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Upgrades Office Owners are Considering Right Now

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of workers were scattered throughout thousands of buildings and towers across the United States. Now, as cities attempt to reopen and get back to business as usual, many building owners are deciding it’s likely that not all of their employees will return to those buildings.  Given that this is the case, companies are now wondering whether it’s really worth it to continue paying high commercial rent prices, especially given public health considerations and social distancing practices that will likely make the packed workplaces of years past a less realistic option. 


The return to the physical workplace has been slower than many office owners expected, which is causing them to consider creative measures to make returning to their buildings more attractive. Implemented quick and easy solutions such as social distancing signs and hand sanitizing stations may not be enough. 


Even with these precautions in place, the number of employees returning to the buildings was lower than expected. Here are some measures that smart office owners are taking to help make their buildings more attractive to tenants: 


Upgrades to HVAC Systems

This is easily one of the most costly updates that many office owners are considering, given that tenants are more concerned than ever about the air that flows through their offices. However, the high cost, combined with the uncertainty about how effective HVAC upgrades are at slowing or preventing the spread of the virus, is leading some building owners to hesitate. 

The types of upgrades that are recommended to help combat COVID-19 can cost approximately $3 per square foot – meaning that for a 200,000 square foot building, you’re looking at a cost of $600,000. And in addition to the upfront cost, these types of upgrades will likely increase the building’s monthly utility bills, as well. 


Temperature Check Stations

Rather than having someone sit out front and check the temperature of everyone walking through the door, many landlords are also considering implementing new technology to take employees’ and visitors’ temperatures before they even enter the building.


Some companies offer free-standing temperature checking stations with face-scanning technology for approximately $2,500 to 3,000 and some offer a smaller-scale product that scans the wrist for temperature for around $1,300. It is a significant cost to implement, but most of the building owners are more concerned about getting people back to work – and doing it safely. 


Lobby Storage Lockers

Another feature being considered in many commercial buildings is storage lockers in lobbies of buildings where employees can leave their jackets, shoes, bags, or other items that may have become contaminated or exposed to germs in their daily commute. Utilizing these types of lockers can help cut down on the germs being brought into the office, especially among employees who take public transit. 


Consider all options before investing in building retrofit. Employee safety will be of foremost importance going forward.