Speaking at Moscow’s 14th Property & Facility Management Congress (“Leading the Change”), Dmitry Sveshnikov, the Managing Director of O1 Standard, told colleagues from other companies how O1 Standard is preparing for the second wave of tenant returns to offices and described new demands that tenants are making on management companies a year after the start of the pandemic.
In spring-summer 2020, management companies reorganized their work to ensure epidemiological safety of offices ahead of the return of tenants. Most companies, including O1 Standard, carried out this task successfully. For the past 12 months all facilities managed by O1 Standard have ensured observance of the mask regime, thermometry procedures, regular disinfection, maintenance of social distancing and other safety measures. The company has also set up a mobile team tasked with responding promptly to tenant requests. Most such requests are for disinfection of offices. The work carried out by O1 Standard ensured good communication with tenants whose employees returned to offices in the summer of 2020. O1 Standard also teamed with business center owners to make videos about the safety precautions that had been put in place and to ensure that users feel comfortable and safe when returning to their usual work schedule.
However, some companies kept their offices in predominantly remote operating mode through 2020, and only plan to fully return staff in the spring and summer of 2021. This poses a new challenge for management companies: how to help tenants return from home to the office in comfort, when safety measures such as mask wearing, thermometry, social distancing and disinfection have become the norm in business centres.
People who have worked mainly outside the office for more than a year will be keen for solutions that raise their interaction with the business centre and its infrastructure to a qualitatively new level. Such solutions are mainly in the sphere of IT: contactless building access, contactless guest passes and parking access, the creation of marketplaces for management company services to tenants and b2c services for building end-users. Business centre management and maintenance functions need to be complemented by the features and options of a concierge service, so that users can obtain as many services as possible without leaving the building. This will make the office a more attractive place to work compared with the home environment, which many employees have experienced in recent months.
Meanwhile, all measures for ensuring epidemiological safety remain relevant. For example, O1 Standard is experimenting with automatic contactless stations to measure body temperature, avoiding the inconvenience of manual body temperature measurements by management company operatives.
The current situation also means that steps to improve the environmental performance of offices are high on the agenda. Environment-friendly solutions contribute to a healthy and productive ambiance in buildings and improve the well-being of office workers. Twelve properties in the O1 Standard portfolio are already BREEAM-certified and the company is working to develop its own building management expertise in line with green standards.