spaces need to be resilient, safe, and up to scratch for the new normal. Your buildings and technical systems should comply with government regulations and be checked for safety.

You may need to adjust to a reduced workforce by reorganizing operations accordingly. It’s best you put a firm implementation strategy in place. Have it in writing as a document that can easily be referenced.

This documentation could include specifics on decontamination cleaning, risk inspections, and safety & compliance practices. Consider contingency and scenario planning exercises, and creating an emergency response team.

Stepping up cleaning protocols:

  • Work out deep cleaning protocols for your janitors. Also, try to stick to the same janitorial company for ease of implementation.
  • If you employ your own cleaning staff, make sure you provide them proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and training.
  • Target high touch, high traffic spaces for your cleaning. Make sure bathrooms, elevator buttons, door handles, kitchenettes, and common areas are frequently wiped down.
  • Provide dedicated disposal bins for masks and other PPE.

Schedule safety inspections:

  • Assess the safety of escalator transport systems.
  • Make sure your inspection program aligns with regulatory requirements.
  • Test fire and emergency electrical systems.

Building systems plus equipment readiness:

  • Safely re-instate cooling and heating systems.
  • Identify and address issues pertaining to the building’s technical systems.
  • Make every effort to prepare the safe re-opening of your offices.

Re-examine energy supply contracts:

  • Read through your energy supply contract to identify if there is any need for changes.
  • Assess cooling and heating zone controls.
  • Make variations to equipment schedules to reflect hours of occupation.

Should You Still Be Chasing New Business?

So now you know how to prepare your office for life post COVID. The building, systems, and operational protocols are on your checklist. But there’s one more thing. The question of lead generation may be bothering you. After all, this is the heart of your real estate business.

Is it even ethical to chase leads right now? Or you may be wondering if it’s even worth it. You may have heard bad real estate news and it’s getting you down. Well, here’s some good news. There’s actually no time like the present to get more business. Studies show that new business conversations are happening daily. So, don’t be the one agency to miss out!

Even during a pandemic, there’s a market for what you have to offer. At the very least you should be warming up your leads. We all know that the real estate sales cycle is a long one anyway. It may be slightly longer during a recession, but there is still enough pie out there for everyone.

If you want to give yourself the best chance to generate real estate leads, try our Home Value Leads service. We’ve perfected the art of lead generation. We do this through our functional, high converting seller landing pages. You’ll be surprised at how many leads you’ll get even in these tough times. With our 14 days free trial, you’ll have nothing to lose. So go on and give it a try.


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Rita Akekelwa

Rita is a professional real estate and finance writer who has built up a multi-disciplinary portfolio over the years. She has over ten years of writing experience, focusing on the U.S and Australian markets. Her topics have ranged from credit scores to home loans, mortgage redraws, and refinancing. She has a natural ability to dig deep into her subjects, crafting the highest quality informative texts.