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Analyzing your Organization’s Office Lease and Developing a Return to the Office Plan – Five Tips

In anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine being distributed in the coming months, the opportunity for organizations to return to their offices is a growing possibility. Returning needs to be done, though, strategically and through the COVID lens. Savills has developed a comprehensive plan on how to return to the office safely and effectively (“Return to the Office Plan”). Here are 5 tips for associations and non-profits to consider for their employees to safely return to the workplace.

  1. Analyze your organization’s lease provisions. Get familiar with your lease contract, termination option, rights to expand, sublease capabilities and exact lease expiration date. If you need help getting familiar with these important items, be sure to get professional help from firms like Savills and others. Firms like Savills help clients analyze these lease provisions and negotiate with their respective Landlords to achieve provisions that better align with the overall real estate needs of the organization given the impacts of COVID.
  2. Determine your organization’s business and cultural needs for returning to the office. It is important to discuss these needs at the leadership level and also poll employees to better understand their needs. Through these conversations and surveys, staff concerns can be identified and addressed as appropriate in the Return to the Office Plan. This will provide insight into what is working well or not working well from the current work from home environment and how best those areas/items be enhanced and supported in the office. Remote work policies can be discussed and addressed here as well.
  3. Develop a clear plan and behavioral protocols for re-entry at varying occupancy levels. Determine how to safely phase your organization back to the office. Create a clear communication plan and determine how occupancy and adherence will be tracked.
  4. Analyze your current office space configuration and the low risk zones versus the densely populated areas of concern. Evaluate the floor plan and create impactful signage highlighting how various areas can be treated and what activities can and cannot be done in those spaces at varying levels of occupancy. Furniture and space reconfigurations may be contemplated at this time.
  5. Create a space to which employees want to return. Get creative and think of what would make a return to the office more comfortable and invigorating for all. Focus on what your organization can offer to boost employee morale in the workplace after working from home for all of these months.

For additional insight on how to best return to the office and to receive additional information on Savills’ Return to the Office Plan, contact Nicole Miller, nmiller@savills.us and Demetri Koutrouvelis, dkoutrouvelis@savills.us.

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