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At the end of June, CBRE’s Vancouver office took the first step in its reopening journey.
One of the first CBRE offices to reopen in North America, the process is being undertaken with an abundance of caution. With employees split into two teams that alternate from week to week, capacity will never exceed 40.0%.
New cleaning procedures have been implemented, along with distancing guidelines and the closure of gathering spaces like the central hub called the RISE café.
While things certainly look and function differently than they did in early March, Jason Kiselbach, CBRE Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Vancouver office, is optimistic about the opportunity to gather and collaborate in person.
He spoke with us about the first days back at the Vancouver office and what’s to come.
The First Week Back
“I can’t describe how great it is to be back in the office along with some of the normal routine. Overall, I would say it’s been uneventful in a good way,” Kiselbach says about his first days at the newly reopened office.
“People are being cautious about returning and moving through the space, and that’s exactly what we want. Technically it’s a reopening, but the amount of planning and effort feels like the initial launch. Everyone has been very cooperative throughout the process.”
A New Experience
“When it’s their week to come to the office, as a member of either the Green or Gold team, employees complete a self-check for COVID-19 symptoms to determine if they can come into the office. They then line up to use the elevator and check in at the concierge desk with their health check confirmation.”
Kiselbach admits it’s a different experience than employees will remember.
“While the flow of people is controlled and our social hub, the RISE café is now grab and go, people appreciate being able to connect in person, to see colleagues they haven’t been with in months.”
And there’s a flexibility to the new set up that has benefits.
“Our people have the ability to balance the needs of their clients with their own safety considerations and work preferences,” says Kiselbach. “We’re seeing people come in for a meeting, maybe work in the office for an hour before and an hour after, and then be on their way.
Of course, these are early days, but Kiselbach is optimistic about the reopening process thus far.
“We’re one of the first CBRE offices to open in North America and are leaders amongst our office using clients in Vancouver,” he says.
“From my perspective, you have to live what you sell. And that’s what we’re doing, in a safe and well considered way. We’re showing what it looks like to return to the office during COVID-19 and how office space will adapt, but remain relevant during and long after the pandemic.”