It has been interesting to see the effect of Covid-19 on the property and office markets. It has changed things up and going forward, the way in which we work will see new expectations of property and office managers.
2020 is a year unlike any other. The best of the trend spotters could not have anticipated the storm of change that the Covid-19 pandemic brought. Like almost every other sector, it is a whole new world for the property and office space.
David Seinker, founder, and CEO of The Business Exchange shares some of his insights:
“Everyone is looking for ways to save money”
The economic impact of Covid-19 and the continued lockdown on South African businesses (big and small) has been severe. Almost every sector has seen a steep decline in revenue and as a result, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. For some companies, this means diversifying their offerings while for others, it means closing the fancy head office and spreading their teams across multiple serviced office spaces instead. This is especially true for businesses in search of office space to accommodate fifty or fewer employees. Moving to a serviced office space can expect a saving of up to 70% of a total lease investment.
“Businesses need support to keep office spaces clean and hygienic”
While the typical cleaning services for business may have previously involved cleaning staff or, a cleaning service company, there’s much more than cleaning and tidying that must now be done in our ‘new normal’. Cleaning staff will need to be trained to professionally sanitize to help prevent the spread of the virus and for some businesses, this will mean getting in added support to train staff or to employ the services of a professional cleaning company. A serviced office is ideal so that tenants can focus fully on their core business.
“People will work further apart – 1.5 meters to be exact”
In a pre-Covid world, employees often sat close to one another. Now, workstations must be much further apart to endure adequate social distancing. Companies are finding that to achieve this means they will run out of floor space, making it impossible to accommodate everyone. Many firms are responding to this by splitting up their staff, making it impossible to accommodate everyone, some are splitting up their staff and moving some teams into serviced office spaces while others have offered employees the alternative option of working remotely from home.
“Teams are working in shifts”
In addition to the point above, employees are not able to work too closely together and for companies unable to accommodate all of their staff on their existing premises, or who cannot access shared office space, the other available option is to allocate employees to working in different shifts. This way they can ensure that only half to a third of the staff are in the building at a time, minimizing the risk of spreading the virus.
“Corporates now need to restructure to a hybrid way of working”
With employees working from various locations, if one member of the team falls ill, the risk of infecting their colleagues is reduced. Companies have had to relook at how they work and how their workforce has been distributed. It is important to minimise the risk of getting (and spreading) Covid-19.