How to discuss re-entry with your landlord in three steps

Communication with your landlord is key in preparing your office and employees for re-entry

June 01, 2020

From Center City to surrounding suburbs, re-entry is on the minds of every business owner and employee. While the first half of 2020 introduced new challenges to communities across the country, local economies—including Philadelphia—are preparing for the task of re-entering the workspace.

The social responsibility to be cautious and safe falls on every Philadelphian, but there are certain protocols businesses and tenants must abide by. In turn, property landlords should be prepared to help.

Philadelphia’s tenants and landlords must approach reopening their doors with caution to ensure a safe return to the office. Here are three steps tenants should be discussing with their landlords as the city adjusts to its “next normal.”

1. Consider New Building Procedures

The way you and your employees navigate the building will look a little different than what you were likely used to. From when you enter the building, to walking through the lobby, to taking the elevator, these everyday tasks will require new guidelines to abide by social distancing.

Provide your employees with a peace of mind by thinking ahead and communicating with your landlord to see how they plan to safely re-open the building. Consider the following questions and tips as you prepare to invite employees back to the office:

  • Ask for your landlords re-opening plan in writing. This info should not be a mystery nor left open to interpretation.
  • Will the building designate entry-only and exit-only points?  Are there limits to the number of people in the lobby waiting to access elevators?
  • If your building has direct access to public transit: Will direct building access be restricted?
  • How many people per elevator? Any other requirements in the elevator?
  • Are stairwells open for tenants use an alternative to elevators?
  • Will you provide more storage for bikes and other personal transportation methods? How will these areas be sanitized?

2. Confirm Building Cleanliness and Safety Measures

Health and safety will undoubtedly be at the top of mind for Philadelphia businesses. When people head back to work, there will be significant changes in buildings and employees will be expected to abide by new protocols. Be sure to communicate openly with your landlord or property manager to ensure safety recommendations are being implemented throughout the building.

Tenants should consider these questions regarding building health and safety before welcoming employees back to work:

  • Must employees wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while walking throughout shared areas such as lobbies and hallways? Who will enforce PPE usage? Will Landlord supply masks if needed?
  • How will you be enforcing social distancing throughout the building?
  • Will restrooms receive enhanced cleaning? Are hands-free soap, water, and towel dispensers installed in the restrooms? 
  • How will delivers mail/FedEx/Amazon, food delivery, etc. be handled? 
  • What changes have been made to building systems to improve indoor air quality? When was the air filter last changed (what it’s MERV rating)?
  • Will shared areas such as conference rooms, break rooms and auditoriums still be available to employees?
  • How will housekeeping and sanitation change throughout the building? How often will shared amenities be sanitized? What about stairwells, elevators and hallways?
  • Can Tenants purchase enhanced cleaning services from the building cleaning vendor?

3. Consider Impact on Amenities

Amenities are a main attraction for tenants. Landlords invest millions each year to update and maintain property amenities. While outdoor lounges, fitness centers and game rooms were once ideal, there are now concerns with how to maintain distancing and prevent the spread of germs in these spaces. Speak with your landlord to see how these communal spaces will change.

  • Will building amenities still be available for employees? Will some be closed? If so, which ones?
  • Will in-house amenities such as coffee shops and eateries remain open to the public?
  • How will the building enforce social distancing and proper sanitation in these areas?
  • If we are no longer allowed to use these spaces, will this have an impact on the monthly rent?
  • Will these spaces’ functions change? If so, how? What can we expect to see replace these perks?

There’s no doubt the office environment will continue to evolve as companies go back to work. Protocols may change and new rules might be enforced as the city begins to reopen. Having an open line of communication with your landlord will be helpful to stay on top of new rules and safety measures, so don’t be afraid to speak up with concerns.

For more information on (re)entry download JLL’s free (re)entry guidebook or contact a local JLL professional.