We got John Whitley of Landmark Spaces, a real estate company that operates 46 office buildings across England and Scotland, on the line to talk about how his company has prepared for the re-introduction of the workforce to the office space.

John explained that one of the most important things was communicating with their clients and ensuring that there was an understanding about the barriers and challenges of a return to the office. Landmark Spaces has prioritized working with their clients to understand the fears of the employees, concluding that a fear of catching something, the use of public transport, and personal fears like childcare safety were the top three on people’s minds. Then came the work to implement measures to assuage those fears.

On top of regular temperature monitoring upon building entry, John and his company have implemented innovative techniques like digital signage containing social distancing rules and real time monitoring of foot traffic so that people know when, say, the path to the bathroom is less cluttered. As for how to enforce those rules, John said that people are more likely to adhere to a set of rules when you really explain why they’re there and how they’re protecting people. “The main thing for us is, set an expectation, set the reasoning for that expectation and how you want to behave, and then, last but not least, apply some common sense to how you apply it,” said John.

When it comes to the future of office spaces, John said “People want collaboration. They want innovation, and they’re going to want human interaction that you just don’t get from home.”

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