After an undoubtedly demanding year, we at EQ Office look forward to beginning a phase of collective renewal for all.
Our success is based on the success of our customers and the renewal of our communities, period.
As I consider my own return to work, I’m driven by the fluidity of life and renewal. I recall a quote by Bruce Lee, and his common references to water. “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”
The return to work will need to be very fluid. We will flow and fill several shapes before we rest into what is normalcy for each of us. Know that EQ continues to work with our customers and partners to support the individual office reentry at every step of the way. We have implemented best-in-class operations to support your safety following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local governments. Your onsite management teams are on standby to provide guidance.
We continue to explore resources, technologies and solutions to support your success, and we look forward to sharing more information as we navigate the changes forward.
I invite you to navigate this pivotal moment and be like water, my friends.
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 maintain a physical distance of at least six feet while on the property. You may notice changes to the capacity and seating arrangements in lobbies and common areas, subject to local guidance. Security will monitor activity and encourage 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 has taken to help ensure the health and well-being of our communities and support your reentry to the workplace. Your property manager has developed detailed protocols for each building, following the latest CDC recommendations and state and local government guidance. Please contact your property manager with questions.
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 COVID-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity to rethink the “workplace.”
Following a demanding year, we recognize that instilling humanity in communities and workplaces is more important than ever. Organizations must continue adopting a thoughtful approach that addresses changes in people’s habits and behavior, as well as company spaces and procedures.
Organizations should customize their return to workplace based on individual cultures, objectives and work styles. To guide the planning process, we have assembled a checklist of categories and items that organizations may consider. We have provided a resource tool to help each organization adapt processes and protocols as needed.
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, and concerns.
Ensure employees are equipped with the latest guidance from the CDC, state and local
public health authorities, as well as their worksite’s latest property recommendations
and requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Consider how you’ll direct professionals to information and resources. Examples include
establishing a help line or the use of “change champions.”
Keep a pulse on the organization by gathering input from employees about their readiness and expectations for a return to the workplace.
Craft an office etiquette guide for employees to clearly communicate new protocols and
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
Acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted communities, workplaces and homes. Workplace reentry may look different for each organization, office and individual.
Determine which functions and roles need to be on-site and with what frequency.
Determine if and how you can stagger return in stages by alternating workdays or weeks
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, and consider what office technology may help to promote a 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 videoconferencing technology and multimedia
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, and to support employees through a challenging time.
Physical and Mental Wellness Resources + Policies
Recognize the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our communities, our workplaces and our homes.
Adapt company policies and programs. Review flexible work policy, travel policies, benefits policies, PTO policies.
Provide access to physical and emotional well-being resources; recognize the challenges of the past year and address employee concerns related to workplace reentry.
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 cautiously, and we continue to follow the requirements from local governments and the latest guidance from the CDC. We will closely coordinate with our facilities' cleaning service providers and contractors to help prevent the spread of the virus in the building. If we are informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the property, we will gather all the necessary information to determine next steps and notify tenants or other potentially impacted parties as soon as possible. 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?
The people who occupy our spaces form an integral part of the EQ community, and we’re pleased to support our tenants’ transition back to the workplace based on their individual needs. Wellness in the workplace is paramount at this time, and we’re continuing to reassure all our tenants that their health and well-being is our top priority. In addition to providing various resources to support tenants’ office reentry, we’re working closely with our facilities cleaning service providers 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 enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched 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 remains our top priority. As we rethink “work” and continue to design effective workspaces, we are implementing additional measures throughout our portfolio of properties, including:
Increased cleaning of regular touch points throughout the building
More sanitization stations throughout the building
New procedures to 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?
The health and safety of all occupants will continue to be our top priority. If we are informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the property, we will gather all the necessary information to determine next steps and notify tenants or other potentially impacted parties as soon as possible.