As we look ahead, EQ Office remains as committed as ever to the well-being and success of your organizations.
We believe a focus on humanity in the workplace allows us to thrive. This hasn’t changed, and it has become ever more important as we address the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on workplace trends. Our mission is to provide environments that are safe, adaptable and offer the ease that our customers need and expect.
The transition back will be different for each customer across various communities and environments. EQ is working to address a range of needs at our properties in the coming weeks and months, including the following:
OUR COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY
Protecting the safety and well-being of all building occupants is a top priority. We continue to explore and implement best-in-class property operations that drive proper hygiene and disinfection, based on guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local authorities. We have been working on upgrades in air filtration, climate control and touchless technology. We also remain committed to extensive communication and messaging across each property, to remind returning tenants of actions necessary to protect your safety. Upon returning to work, you will notice signage reminding occupants to maintain social distancing and wear face coverings while in common areas.
OUR COMMITMENT TO CONVENIENCE
Having flexibility during this transition and doing everything to help our customers is paramount. We offer resources to tenants, regardless of your individual re-entry plans. This includes offering health and wellness programs at our properties, which will remain accessible virtually for tenants working remotely. We are reassessing our common areas and implementing specific plans tailored to each property, which may include layout changes to furniture and the types of materials used.
OUR COMMITMENT TO COLLABORATION
EQ is here to support you at every step of your re-entry to the workplace. We have developed a plan to address your needs and provide support. The content is based on your responses to our recent email survey – your continued time and thoughtful answers are so appreciated.
We continue to explore additional resources to help you and will continue to share information and updates across individual properties. Our property managers are standing by to answer questions related to your re-entry.
I look forward to welcoming you back.
Lisa PicardCEO of EQ Office
EQ’s vision has always focused on collaboration with all its tenants. This has allowed us to remain flexible while prioritizing safety and well-being.
In developing resources, our customer-centric approach has emphasized controlling exposure to minimize risk. Our primary goals have been effective solutions for workplace safety, organized as a “hierarchy of controls.”
Our work reentry playbook and guidance are dynamic, iterative resources that will continue to evolve with research, knowledge and experience, as we continue to learn about the impact of this pandemic.
As part of our collaborative, customer-centric approach to work re-entry, EQ surveyed more than 500 customers across 10 regions, 23 cities and 33 different industries, to gauge individual needs and provide the best support. We've summarized some main insights below:
68% of tenants believe their senior leadership is at least somewhat comfortable with employees returning to the workplace.
Employees indicate concerns about cleaning/ disinfection of common areas, adherence to social distancing guidance in common areas and crowded elevators.
96% of all responding tenants would be at least somewhat supportive of longer elevator times. Only 67% of tenants with 5,001 to 10,000 employees would be somewhat supportive.
Although local market timelines and requirements continue to evolve across the country, EQ has implemented the following common work re-entry measures at our properties across the country:
Health, Hygiene & Cleanliness
We will continue to work closely with our cleaning service providers and contractors to implement the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Security and cleaning personnel will wear gloves, and cleaning wipes will be kept at the security desk to regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces. Hand-sanitizer dispensers are available throughout the building. Day Porters will regularly wipe down handrails and other touch points throughout the lobby.
If tenants would like to take additional preventative actions, our facilities cleaning service provider is available to provide tenant-specific cleaning.
We encourage tenants to contact their property manager with questions about any of these measures.
EQ has developed a methodology for assessing and improving air quality with COVID-19 in mind. Where possible, properties will work to improve air and water filtration systems and eventually increase the use of outside fresh air, balancing humidity to maintain moderate levels.
Communications & Noticing
Signage will be posted throughout the building to promote safe practices for our community. Please familiarize yourself with all building signage and adhere to the practices specified.
Please frequently check your property’s website for the latest information and updates.
As always, we encourage tenants to contact their property manager with questions about any of these measures.
Path of Travel
Like our customers, each one of our spaces is unique, and we have deployed numerous measures tailored to each property.
As we prepare for the return to work, we want to provide tools to keep you and your teammates safe and effective. While we encourage you and your teammates to carefully review and implement CDC recommendations and state and local guidance and directives applicable to your operations, the following are a few key considerations for teams to think through to ensure a safe re-entry into the business community. EQ is here to support your transition and co-create a plan that considers the community at large.
In accordance with CDC recommendations, everyone should practice physical distancing (6 feet apart) while on the property. Seating in lobbies and common areas may remain closed until further notice. Security will monitor activity for social-distancing practices.
Security guards may assist at lobbies to coordinate elevators for visitors and tenants. Please adhere to physical distancing when waiting for elevator access and limit occupancy when using the elevators. As previously mentioned, we ask occupants to wear face coverings, especially when space is limited for the required 6 feet of physical distancing, such as inside elevator cars. Hand-sanitizer stations may also be installed at elevator banks.
Please remember stairwells may be an option for access to tenant floors.
Garages may continue to accommodate those with monthly parking permits. Some levels may serve as visitor parking. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes may be offered by valet parking teams before and after handling cars. Masks should be worn in the garage, as in all areas of the property.
The loading dock entrances at some properties may be used as access points for contractors and vendors.
