With companies making significant efforts to get back to normal after they’ve dealt with the impact of COVID-19, the next step for them is to set up a plan for their employees to return to the office. But as experts say and companies confirm, this return will be a gradual one, as the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic is still unpredictable. The main focus now for both landlords and their corporate clients is to ensure a safe working environment by implementing measures and clear protocols for how everything in the office operates while managing health and safety risks for employees. BR sat down with landlords and companies and found out how they were preparing for their employees’ return to the office.
By Anda Sebesi
Timpuri Noi Square has obtained the Safe Guard certification, following an audit by Bureau Veritas which certified the safety of the health and safety measures implemented during this period, supporting the tenants in the process of returning to the office, in a suitable environment that falls in line with current requirements. The Safe Guard label meets the demands of the new normality of our society, in terms of health, safety, and hygiene. The certification will cover common areas, receptions, and lobby lifts and will establish the sanitary standards applicable to all the buildings in Timpuri Noi Square, a 53,000-sqm commercial area consisting of the first 3 buildings delivered so far in the project.
“Timpuri Noi Square offers a healthy and welcoming indoor work environment and has all the favorable characteristics to safely return to the office. Technical details such as healthy air conditioning and a superior ventilation system, which offers 100 percent fresh air, combined with Vastint’s standard 3m floor heights, energy-saving electrical equipment and LED lighting, contribute together with the additional hygiene measures implemented to a conducive environment for returning to the office, while ensuring social distancing. We are pioneers in this area with Bureau Veritas and at the same time we can assure our tenants that Timpuri Noi Square offices are a safe place to carry out their daily activities,” says Antoniu Panait, managing director at Vastint Romania.
According to Panait, from the very first moment the virus was detected in Romania, the company’s property managers started all the procedures required to maintain the safety of its projects, implementing a great number of measures to make everyone feel safe in the common spaces, lobbies, and elevators, in both Timpuri Noi Square and Business Garden Bucharest.
The sanitization measures translated into additional cleaning and disinfection of all common areas, changing air filters, extra sanitizer dispensers, social distancing measures meant limiting access to no more than four people in one elevator, access through revolving doors limited to one person, placing sleeves on door handles and foils on door contact areas, manufactured with a special technology that does not allow the transfer of microparticles onto hands, adding transparent screens on reception desks to limit contact and implementing a new package collection point to a singular space that could be under strict surveillance – these are some of the measures Vastint took in order to become a safe place for its tenants.
Panait also mentioned the signage measures the company has taken, such as applying limitation strips and information posters to maintain social distance, information regarding hand washing in every bathroom and in common areas, and stripes to limit the access to revolving doors and other entrances.
Work from home: a double-edged sword
Antoniu Panait of Vastint says that despite the fact that we cannot predict the evolution of this virus, we can only hope for the best and take all the possible measures to continue our activity.
“It’s obvious that the number of employees and companies that have started working from the office again has increased in the last month since the state of alert has replaced the state of emergency, and this number will grow due to the fact that the majority of us can no longer work from home. The need to socialise and draw a line between our professional and personal lives is driving us back to the office, more than one study conducted during the pandemic period showed the importance of socialising and feeling a sense of belonging to the community,” says Panait.