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Member Survey: Covid-19 - Returning to the office

A third of real estate investment managers will start returning in some form to their offices starting in June and running through July, according to a member survey.

A few firms are targeting dates in May, while many are still undecided. For a smaller number, the transition back into the office may be delayed until September and through the fall of 2020.

To download the full member survey, click here. (Raw SurveyMonkey results)

The big picture: There's no rush to return. Few managers, in speaking with NAREIM for a special report on Returning to the Office policies, wanted to be early subscribers to being first back. “We are thinking what are our goals in terms of returning and we’re taking our time with that. For us it’s about safety, connectivity and productivity. I think, therefore, we’ll be at the slow end of returning," one chief risk officer said.

  • Creating a "bubble of health". The key is to minimize interactions between employees, visitors, delivery persons and all points of physical contact to the lowest extent possible. As well as increased sanitation, decreased density through staff rotations and staggered start times, limiting conference room seating and keeping office doors open as much as possible, members also recommended:

  • Providing lunches to all employees each day

  • Decommissioning shared computers in conference rooms, closing communal spaces altogether or creating pre-ordering systems for kitchen use, and limiting toilets to one person only at a time

  • Conducting regular employee surveys

  • Creating one-way corridor systems or marked lanes on corridor floors

The report and survey also highlighted member best practices on travel, vacation, the provision of masks for employees and lessons learned from working from home.

Masks: Nine out of 10 NAREIM members will also provide masks for employees, with the majority saying they would be required to be worn when people are on the move in the office.

Travel: Corporate travel will be all but restricted to property operations, transactions, capital raising and major institutional investor relationships, likely through 2020 - with most travel requiring approval from senior managers.

To download the full member survey, click here.

To download the NAREIM special report on Returning to the Office policies, click here

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