Excerpted and reprinted with permission © Copyright 2021 Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International. From “Deep Dive No. 3: Health, Wellness and Sustainability Beyond COVID-19,” May 21, 2021. All rights reserved.
While the COVID-19 pandemic caught many by surprise, commercial real estate professionals are on track to emerge more informed and better prepared for the inevitable next time. Of course, we have traveled that path from unknowing before, awakened, as it were, from
In the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, for instance, the business community and the United States populace in general remained on high alert. Security screening appeared in lobbies and National Guard professionals began protecting transit hubs. Today, such measures, once so strikingly out of the norm, are now much like white noise. We have all grown used to taking our shoes off as we board airplanes or flashing our photo IDs in building lobbies.
Now, with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, the same dynamic is likely to take place with the protections we have put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But how exactly will this next New Normal take shape? Will we be social distancing in our offices this time next year? Elbow-bumping rather than shaking hands? And, even if conference rooms are sanitized between each use, how many of us will be comfortable using them? We know now that there is a direct, if hidden, interplay between place, culture and well-being, a relationship thoroughly probed in Deep Dive No. 2: Tenant Culture and the Psychology of the Return. But how will that interplay hold up in the long term, when the “Great Return” to offices has been completed and office workers once again have grown used to regularly entering—and spending a full day in—office buildings?
In addition, more than ever, it is clear that the topic of wellness cannot be fully addressed without also discussing sustainability. The intersection between the two had been considered long before we upgraded our minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) filtration to COVID-resistant levels. Now, the concepts are undeniably forged together. Likewise, responsible investing was already an attractive strategy for commercial building owners and— therefore—corporate tenants trying to prove their mission statements prior to the pandemic. And as Deep Dive No. 2 outlined, corporate responsibility translates into hiring and retention—so you can bet that idea is a late-stage pandemic favorite, too.
Needless to say, at this early stage of recovery in the United States—before most of the world has been fully vaccinated, with countries still fighting to contain new outbreaks and while we ponder the potential impacts of variant strains of the virus—some speculation (albeit educated speculation) is due to enter the conversation.
That said, Deep Dive No. 3 will tackle the ever-expanding, hard-to-define and presumably here-to-stay wellness issue from the following points of view:
- Table Stakes: Tenant Demand in the Long Term
- The Rise and Fall of Protocols n Nuts, Bolts and Swiss Cheese
- Of Pseudoscience and Greenwashing
- Sustainability, Our Buildings and the Bigger Picture
- BOMA International has launched its all-new BOMA Deep Dive series, aimed at providing property professionals with an unparalleled, comprehensive perspective on today’s priority topics:
- Deep Dive #1: Charting a Path to the Future of the Office
- Deep Dive #2: Tenant Culture and the Psychology of the Return
- Deep Dive #3: Health, Wellness, and Sustainability beyond COVID 19.
Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a federation of U.S. local associations and global affiliates. The leading trade association for commercial real estate professionals for more than 100 years, it represents the owners, managers, service providers and other property professionals for all commercial building types, including office, industrial, medical, corporate and mixed-use. BOMA International is the partner individuals in the commercial real estate industry choose to maximize value for their careers, organizations and assets. Its mission is to advance a vibrant commercial real estate industry through advocacy, influence and knowledge. For more information, visit www.boma.org