As the wave of workers begins to come back to Greater Boston’s commercial real estate market, building owners have a short window to make major long-term decisions. Services that were once behind the scenes (think air filtration and HVAC) are now front and center.
Forget game rooms, crowded elevators and shared coffeemakers. Forget janitorial staff that only enters the office after hours or in response to a call. Forget air systems that cut off after 6 p.m. The coronavirus has turned facilities management on its head, and the post-pandemic, pre-vaccine office of the future is one that includes regular cleaning, ongoing sanitization, frictionless office entries and one-way paths that discourage physical proximity to another person.
Landlords and facilities managers are seeking all the advice they can get about the best ways to return people to the office. So far, the workforce tide is still out to sea: Most offices that have reopened have done so with just a fraction of their people working in the office. As the wave of workers begins its return to Greater Boston’s commercial real estate market, building owners have a short window to make major long-term decisions. Among them is the question of whether to upgrade a building’s internal systems — mechanical, air, electric or otherwise — before a coronavirus vaccine is developed. If they don’t, will they lose tenants? Or will the tenants come back without their having to invest in an invisible building system?