COVID-19: A timeline for how CRE occupiers can respond

From preparedness to resilience, learn about the four phases of response, and the timelines associated with each phase.

The outbreak of COVID-19 and its rapid spread across the globe has taken many by surprise. The more it expands and the longer it persists, the greater the chance for a prolonged impact on business operations.

While it’s critical for occupiers to immediately address preparedness, protection and communication needs in the workplace, unique situations like COVID-19 also require ongoing monitoring and adjustment to workplace continuity management response strategies.

Every organization must strive to enable their enterprise resiliency to address such key drivers as changing business models, changing threats, changing environment and continuous assessment of risk priorities.

The following details the four phases of response, and the timelines associated with each phase.

Phase 1: Preparedness, protection and communication (first one to two weeks)

  • Activate or create a business continuity plan for real estate operations, and form a global response team, ensuring alignment with enterprise risk management’s response.
  • Assess workplace continuity and enforce immediate social distancing.
  • Understand the requirements to achieve remote work scalability and deploy working from home at scale to contain and mitigate the spread among your workforce.
  • Prepare workplace continuity based on aggressive, moderate and conservative “what if?” scenarios.
  • Build strong communications protocols, guidelines and resources.
  • Streamline decision-making processes to ensure rapid response and enable effective communication to ensure business continuity.
  • If needed, immediately close facilities­—or at least parts of them; identify alternative locations to work from; and deploy a remote working plan.
  • Enforce strict hygiene and cleaning measures on site; ensure efficient and effective waste management; and bring more outdoor air into buildings to help dilute airborne contaminants.

Phase 2: Monitoring and readiness (three to four weeks)

  • Continually monitor and assess the situation, and adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Accelerate mobile work enablement programs as needed.
  • Focus over the short term on operational management of real estate and mitigation processes for critical sites.
  • Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained; consider any potential disruption to supply chains.

Phase 3: Continuity (one to three months)

  • Support business continuity through mobile and remote working programs.
  • Prepare for supply chain disruption impacting operations.
  • Anticipate increased hesitancy and cautious real estate decision-making.

Phase 4: Resilience (over three months)

  • Consider how carbon emission reduction and reduced air travel could shift perceptions on sustainability.
  • Expect employees to have stricter health and safety requirements from their real estate.
  • Plan for an increased adoption of workplace technology – sensors, air quality and occupancy indicators.

DISCLAIMER: JLL and our staff are not authorized or qualified to guide or influence you in the preparation of your own business continuity or preparations plans from a health and public policy perspective. While we are making efforts to ensure we are providing an up-to-date list of publicly available resources, all details on COVID-19, as well as health and public policy implications, should be addressed with the advice of an independent specialist.

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