Knight Frank shares roadmap for re-occupying workplace post lockdown

Published: 28 April 2020 - 12:12 p.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira

This news may come as a surprise to some of our readers as being slightly off-beat to the tech-realted updates we normally share on our portals. We thought it would be intersting to note a few findings of the report given that most of us work in an office space.

Knight Frank, global property adviser, has put together a general roadmap to suggest businesses resume operations safely once lockdown sanctions have lifted, whilst ensuring the safety and wellness of employees and continuing to decrease the spread of Covid-19.

Knight Frank’s Strategic Workplace Consultancy team developed the roadmap based on current accepted re-occupancy procedure being trialled in Asia and supported by the U.S. government. This includes social distancing within the office, and extended working from home on a part time basis to allow reintegration into the workplace.

The roadmap is designed to support occupiers in five clear areas: understanding their employee base, reviewing the employee/ customer journey within the workplace, evaluating social distancing options, determining occupancy impact and developing protocols.

The roadmap, which helps businesses determine best practice for re-occupying offices, identifies two categories of change that will need to occur in order to safely re-enter the workplace.

The first is behavioural changes, ensuring that strict protocols such as clear desk policies are applied, and that social distancing is possible within the workplace.

The second is environmental changes including increased air flow, changing HVAC filters or enhancing cleaning regimes.

P.P. Varghese, head of real estate strategy and consultancy at Knight Frank said: “With various countries in the GCC now starting to ease the severity of the lockdown, it is imperative that businesses adopt a robust process for the re-occupancy of their premises.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising that social distancing should continue as workforces return, a model that is currently being adopted in China. However, adapting office environments to best facilitate collaboration, whilst also ensuring safe working practices and limiting the risk of COVID-19 is a difficult challenge. Knight Frank have developed this framework to provide an important first step for businesses to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus. We will need to adapt to a new normal, at least for the foreseeable future, which combines both the importance of collaboration, social interactions and conducting business whilst mitigating fear and protecting the workforce.”

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