By Tracy Lewis, Managing Director
Another month of lockdown completed and, as I write this, the easing of restrictions has extended to some children returning to school and we are now able to meet with our loved ones in groups of six people, still from the safe social distance of 2m. The sun has been shining up until yesterday with hay-fever hitting hard this year as it thrives due to the lack of pollution in the air. We are also now considering how to return safely to our workplaces.
I know I speak for everyone at Carbonxgen when I say that we all crave returning to our offices; actually seeing our colleagues, collaborating around the meeting room table and enjoying the banter and yet this will not be the reality for some time to come. Instead, we are thinking about how we can return in shift patterns, work in social bubbles and how working from home has changed how we work, maybe forever.
The pandemic will understandably raise questions from individuals about their safety when returning to buildings, but has also put a wider focus in people’s minds on health and wellbeing due to both the sadness and grief that has been witnessed as a result of COVID-19 itself, and the resulting mental health impacts which have also ensued from this and the lockdown. Returning to our workplace will not be an easy transition, physically or mentally. Alongside the preparations to the buildings which will need to happen to allow a safe return, it is important to engage individually with staff and tenants to understand their concerns, allay their fears and consider a plan to return set against their circumstances – there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this re-introduction process.
The health and well-being movement began some time ago – the impact of COVID-19 will accelerate this. We believe the same ‘transition risks’ that exist for climate change, also exist for the health and well-being movement as the failure of businesses to create healthy workplaces presents a risk to their future.
Of course, the response to COVID-19 and re-building economies also presents an opportunity to address the critical climate crisis, and the same is true at the building level – in the context of COVID-19, buildings must protect the health of occupants and deliver on Net Zero. Buildings which fail to address the need to deliver on these objectives risk obsolescence due to both the physical risks and transition risks presented.
I have used this term many times over the last few months, but let us not waste this crisis – understand the obsolescence risk of your assets – there is no better time than now!
In the meantime, stay in touch and stay safe!