COVID-19 Impact on how we work

27 April 2020

"Back to Work" - we are preparing!

After indication that the lockdown will be lifted in most federal states at the beginning of May, it is time to think about how we get back into our offices. Our federal government published 10 new points of the so-called "extended occupational health and safety regulation" and made this binding for companies. In addition to the already known hygiene regulations and recommendations, which we have been able to practice over the past few weeks, the 1.5 meter distance rule also applies to the office. Our colleagues from the United States even speak about the "six feet office", which means that an employee should always keep a distance of 2 meters. The wording from the Federal Government's 10 point paper is as follows:

"The safety distance of at least 1.5 meters is also universally observed at work - in buildings, outdoors and in vehicles!" Appropriate barriers, markings or access regulations need to be implemented in the factories. Where this is not possible, effective alternatives are taken."

The "effective alternatives" mentioned are - of course - protective masks. They are used only in elevators, even if it can be assumed that will be a new maximum of number of people which can use an elevator at any given time. But is it really practical to sit in the office with a protective mask for 8 hours? Between two desks, some partitions or similar solutions from the retail industry can help. But that's about it when it comes to alternatives. We now require clever planning. Hereunder is an example of a conventional office with the required 1.5 meter radius around employees.

Sitting opposite one another is not the problem here, especially since there one has partitions. Sitting side by side is also possible with the required distance. But moving along the main traffic route, walking past the colleagues, requires that the "mask be on". But wasn't it the case that masks only offer additional protection and the safest is the 1.5 meter distancing? And isn't it also critical how many people are in the room at any given time because of the air quality? The retail trade currently operates according to the 20 m² rule. A maximum of 40 customers are allowed to be traveling at the same time on a sales area of ​​800 m². What if that becomes binding also for offices? So, it will be exciting to see what adjustments we have to make to the furniture and what other, especially organizational, measures we have to take to make working in the office in a Corona-era safe but especially pleasant for it's users. The first results we will be showing here soon.

For more on the virus’ potential #CRE impacts, on workplace read the latest blog posting

The spread of COVID-19 and the containment policies being introduced are changing rapidly. While information in the briefing notes is current as of the date written, the views expressed herein are subject to change and may not reflect the latest opinion of Avison Young. Like all of you, Avison Young relies on government and related sources for information on the COVID-19 outbreak. We have provided links to some of these sources, which provide regularly updated information on the COVID-19 outbreak. The content provided herein is not intended as investment, tax, financial or legal advice and should not be relied on as such.