With over 40% of the U.S. vaccinated against COVID-19, the commercial real estate industry is seeing a larger workforce planning to return back to their office buildings. Matt McCambridge, CEO of Eden Health, recently joined a number of panelists from Brookfield, Silverstein, WELL, and the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) at Bisnow’s Urban Rebound New York event to discuss the latest technologies, amenities, health and safety approaches, and other upgrades in Class A office buildings to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to the office.
We’ve summarized our key takeaways below, but you can also register to watch the full replay by clicking here.
Callie Haines, EVP & Head of New York Region, Brookfield
- Create a sense of FOMO to get people back. That may look like creating outdoor terraces or plazas — anything to create that third space with light, air, and vibrancy.
- Having concierge-like medical facilities onsite, especially on our larger campuses, is something that we are hearing a lot of our tenants requesting. When you think about the medical experience and how inconvenient it can be to take a day to travel to four or five different doctor’s appointments, the ability to provide that to our tenants and our customers onsite is especially important post-COVID.
- The biggest challenge tenants have in coming back to the workspace is transit, especially in New York City. We subsidized $5 rides through a corporate shuttle program with Via for our Brookfield employees. We’re also adding end of trip facilities to the majority of our assets such as showers and bike rooms because more people will be running and biking to work.
Lisa Bevacqua, Executive Vice President and the Director of Asset Management, Silverstein
- People are going to be looking for elevated experiences. We put all of our employees through Ritz Carlton training. We think of ourselves more than just a landlord. Whether the space they choose to work is in their building, in their traditional office, or in our lounge space or outdoor terrace, they’ll have the opportunity to work in any of our buildings throughout our portfolio using our Inspire app.
- We’re hearing a lot of our tenants ask for space planning. That’s why we’ve made our return to work with a workplace planning tool available to our customers to use.
Matt McCambridge, Co-Founder and CEO, Eden Health
- Class A buildings should be using a real concierge mindset to bring people back to the office. We’re seeing that provide real value when we partner with landlords to improve the hardware of the building (i.e. onsite medical offices), but also the software (i.e. a medical app to access your doctor) to continue to stay relevant to that individual, to their family, and in their homes, where there may not be at the at the office for a couple of days a week.
- Access to mental health is more important than ever. As an amenity, that should mean having a Director of Psychiatry actually talk to you about mental health as you return to the workplace as opposed to just having dry material in posted papers on the wall.
- We will bring COVID-19 vaccines to the work site. It’s going to happen a lot more in the future, especially with the likelihood of vaccine boosters towards the end of the year. Introducing these new, physical initiatives into the office building will also improve the impact on overall mental health and wellness, too.
Melissa Baker, Senior Vice President for Technical Core, U.S. Green Building Council
- LEED is developed by a community of experts across all different disciplines, including indoor environmental quality. When things started to happen a year ago, we really turned to that community of experts and asked them “what else can we do to protect health and wellness?”.
- We launched a new strategy: Healthy people and healthy spaces equals a healthy economy. As part of our Green Building initiatives, we recommended shifting buildings more towards renewable energy while also supporting social distancing and ensuring air quality and circulation. Any building of any age can take action (we have a building in Mexico that was built in the 1500’s that is LEED certified!).
Shalini Ramesh, Director in Technical Solutions, International WELL Building Institute
- We conducted some research on 30 buildings and found that people aren’t the best judge of the quality of their space. Often, they think they have enough light or they think they’re getting good air quality if you survey them, but the sensors that we placed are showing that’s not actually true. Installing sensors to monitor and measure your indoor environment really helps to ensure all your amenities are optimized for health, safety, and wellness.
- Projects or buildings that had implemented the WELL building standard were already in great standing prior to the pandemic because they already had a lot of features — training practices, how to communicate to stakeholders, and mental health — designed and implemented.
To learn more about how Eden Health partners with Class A landlords to deliver concierge-level medical facilities and services, click here to learn more.