The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies across the country to allow their employees to work from home, and a lot of these companies are now considering making their telecommute policies permanent. Real estate investment and property services firm Onxy Equities has opted to reopen its office buildings however and recently revealed its guidelines and protocols, Real Estate NJ reports. The company consulted with healthcare, environmental and design experts to create its guidelines.
Onyx Managing Principal John Saraceno told Real Estate NJ that the company has been operating its buildings for essential businesses with social distancing restrictions. However, Saraceno noted a lot of tenants want to return at scale as the region moves ahead following the pandemic.
“(Onyx has) assessed every touch point our tenants encounter, modified our operations and presented our plan in webinars to tenants at each property and they have been incredibly supportive,” Saraceno said.
Onyx’ reopening protocols
The company has created a study, alongside environmental hygienists and other healthcare workers, that offers a best practices operating manual comprising testing and disinfecting programs.
“COVID-19 is displacing companies from New York and elsewhere who no longer wish to expose their workers to public transportation, so our preparation here is very mindful that our assets may be appealing to an entirely new cohort of tenancy,” Saraceno told Real Estate NJ. “It is imperative that we demonstrate leadership here in a way to create confidence in the marketplace generally.”
Hillman Consulting provided an independent environmental assessment and reopening recommendations for the buildings in Onyx’ nearly 7 million square foot portfolio. The company is now requiring tenants pass out the new guidelines to their employees, which include occupancy limits and masks. The company also plans to have an “experience ambassador” at each of its properties to ensure tenants are following social distancing requests, wearing protective gear and keeping elevator occupancy to two people. Building entrants might also have their temperatures read.
“By being thorough and disciplined, COVID-19 is a reality that we can manage effectively in the office environment,” Onyx Vice President of Property Management Kristen Pappas said. “Our portfolio of esteemed tenants requires that we confront COVID-19 to comprehensively support their commitment to their employees’ health, so while we are insisting on face coverings, that is only the beginning of the precautions we have invoked. The work that we have done to address a zero-defect environment creates a formidable standard in the marketplace.”
Onyx provided employees with self-screening guidelines that include nine requirements that they should review every morning and before they leave the office. Each retailer and restaurant has separate plans to follow, Real Estate NJ reports. Meanwhile, Onxy will offer cleaning programs for tenant spaces and it installed hands-free technology throughout its properties such as locks, wipe stations and restrooms.
“We know that companies are more effective and productive when people work together, and we know they want to be here — but not at the expense of their health,” Pappas said. “The only answer is a set of simple procedures that will quickly become the new normal. While our screening will identify anyone whose temperature suggests they might be ill, the process truly begins at home, with each person being committed to maintaining a safe environment for those around them.”