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Excerpt from Tango’s virtual retail summit Moving Forward: Workplace 2.0 on June 24-25, 2020.

Employee Safety, Wellbeing & Communication

Kevin Fossee – Principal, Real Estate Advisory Services, PwC:

“One of the big things we’re hearing everybody talk about these days is contact tracing. And it’s generally viewed in some cases, at least in some jurisdictions as a requirement for opening.

“Where PwC’s at on that, which I thought is interesting, I was actually in the New York office in the beginning of March. And somebody at that point in time in the PwC office, we have about 15 floors there and a couple of hundred thousand square feet. Somebody contracted the virus and was in the office at the same time as I was. And the only ability we had at the time to address that was to look at everybody that had checked into the office over those five days. And it still took us about three or four days to do that. And then we had to notify about 3,000 people that they may have come into contact with it. So, clearly, we knew that that wasn’t a good approach. And we actually found that we had solutions that we had deployed with our clients that could provide a better tool.

“But one of the things that we’re doing now is we are implementing an app-based contact tracing solution, all anonymous data that works off the phone. Pretty simple. We are seeing a lot of folks do this through different IoT devices, sensors, things like that as well. And we’ll probably touch on that more, Bart, and some of the things we’re working with you guys on and deploying that for Tango and part of

“But essentially, what’s key is that when we come back to the office, if someone does come down with the virus, you need to be able to identify who they’ve come into contact with and notify them. Lots of ways to go and do that. But I think that’s really going to be key once they’re in the office. The other piece about in the office, and I saw Pranav talk a bunch about this earlier, but around the social distancing, right? So, what’s going to exist to prevent that?

“Another anecdotal data point here, but I’m sitting in a conference room at Tango, excuse me, at We Work. And there’s a green dot in front of me at this conference table and a green dot across from me, and we’re about two feet apart. So, that’s probably one way, again, to measure this. But we are really looking at, one, the planning piece of it, which I know you’ve all spent a lot of time talking about that. But then monitoring it too, right? So, once people are in the office, how are they moving? Where are they moving to? Where are they congregating? Being able to identify those, tie those in with some of our space management, space planning solutions, and really make sure that we’re optimizing sort of the flow of people into the space. And that’s going to be key. So, I think we’ll start to phase people in and it’s going to naturally create social distancing.

“I also did one interesting data point on this too. I Googled this. If you go back to February and look at the trending on Google of people searching social distancing, it’s zero, right? No one did it. And it’s spiked up to their 100 benchmark. So, we’re clearly all thinking about this a ton right now. But I think it’s important that you have sort of non-invasive technology to help identify this. And I think your employees want it, right? I mean, there’s a lot of concern around privacy and those kinds of things. Some of the apps that we’re deploying as I said are not … They don’t capture personal identifiable information. We section that off separately until there’s an incident and we need to identify a person. But enabling that social distancing, having the contact tracing.

“And then I think there’s a preliminary piece to this that’s really around checking with the employees, right? And understanding where they’re at, how they’re feeling, can they come in? And this is in part health and safety, and in part sort of planning and employee morale. And surveys, I know some of us are probably rolling out surveys to our people right now. But what I’ve seen on that front is even though we’re starting to open our space up, I’ve read a lot of stories about folks allowing 20, 25% of their staff back into the office. We’re only actually seeing on average about half of those folks take advantage of that and come in. So, it’s hard to plan what you can do in your space if you actually don’t know who can come in, when they’re coming in. So, a simple thing like employee check-in apps, survey, see how they’re doing, how they’re feeling. Even if they’re feeling like they’re productive or they can’t come in because they have childcare and stuff like that.

“But I think those are the three things, right? Employees check-in, social distancing, contact tracing are some of the key things. There’s definitely a big piece of this around cleaning the space and the maintenance and janitorial and seeing some … Like I saw here with the We Work guys spraying the furniture. But also, some more cutting edge stuff where we’re seeing sort of UV light drones going … not drones, but robots going around offices at night to go off viruses and bacteria. So, that’s a key part of this, not necessarily the expert on the janitorial side, but those are the key things that we’re seeing.”


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