How COVID-19 is transforming Colorado commercial spaces

COVID-19 has not only impacted how we live our lives, but it has also drastically changed the way our businesses operate
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COVID-19 has not only impacted how we live our lives, but it has also drastically changed the way our businesses operate.

Many companies have risen to the occasion, taking immediate action to safeguard employees and adapting to new ways of operating. Across industries, leaders use the lessons from this large-scale work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work is done—and what role offices should play—in creative and bold ways.

While many industries have been able to acclimate to employees working from home, commercial real estate is a different story. Site selection and touring is an integral part of an industry that thrives on interpersonal connection.

Additionally, old commercial real estate priorities need to adapt to new health guidelines, which can greatly affect the number of people allowed in these spaces.

As a result, the real estate industry has expressly recognized the need for change and adaptation in response to COVID-19, as well as the need to embrace technology.

If your business has been converted from in-person to virtual as a result of COVID-19, you should have an effective and structured plan to transition back into your space.

As businesses adapt to a new normal, a plan can ease the stress of returning to work after the pandemic-related restrictions are lifted. Business owners will need to consider different approaches to reopening properties and making decisions about remote versus on-site jobs depending on the industry and location.

If you are a party to a commercial real estate lease, you will need to figure out how to adapt to accommodate current restrictions and limitations potentially for the remainder of the lease term.

Social distancing and other health department regulations can – and, for many businesses, probably will – extend through 2020 or until a vaccine is discovered. This will greatly affect how many people can be in a commercial space, which will greatly impact revenue potential of tenants and landlords.

The return to physical spaces will more than likely be guided by a myriad of federal, state and local regulations attempting to ensure hygiene, sanitization, health, and safety. Owners should consider whether there are cost effective technological solutions to reduce risks, such as cloud based computing, keyless entry or increasing air flow. Using more cloud-based tools for remote working and collaboration can aid in this difficult and transitional process as not everyone is familiar with the technology. Implementing key fobs for elevators and front doors can help alleviate the spread of the virus and put your employees and patrons at ease. Boosting air circulation or upgrading air filtration for HVAC systems might be options. Talking to professionals about these options and determining the best options moving forward will save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Another prudent use of money is to determine what are your rights in response to COVID-19 by having an attorney review your commercial real estate lease. Parties may be looking to excuse performance or make changes in response. Failing to comply with the lease provisions may result in a bad situation becoming worse. Analyzing the lease terms with a trained professional will further ensure that you are making the best choices for your business.

The challenges COVID-19 poses to business owners are daunting, but with proper planning and timely action nearly any commercial establishment can overcome them. Company leaders need to utilize data and collaborate closely with tenants to understand their needs, and be continuing to anticipate the possible outcomes to ensure not only the immediate success of reopening but the long-term success as well.

Categories: COVID-19, Industry Trends, Real Estate