COVID-19: Adapting to the New Reality
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of healthcare real estate. Two areas that we believe will continue to be impacted for the long-term are property and facility management and lease optimization.
Property and Facility Management
When it comes to property and facility management, the biggest shift we’ve seen is the use of already-available technology to improve the quality and circulation of air. Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, most tenants were skeptical and chose not to invest in this technology. In recent months, however, nearly every hospital and surgery center across the globe is considering a new or much-improved air purification system that can be paired with existing HVAC equipment.
In addition to the installation of new air purification systems, Cornerstone’s facility management team is making changes to existing HVAC systems to improve the quality of the air in our buildings and to increase the rate at which indoor air is recycled with fresh, outdoor air. These changes include adjusting each building’s occupied and unoccupied start times to increase air circulation and air filtration; and adjusting the fresh air intake percentages to allow for additional air exchanges.
Furthermore, our Property Managers continue to work with all contractors, particularly janitorial service providers, to ensure that everyone coming into our facilities adheres to the most recent CDC guidelines. Working in conjunction with our clients, we’re ensuring that each medical facility is maintained at the highest standard possible of cleaning and sanitation.
From a lease optimization perspective, COVID has created challenges for the medical office environment. Organizations need to manage which employees can come to the office, when they can enter and take their places, how often the office is cleaned, and if they are remaining sufficiently far apart as they move through the space.
Fortunately, most medical offices are well-positioned to meet new standards for health and safety and can adjust their spaces accordingly. However, tenants need to ask themselves the following questions as they assess the future of their office environment:
- Are administrative functions coming back to the office or will they be permanent work-from-home?
- Will some administrative functions still be needed?
- Will new office spaces need to be created so that multiple people can work from the same desk on different days of the week?
- Are waiting areas sufficient for social distancing?
- Is it possible to generate one-way flow in your current space?
- What areas or rooms are missing from your current space that you now require? Some examples include: employee check-in-space for temperature reads; more exam rooms so there are fewer people in the waiting areas; and larger offices for patient meetings
- In order to limit patient contact, are there services such as testing or imaging that you are currently sending patients to other locations for that should be brought into your practice space?
- Does one large space make more sense than three smaller spaces? The larger space means more people in the space, but more area for flow and distancing.
- If you have multiple locations and would like to look at consolidation, would a detailed demographics, needs, and current physician count study be a useful tool?
- Does your current lease status allow for adjustments in the short term?
There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the adoption of new ways of working. The Cornerstone team is available to assist with any changes necessary to ensure a safe return to the office environment for both employees and patients.
To learn more about our Property and Facility Management services, contact Gretchen Mensch at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about lease optimization and Brokerage services, contact Ross Goyer at email@example.com.