How to safely return employees to the office is a topic on many minds.
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., one of the largest brokerages in the world, is trying to help clients navigate reopening, in part by demonstrating the success of its own efforts.
“We’ve got a pretty involved process. We’re using that for our clients as well to make sure we are doing it in a safe and responsible manner,” said Peter Belisle, JLL’s market director for the Southwest region.
JLL has a defined path of travel for employees in the office. This plan helps with circulation and ensures that people are not passing each other on the way to the water cooler.
Employees who are not at their desks must wear a mask, and conference rooms have reduced seating to allow for social distancing. A conference room that once held 10 may now only hold three people, Belisle said. Chairs that can be used are often marked.
The company also has protocols in place for kitchen and bathroom areas.
In addition, there is hand sanitizer every 20 feet and disinfecting wipes in common areas.
JLL has also provided everyone who comes in with two washable masks.
The company started by bringing 25% of its workers back and then ramped up to 50%, although the full 50% is never in at one time and shifts never overlap.
Now clients are turning to JLL for help when they reopen.
“We have a number of our clients that have engaged us to put together their protocols for reopening,” Belisle said. “If you’re a bank, your business is banking; it’s not this operation real estate thought process.”
Some of the things JLL is helping clients with include using acrylic screens, which hold the virus for less time than some other surfaces, adding markers on floors and elevators, using security to open doors and queue up elevators, and touchless badges to get in buildings and elevators.
“Property management, which we do a lot of, is usually the unsung hero in the real estate industry. With something like this, it comes to the forefront,” Belisle said.
So far, he added, most clients are trying to understand what they can do with their existing floorplans — such as having people come in on rotating days so they are only sitting in every third station — and not investing in new office spaces.
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