Employers Favor Phased Workforce Return, Says CBRE Study

Touchless technology, social distancing and masks will dominate the workplace worldwide as most companies worldwide plan to take a gradual, cautious approach to bringing employees back to the office as COVID-19 restrictions ease, according to an analysis by CBRE.

“Our analysis of our clients’ return-to-work strategies shows that virtually all are engaged in detailed planning to ensure a careful and reasoned approach,” said Karen Ellzey, executive managing director of consulting and global lead for CBRE’s COVID-19 response for occupier clients. “Most of these companies have established their own criteria for when to return to the workplace beyond local and state government requirements. And nearly three quarters plan to bring employees back in phases rather than all at once.”

Nearly three in four companies (72%) said they plan a phased reopening with defined percentages or groups of employees admitted over weeks or months. Meanwhile, 52% expect to give employees the option to work from home for the foreseeable future – although this will vary widely by industry sector and type of operation.

Roughly half of the 203 company operations that CBRE studied across the globe are implementing touchless technology to enhance cleanliness. Nearly half (45%) of the companies will follow guidance from local governments and health agencies on social distancing in the workplace. Another 34% have set their own global standard that may exceed local guidance most typically requiring at least six feet or two meters of separation.

Fifty-nine percent of companies will provide face coverings for their employees, with 28% of companies plan to require face coverings at all times at any company property. A larger portion – 42% – will require masks only at company facilities where mandated by local government or health-agency guidelines.

CBRE gathered its findings by surveying account leaders in its Global Workplace Solutions business, which manages facilities and real estate projects for large companies. The surveyed account leaders oversee client relationships spanning 4.2 billion square feet of workspace in offices, industrial & logistics real estate, tech space, data centers, retail, and healthcare used by more than 38 million workers. The analysis includes data collected as of May 4.



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