Let’s bring your staff back to work safely!
Rethinking Office Space and Beyond
McGuire serves a range of property types including medical offices, professional offices, retail spaces, multifamily residential, hospitality, construction, and bulk retail storage facilities. As the realities of the pandemic set in, it quickly became clear that most work environments and communal spaces were not optimal for protecting the health of employees and office visitors. Each of McGuire’s portfolio companies were reviewed to determine what COVID-safe modifications needed to be taken and how to ensure tenants and clients were compliant with state mandates.
Immediate actions included installing signage with clear instructions on mask-wearing, social distancing, and warnings to not enter a building if a person is experiencing symptoms. Medical offices spaced chairs further apart in waiting rooms and installed plexiglass around customer-facing employees where possible. McGuire worked with tenants and clients to respond to a range of scenarios, including how to ensure spaces were safe and appropriate for special needs, such as children with ADHD. Multifamily tenants had to reconfigure common spaces, modify HVAC systems, and coordinate deep cleaning and sanitation measures.
McGuire continues to help clients and tenants adapt to COVID-safe protocols and keep people safe at work by evaluating exactly what each business requires for their specific use case. Early in the pandemic and now, McGuire leverages existing infrastructure and only recommends modifications that make the most sense. For example, some offices are advised to limit occupancy and use part of their waiting rooms for cubicle space. Everything from ventilation to office footprint is taken into account, and recommendations often include new layouts, mechanical filtration, enhanced sanitation measures, and antibacterial stations.
“HealthTec needed to protect some of our cubicles. The McGuire Development Property Management team explored ways to construct plexiglass barriers that could be attached to the cubicles. We were very appreciative of their due diligence, and installation of the barriers for us. Thank you to Mike and McGuire Development.”- Kimberly Meek-Smith, Director of Operations, HealthTec Solutions, Inc.
With the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, McGuire consistently communicates with tenants and clients to offer guidance and support. Tenants are offered legal team assistance to guide them through the complexities of SBA and PPP loans. The McGuire asset management team provides ongoing consultation to help businesses ensure they are delivering the best possible safety measures to support return to work initiatives. Additionally, McGuire connects tenants to vendors offering advanced COVID-safe services, and helps clients prepare COVID-compliant janitorial procedures. Secondary space options are provided when possible to allow for increased social distancing.
COVID Safety Starts at McGuire’s Headquarters
Here in our offices, we immediately became our own test case for implementing impactful changes and adapting to COVID-safe protocols. The health and safety of our employees is our priority, and we are implementing our own advice and making modifications right alongside our clients and tenants. This experience provides us with a unique understanding of what it means to undergo the modifications necessary to support a safe workspace.
McGuire has implemented extensive COVID-safety signage throughout our building as well as intensive cleaning protocols and documentation after each cleaning service. We confirmed our HVAC is up to date, sanitized all units and ductwork, and installed higher quality filters into our HVAC system. High traffic areas such as bathrooms and building entrances feature sanitation stations. Additionally, masks are mandated and enforced in all public areas, we disassembled public seating areas, and shut down common break rooms that could not be regulated safely.
The Future of Safe and Healthy Workspaces
The pandemic served to accelerate the shift toward remote work, but office spaces remain necessary for most businesses. As COVID-19 vaccinations increasingly roll out, the expectation is that pre-pandemic levels of normalcy will slowly start to return, but some pandemic-induced health and safety changes will continue. McGuire is prepared to help clients and tenants handle any and all changes.
“In Buffalo I think we’ll see clients taking a much more strategic and thoughtful approach to their real estate needs,” says McGuire President and CBO Danielle Shainbrown. “We are ready to guide our clients and tenants on best practices for maintaining safe and spacious work environments that are also flexible and cost effective.”
If developing COVID-safe workspaces taught us anything, it’s that every business requires an individualized approach and the ability to adapt and embrace change. Workspaces will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the moment. McGuire Development can help your company navigate rapidly changing regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We develop strategic recommendations and can facilitate changes to ensure your business meets the highest level of health and safety standards.