Owners of high-quality office space have always focussed on cleanliness and hygiene. But Covid has heightened customers’ awareness of the value of clean and hygienic spaces, and this is making workplaces even healthier, Cook notes.
“I don’t think people will ever again tolerate colleagues entering the office with a cold."
Some of the short-term tactical measures to address Covid, like sanitation stations, QR codes, sneeze guards and social distance stickers, won't be with us forever. However, other Covid legacies such as deep cleaning and touchless technology, will become permanent.
“Whenever there has been a Covid case in our buildings, we’ve undertaken a ‘deep clean’. The extra work required for a deep clean is not as intrusive or as costly as everyone first thought.” Why? “Because cleaning was always comprehensive in Premium, A and B grade buildings, even before Covid,” Cook says.
“Further, as most building owners experienced at least one or two exposures, the cleaning and facilities management teams were quick to learn and introduce processes to address the challenge.”
Cleaners have become a very visible presence in Investa’s buildings. “People see our masked cleaners throughout the work day, and this is a reminder that we are looking after our buildings and our customers’ safety.”
And what about air quality? Cook says high performing buildings in Australia already have “world class” air quality. He points to Investa’s Barrack Place at Sydney’s 151 Clarence Street, which achieved a WELL Platinum rating in 2019 – the highest rating awarded by the International WELL Building Institute. Advanced air filtration throughout Barrack Place was installed upfront to reduce pollutants and particulate matter, enhancing comfort and air quality.
“The lessons we learnt at Barrack Place have set a baseline and we are trialling new technology at other our assets, such as ultra-violet air treatment at Investa’s newest development at 39 Martin Place. But we are doing this cautiously, because we want to make sure we invest in the right solutions to make people secure and genuinely keep people safe.” Cook says.
“I don’t think people will ever again tolerate colleagues entering the office with a cold" says Michael Cook, Group Executive, Property