Evolving Ideas About Workplace Health and Safety Affect the CRE Industry
Commercial tenants have become savvier than ever about workplace health and safety issues. Consequently, property owners and managers who want to attract and retain lessees must apply innovative strategies to improve the wellness and security of their buildings. Otherwise, they risk losing long-term income streams, not to mention their hard-won reputations.
Staying at the leading edge of maintenance best practices is key in the eyes of eager commercial renters. Here are four areas in which facilities experts can improve building efficiency, safety, and health:
1. Take overall indoor air quality seriously. Most newer structures are airtight, which is great for reducing costs associated with drafts. At the same time, the air circulating from room to room tends to get stale, becoming a ventilation nightmare. As carpeting and furnishings release chemical volatile organic compounds — or VOCs — the environment can irritate those with respiratory conditions, and tenants may experience frequent colds and headaches.
Two methods to improve indoor air quality include installing air purification filtering equipment and regularly deep-cleaning carpets using a “dry cleaning” method. When carpets are sanitized down to the fibers, they can filter more VOCs and regular debris, leading to fresh-smelling spaces that are also less harmful to tenants’ health.
2. Buy carpeting and textiles featuring low VOCs. That “new carpet” smell may be pleasant to some tenants, but it’s a deceptive odor. The aroma actually comes from VOCs, some of which may be human carcinogens. Therefore, in addition to regularly cleaning every carpeted or textile area, property managers may want to explore more environmentally friendly replacements.
Carpet tiles can be a good choice because they don’t necessitate the use of VOC-laden adhesives. They also tend to last longer than traditional carpets, creating even more cost savings. Of course, some property owners still want carpet that comes in 12-foot rolls. Luckily, many carpet manufacturers are experimenting with low-VOC choices for facilities managers who want to go green.
3. Create a customized maintenance schedule. Every property should be as clean as possible, which makes routine maintenance a necessity. As one survey noted, 94% of manufacturing employees said having a sanitized workspace was directly linked to their happiness, and another 90% said it improved their productivity.
Thus, to ensure the wellness and safety of people in the building, consider following a maintenance schedule. Outside of regular janitorial tasks, facility managers are encouraged to work with vendors to create a custom deep-cleaning protocol. Additionally, managers should get their facility’s HVAC equipment checked regularly to ensure clean air is always circulating. Finally, instead of laying new carpet for a 90,000-square-foot space — which can cost up to $350,000 — simply extend the life of the current carpet.
4. Work to bridge gaps in insurance coverage. Many property managers haven’t checked their general liability insurance clauses lately — but they should. Most don’t cover environmental failures, which creates a huge gap in coverage.
Finding a provider to cover environmental risks may take a little legwork, but it’s well worth the trouble. Plus, having this type of modern coverage gives potential tenants peace of mind to choose one property over another.
Taking care of a property means more than keeping the lights on and the doors locked. Lessees expect their facilities managers to care about their well-being (not just the integrity of the structure itself). Landlords who take these expectations seriously have the best chance of negotiating long-term leases.
Are you interested in learning more about MilliCare ’s customized Total Care Plans? Contact us today to schedule an on-site demo.