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Rethinking office space to address COVID-19 concerns

As an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that “working from home” isn’t the best option for many companies that need interaction and collaboration to succeed, creative office developers and designers are stepping-up their formula for productive and safe office space.

This is especially true as more and more companies are demanding added certainty from their work environment when it comes to quality, a distinct culture, value and predictability in-regards to current and future lease rates.

Companies looking to bring their workforce back over time need ultimate predictability in their lease pricing and flexibility to move or add term in the future. A gross lease model with shorter one- and two-year terms provides this opportunity for companies to do so.

Additionally, buildings that are designed around natural elements like daylight, access to fresh air and abundant green space–features that ensure our tenants and their employees look forward to coming to work and contributing to the overall success of their business–are major differentiators.

Our tenants have always benefited from the energy and excitement of being part of a growing community. Innovators, tech startups, designers and social purpose organizations have long called TAXI home. As coworking loses its luster, joining over 150 companies on a collaborative campus like TAXI has more value than ever.

With continuing concerns about COVID-19 and uncertainty about the future, it’s important to provide current and future tenants with office space that they can feel safe and confident in when it comes to employee health, the company’s bottom-line and the flexibility they need to react to an ever-changing world.

Some of the proactive approaches companies should come to expect include:

  • Shorter term, one- and two-year leases with flat lease rates so business owners aren’t locked-into long term, fluctuating leases during unpredictable times.
  • Low-scale, walk-up buildings so elevator use is limited and people can use the open stairwells. We are going to the extent of making our stairwells more engaging by working with local artists to add artwork to stairwells that were previously simple concrete corridors.
  • Roll-up, glass garage doors in office units that employees can open to the outdoors so fresh air is abundant.
  • Streamlined office spaces that are fully built-out and fully furnished to ease the decision-making process for tenants and help with cost-containment.
  • Eliminating extraneous functions and features that add cost and little value. Some of these things include large lobby areas and big corner offices for the company executives.
  • Providing smaller office spaces to companies (with four- to ten-person occupancy) that need to downsize, even if only for the next year.
  • Green-roof walkouts, site-wide native landscaping and community gardens.

Not all companies can afford to have their employees working from home, and as a result, need to provide a work environment that their employees can feel safe, healthy and happy in.

Considering the current state of uncertainty, office developers and designers must be willing and able to not only meet the unique demands of these companies, but help them to discover new solutions and better ways to address concerns among their employees.

Photo Justin Croft  Justin Croft is the Vice President of Development at Zeppelin Development.