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the new norm

What effect has the pandemic had on the future of our industry?  Our offices? Industrial facilities? The multi-family world?Sentry Commercial offers a look. Changes in space? See below. Changes in the industry? Take a look at our “New Norm” series, featuring interviews with Curt Gemme and industry experts telling us what they are seeing in their respective fields.

Updated on June 29, 2020:

Best Practices:

    • This is primarily about employee health and wellness.
    • Stay apprised of governmental, WHO, CDC, etc. guidelines (See Resources below).
    • Communicate your plans to make your employees, tenants and visitors feel safe.
    • Determine maximum capacity of your workplace:
      • Min. 200-300 SF PP.
      • Remove any chairs and workstations not intended for use.
    • Require use of face-masks at all times (See Resources Page below).
    • Ensure employees wash their hands regularly.
    • Visitors:
      • Develop visitor policy (No visitors, screened visitors, electronic visitor logs. etc.).
    • Workforce:
      • Consider work-at-home.
      • Consider requiring high-risk groups and over the age of 65 should continue to stay home.
      • Consider phased-in, re-entry approach.
      • Rotate work staff (50% in office, 50% at home).
      • Increase number of shifts.
    • Sanitizing:
      • Strict cleaning and disinfectant protocols in all settings.
      • Constant, repetitive sanitizing of facilities, workstations, keyboards, phones, common areas, etc.
      • Eliminate as many phone handsets as possible.
      • Sanitize packages shipped and received.
    • Workflow:
      • One-way employee movement (i.e. clockwise or counterclockwise).
      • Branded social distancing floor decals.
      • Larger/increased space to move around the office.
      • Post floor plans showing 6’ distancing and sanitizing stations.
    • Janitorial:
      • Consider no outside cleaning services (each person responsible for taking their trash home).
    • Employee/Visitor Policy:
      • Determine if you will screen employees and/or visitors health status.
      • IF you decide to screen employees, determine if you want to outsource said screening to healthcare service.
      • Determine if you require employee and/or visitor questionnaire prior to entry.
      • Determine company policy in the event an employee or visitor tests positive.
        1. If you choose to screen:
          • Passive screening:
            1. Health questionnaire of all employees and visitors (see Sample Documents below).
          • Active screening (see Vendor Resources below):
            1. Thermal Cameras.
            2. Company health apps.
            3. Temperature upon entry (Max. 100.3).
      • Defined response plan for employee/visitor COVID infection.

Building/Space Entry:

    • Automatic/Touchless door entry (see Vendor Resource Information below)
    • No phone in the building/space lobby.
    • No-touch screen tenant directory.
    • Facial recognition technology (ability to track all movements in the building through facial recognition).
    • Microbial entry door mats to walk on.
    • Enter front door, leave through side door.

Building Common Areas:

    • Lobby:
      • Elevator:
        1. Voice activated or touchless elevator controls
        2. Encourage alternatives such as stairs.
        3. Hire attendant.
        4. Limited elevator capacity.
    • Bathrooms:
      • Touchless access to lavatories.
      • Touchless toilets/urinals, sinks and soap/towel dispensers.
      • Stairwells/Stairways:
      • Consider “one-way stairwells” (up only in one, down only in the other).

Office Space:

    • Enhance daylight to interior space.
    • Install numerous hand sanitizing stands for convenience and assurance.
      • Install more voice activated technology (see Vendor Resource Information below).
    • Air quality (See Resources Page below):
      • NOTE: Debate still exists on air circulation (i.e. increase vs. reduction of circulation)
      • Increase fresh air rates.
      • Enhance filtration/optimize air delivery
            method (make sure it gets to the breathing
      • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
      • Bipolar ionization.
      • Control humidification.
      • Pro-active maintenance program for HVAC.
      • Re-visit ASHRAE standards.
      • Sophisticated plug and go air purification systems with virus minimizing filters (such as a copper layer).
    • Private offices:
      • More of them.
      • PRIVATE MEANS PRIVATE – No one else may enter (possibly including the cleaning crew).
    • Open workstations:
      • Desks facing away from each other.
      • 6’ x 6’ high workstations with some version of vision panels to create the appearance of open space.
      • Acrylic safety shields minimize risk of transmission.
      • Consider alternating workstations usage (i.e. dormant workstations).
    • Lunchroom:
      • Consider closing lunchrooms.
      • Paper plates, cups, plastic/disposable utensils, etc.
      • Use of microwave/water cooler/toaster oven only when using masks/gloves.
      • No seating or seating spaced 6’ or more apart.
    • Conference Rooms:
      • No touch systems for doors.
      • Reduce existing conference room to accommodate 50% of previous capacity.
      • Engage “people counters” which indicate how many people enter the room and whether they maintained proper distance from each other when they entered.
      • Close entirely and move conferences to open, non-enclosed areas.
      • Outside conferences (i.e. Green open space (weather permitting)).
    • Hoteling:
      • Fully sanitized after EVERY use.

Office Space Common Areas:

    • Copier Rooms:
      • No touch systems for doors.
      • Voice activated machines.
      • No touching copier/printer without protective gloves.
      • Assign one-person exclusive use of the room.
    • Bathrooms:
      • No touch systems for doors, plumbing fixtures and toilet stalls.
      • Increased and multiple times per day cleaning.

Warehouse/Manufacturing Space:

    • Shipping Areas:
      • Signage and floor marking to create separation of functions and routes for shipping and receiving operations.
      • PPE for shipping and receiving employees.
      • Shipping and receiving area use limited to shipping and receiving employees only.
      • Route packages received via non-congested areas.

Related Articles:

    • This is the end of the office as we know it:

      • The pandemic already pushed millions to work from home. Many of them will likely go back to a very different office. Read inVox.


Vendor Resources:

Sample Documents:


NOTE: The information below will be edited on an ongoing basis, providing all timely content.  We welcome your input.  This is meant to be a collaborative, timely resource.


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