Visitors will check in at the lobby desk and be assisted at the high-rise or low-rise destination dispatch panel. An elevator will be called for them. Visitors are required to wear a face covering and are expected to follow physical-distancing guidelines while in the building.
We continue to follow local guidance when making decisions to reopen amenities. Please contact your Property Manager for updates regarding the reopening of amenities in your building.
The measures described above are just some of the actions that EQ will be taking, as well as the procedures that will be implemented to support a safe re-entry into your building. Detailed protocols for each building, developed around CDC recommendations and state and local government guidance and directives, will be circulated by your property manager.
Signage & Wayfinding
To manage the flow of traffic, some properties will have alternate main entrances. Please follow the traffic pattern as directed by the signage within the building.
The transition back to the office post COVID-19 will not be business-as-usual.
An organization’s successful return to work will take time and require a thoughtful approach that addresses changes in people’s habits and behavior as well as company spaces and procedures.
Every organization’s return to the office will be different and should be customized based on its workplace culture, objectives and work styles. To guide the planning process, we have assembled a checklist of categories and items that organizations may wish to consider. What follows is provided as a resource tool, and each organization will adapt processes and protocols as it finds most appropriate.
Change Management + Coaching
Create a “Return to the Workplace” committee that will act as a center for escalation, decision making, and resolution. Be sure to include members from all departments.
Develop your plan-of-action in advance of return dates and give employees adequate time to prepare.
Survey your organization to help facilitate decisions when creating the Return to Workplace plan.
Consider recruiting change “champions” as point persons for addressing questions.
Do supervisors and managers have appropriate support and training to help them succeed in their key roles as change agents? I.E. - Set expectations - Model behaviors - Foster a team spirit.
Communication + Outreach
Establish a clear communication strategy and schedule to keep employees up to date, including: steps you are taking to assure them of a healthy environment, new workplace policies and protocols, frequently asked questions, and points of contact for questions, concerns.
Consider how you’ll direct professionals to information and resources. Examples include establishing a help line or the use of “change champions.”
How can you take the pulse of the organization by gathering input from employees about their readiness and/or willingness to return to the workplace?
Craft an office etiquette guide for employees, to clearly communicate new protocols and procedures.
Continually monitor progress and survey how employees are adapting, through surveys, town halls or other listening forums. Keep an open dialogue to maintain ongoing communication.
Continually provide training on policies and protocols.
Flexible Work Strategy + Collaboration
Determine what work/functions/roles need to be on site and with what frequency.
Determine if and how you can stagger return in stages, i.e. alternating workdays/weeks for teams (A/B).
Utilize employee surveys, productivity data or other measures to guide the planning that determines which teams to bring back in the early stages.
Decide how you will monitor who is working in the office and who is working from home. What office technology is required to provide a safe and healthy work environment?
Review your new flex approach and determine whether any training is necessary for the workforce to be productive in the new normal.
Think through your IT needs. What are your plans to modernize platforms that support business priorities? Should you review video- conferencing technology and media guidelines and capabilities? What is your plan to manage cyber risk and privacy risk while employees work from home?
Think through ways to drive culture in a distributed work environment.
Physical and Mental Wellness Resources + Policies
Develop policies and programs. Review flexible work policy, travel policies, benefits policies, PTO policies.
Provide access to physical and emotional well-being resources; recognize and address fear of return to work.
Educate managers and leaders on worker concerns, the resources available and actions to take if a worker is potentially ill.
Reinforce listening channels; pulse employees regularly to determine hot spots for wellness interventions.
We continue to approach the situation with an abundance of caution and follow guidance from the CDC, as well as executive orders from local government authorities. We will work closely with our facilities' cleaning service providers and contractors to help prevent the spread of the virus in the building. We will also continue to notify tenants in the building upon learning of a confirmed case. Here are some resources to review as you plan your return to the workplace.
The following are some of the most common inquiries received across our properties as our customers plan to transition back to the workplace. Please contact your property manager with any questions not addressed here.
How is EQ helping tenants plan their return to the workplace?
We’re pleased to be working with each tenant individually to ensure their employees’ return to work is a smooth transition, depending on the organization’s needs. That said, we’re continuing to reassure all our tenants that their safety and health is our top priority and at the forefront of everything we’re doing. We’ve communicated how closely EQ is working with our facilities cleaning service provider to ensure that they are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, as well as using a disinfectant containing an active ingredient recommended by the EPA.
What workplace changes can tenants expect as they return to work?
The health and safety of EQ visitors, tenants and employees will always be our top priority. The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented and posed unique challenges. As a result, we are implementing a number of new measures throughout our portfolio of properties, including:
Increased cleaning of regular touch points throughout the building
More sanitization stations throughout the building
New security procedures that encourage physical distancing, such as adding further separation between guests and our security desk, swiping IDs versus handling them directly
For more information about operations in your building, please contact your property manager.
What will happen in the event of a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in one of the buildings?
We continue to approach the situation with an abundance of caution and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as executive orders from local government authorities. We will work closely with our facilities cleaning service providers and contractors to help prevent the spread of the virus in the building. We will also continue to notify tenants in the building upon learning of a confirmed case. For more information about resources in your building, please contact your property manager.