Concerning office parks re-opening, some of the biggest questions we at MOBLZ often get asked by property managers are:
Q: HOW CAN WE GET EMPLOYEES TO COME BACK TO THE PARKS?
MOBLZ has been working on this situation pretty hard and putting a lot of thought and effort into it. First of all, we want everyone to be safe and not contribute to any COVID surges, outbreaks, or backslides. These are a few ideas to help get people back on site.
MOBLZ works with many food trucks. Link up employers with the trucks and schedule an "Employee Appreciation Day". Free food will always bring people out. We recently ran a Cinco de Mayo / Mother's Day event with local vendors and food trucks. Free virgin margaritas completed the Cinco de Mayo theme and were a popular draw. The event rewarded the people who are coming into the office and thanked them for their hard work.
A question that arose at the event was whether people from the surrounding area should be invited. MOBLZ believes it helps to invite people from around your complex. The reasoning is that people will visit your facility, see how nice it is, see activities you have and may want to come back every day or even move to your place.
During the May 5 event, the MOBLZ team did a driving survey of the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area of North Carolina. They visited the campuses of big employers like Cisco, Netapp, MetLife, Varonis, Credit Suisse and all of their offices were empty.
Q: WHEN ARE OTHER COMPANIES RE-OPENING THEIR OFFICES?
From the companies in central North Carolina that we have surveyed, many are saying that July 1 will be the opening day, and some are saying it may be as late as September 1. Others are saying they really have no idea. Unfortunately, it will take time and with the demographics of each company and complex being different, there will be variance. Many companies sent everyone home at one time, but the return will not look like that. One huge variable is what the local school systems are doing - staying virtual or meeting in person. If schools stay virtual, it's more likely that companies will as well.
The key takeaway from this is that there will be great variance in how office parks will be re-populated and in what timeframe. Unfortunately, it will be a waiting game to see how it all shakes out.