Experts concur: the pandemic is hurting commercial properties more seriously than the global financial crisis did earlier this century. Quarantines, social distancing, shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, employment loss, shifting work locations and damaged consumer confidence have severely affected commercial property worldwide. Experts point to one bright spot, however: exceptional management services are key to satisfying, retaining and gaining tenants. And that means implementing effective COVID-19 protocols.
“Tenants agree: they want buildings with strict processes – and supervision to ensure compliance – to prevent virus spread, whether their occupants are office employees, consumers, shift workers or hotel guests,” says Leslie Anderson, Paul Davis Vice President of Training and Launch. “Tenants have lots of choices as vast tracts of commercial real estate become available. You want your property to be the safest option with the best protocols.”
Paul Davis has been working closely with its many commercial building customers, ensuring that their pandemic planning includes these critical steps:
- Review regulations and guidelines. Building owners and managers must identify and follow all applicable governmental regulations – local through provincial and national – and public health recommendations to ensure their buildings implement the latest measures. Further, they must regularly monitor these sources because guidance changes frequently.
- Review building parameters. Review building layout to identify areas for improving virus safety. Can you increase ventilation? Where can you Install partitions or modify seating arrangements to prevent congregating and appropriately distance occupants? Can you encourage stair use as alternatives to crowded elevators?
- Review building operations. Map out activities on the property to identify process changes that protect occupants. Plan and apply new traffic patterns, set lower occupancy limits, and establish methods that help promote distancing. Some property owners require those visiting the building regularly to certify that they have reviewed, understand and will comply with safety requirements.
- Identify and modify high-hazard actions. Identify actions that promote contact with high-touch surfaces. Many buildings are closing public water fountains, limiting access to public restrooms, placing hand sanitizer stations, offering disposable masks and installing motion sensor doors, lights and faucets. Others are applying disposable covers to touchpads and the like that are replaced regularly. Owners are utilizing technology, too, to decrease contacts and touchpoints such as electronic signature technology and touch-to-pay kiosks that eliminate credit card handling.
- Plan cleaning procedures. Create a detailed cleaning SOP that specifies items and areas to be cleaned, necessary supplies and equipment, timing intervals, staffing requirements and staffing assignments. Ensure that SOPs identify supply partners who can meet supply needs without interruption. Also important: ensure that cleaning products meet parameters approved by regulatory agencies to treat the virus.
- Signage and communications. Evaluate where and what types of signage are needed – queuing instructions, masking requirements, disinfecting schedules, social distancing pointers – to guide building occupants. Additionally, consider targeted communications via email, virtual meetings, video and website updates to keep tenants and visitors apprised of the property’s protective protocols.
- Response planning. Create procedures – or update your existing emergency plan to include processes – that activate if an occupant tests positive for COVID-19: cordoning off areas, assigning trained cleaning crews, specifying PPE types, communicating with tenants, testing protocols and more.
In most cases, Paul Davis not only helps commercial customers plan but executes the plans as well. “Paul Davis helps thousands of commercial customers clean, install signage, train staff, respond to confirmed COVID-19 cases and much more across Canada and the United States,” Anderson concludes. “Our experts help protect not just the health of occupants and tenants, but the health of your business, too.”
Seeking assistance combatting COVID-19 risks at your commercial property? Paul Davis promises to respond within four hours of a call for help.