As DFW business owners continue to open up office space for their employees, they face the challenges of accommodating each employee’s unique family situation and differing opinions, while keeping comfort and safety in mind.
As a business owner and commercial real estate professional, I have come across this problem first hand and have striven to make the transition to personal work as smooth as possible.
As we position ourselves as experts in all things office, we decided to take it one step further and strategically develop three steps to success in returning workforce for business owners looking to safely resume their operations.
If you are ready to return employees to the office but are unsure of where to start, consider using the following three steps:
- Conduct a staff analysis. Design a survey and share with employees who can provide information anonymously on a variety of topics (safety issues pertaining to their workplace and / or building, general thoughts about returning, caring for children, etc.) that may affect their return to the office. Collect the data and use it to better understand your employee base and any specific concerns employees have regarding the security of your current environment. Once you have a clear idea of how and when employees will want to return, you can start updating the office space accordingly.
- Rate your workplace. Assess your current workspace and find ways to create an environment where employees feel clean and safe. Also, determine how to “size” your office to accommodate an increase or decrease in space, or how to properly “distance” employees. Determine if you need to expand or contract your current office space to accommodate a hybrid workforce and / or downsizing. Using labor force analysis data, modify current workplaces and common areas for safe social distancing and disinfection. Once you have an idea of the changes you want to implement, consult with relevant industry experts to make your plan a reality.
- Get support from an industry expert. It is always recommended to seek support and advice from industry professionals. Business owners may need to consult with experts in the furniture and / or architecture industries when they renovate, redesign, or build their current or new space. In addition, a commercial real estate specialist such as a tenant’s representative may be required as they can negotiate rent withdrawals / restructuring or help find new office space with a landlord that is more in line with their security and safety concerns.
Whitebox Real Estate employees have personally returned from May last year and have taken several steps and steps to eventually bring everyone back. It was a smooth transition for all employees and I am grateful for the well thought out three-step plan and balanced approach that ensured a successful reopening. I hope these steps help you and your business get back up and running safely and efficiently.
Grant Pruitt is co-founder, president and managing director of Whitebox Real Estate.