A menu of services provided by the Workwell Coalition: a collective of organizations leveraging diverse capabilities for holistic workplace renewal in response to COVID-19.
Affiliated Engineers, Inc. -- DIALOG -- EcoAmmo -- Entro -- Lake Flato -- PLASTARC -- stok -- Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
Navigating healthy, sustainable workplace renewals
A 10-STEP ROADMAP
- Account for factors outside of your control
- Determine who needs to come in, and how they will be grouped
- Prepare people, policies, and protocols
- Leverage flexibility and diversity to de-densify
- Assess building preparedness
- Pay close attention to restrooms and pantry facilities
- Lean on building technology to optimize building performance, enhance user experience (UX), and promote wellness
- Prepare for contact-tracing strategies
- Build trust through transparency
- Leverage long-term teleworking
Employees’ ability to return may continue to be impacted by public transit or childcare availability.
People will probably come back in tranches: how will you decide who is present at the same time?
Update guidelines around sick leave, telework, desking practices and cleaning.
De-densify spaces in ways that improve, rather than hinder flexibility and user experience.
Coordinate with building owners and facilities personnel to optimize building systems, operations, and cleaning schedules.
Most occupants will use one or more of these spaces every day. Proactively address them.
Consider changes that might improve building performance and user experience while also protecting public and occupant health.
Lay critical groundwork for any contact-tracing efforts in case an employee becomes ill.
Practice a people-first approach to change by engaging early and often.
Improvements in communication, management, and technology that result are beneficial to all.
OVERVIEW OF SERVICES INCLUDED
Account for factors outside of your control
Individual employees and organizations as a whole will continue to be impacted by factors that are outside of your control, such as transportation infrastructure or restrictions that limit availability of childcare. It is within the remit of the employer to incorporate these realities into return-to-office planning and adjust expectations of employees who are impacted. The service items included in this Step provide means by which to make decisions about the organization’s response as it evolves and establishes new channels of communication to keep your people informed.
General sharing of resources (ALL)
Each member of the Coalition will provide key resources pertaining to navigating your future workplace. This convenient hub of thought leadership allows clients to understand the wide range of modifications and assessments required in order to optimize the current experience, return to the physical office, and/or leverage long-term teleworking.
Regulatory brief preparation and support (ZD Law)
Our team will prepare regulatory briefs for your organization that address the relevant state, local, and federal regulatory requirements. These briefs will also provide an understanding of best practice guidelines that account for key legal considerations.
Determine who needs to come in, and how they will be grouped
The physical workplace exists to support teams and enable them to work together effectively. In order to maintain social distance, people will probably come back in tranches. How will you decide who is present at the same time? The service items included in this Step are designed to guide decisions about who should return to the office and how they should be arranged within space, including who will be in the building at the same time.
Workforce & Org Sprint Review (PLASTARC)
Our team will engage client leadership to determine overall strategy and phase requirements; gain leadership buy-in and project momentum; share support documents; and establish project controls and meeting schedules. HR onboarding practices, workplace communications and policies, and organizational branding guidelines will be requested and reviewed with corporate service team members such as HR, IT, and Office Managers functions.
Workstyle Profiling Report (PLASTARC)
Surveys will be leveraged to collect data required to categorize similar types of occupants by user personas and workstyles. These profiles describe the functions and activities carried out by the users and the preferable space types and technology set-ups required to successfully fulfill their professional responsibilities. Actionable selection criteria will be created using workstyle profiles to identify the proportions of your workforce that are critical to Return to Office to inform total addressable populations for future planning purposes.
Data collection (Lake Flato/Dialog)
In order to perform evaluations and assessments of existing and potential space planning conditions, documents and drawings related to the existing workplace will be requested and reviewed. These include existing planning initiatives, as well as all relevant architectural documentation files. On boarding of projects also includes meetings with leadership and staff to understand existing organizational structures and programs.
Prepare people, policies, and protocols
As companies plan for future workplace circumstances, policies and protocols must be formulated that provide flexibility and choice to employees while prioritizing wellness. These may include guidelines around sick leave, telework, and/or desking practices intended to reduce exposure. The service items included in this Step address communications needs as well as enhanced policies and procedures for employment, operations, and sustainability plans.
COVID-Specific Legal Support (Zetlin & De Chiara)
Federal, state and local regulations relating to office space and family leave laws have changed substantially as a result of the COVID pandemic. Many employers will require a supplement to their existing employee manuals to cover these rapidly evolving and substantial changes. In addition, employers need to be aware of federal, state and local laws and regulations that may pertain to areas including management of office space, protection of employees in the office and in the field and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Z&D will assemble a customized set of relevant laws and regulations of which any business must be aware in connection with reopening its office(s).
Return to Office Change Management Communications Support (PLASTARC)
We will develop channel specific communications for your organization to address the on-going COVID development in relation to business continuity, return-to-office planning topics, and how back-to-work plans protect and promote employee health. Our materials will help address concerns from stakeholders which may include employees, executive teams and any external constituents.
Sustainability Action Plan, Building, and Operational Policy Development (stok/EcoAmmo)
We will work with your team to identify operational needs, define objectives, and set goals for sustainability policies in response to relevant opportunities and risks. Service items include consultation, communication, and collaboration related to evaluating the impacts of existing strategies as well as long-term sustainability implications of new policies and/or operating parameters.
Integrated Design Process Facilitation / Community Wellbeing Framework (includes the workshop as well as goals tracking and coordination throughout design) (Lake Flato/Dialog)
The service includes the planning, research, and leading an interactive interdisciplinary workshop to guide the development of an actionable framework for the subsequent planning and design process. Other Coalition Partners would be engaged in a collaborative process to ensure an integrated outcome that establishes shared aspirational goals and benchmarks to measure success for your workplace environments.
Leverage flexibility and diversity to de-densify
As companies plan for a future in which fewer people come into work simultaneously, they should seek to de-densify spaces in ways that improve, rather than hinder, flexibility and user experience. The service items included in this Step leverage quantitative and qualitative workplace research data to inform new strategies and guidelines for desk usage, areas of assembly, and overall workforce mobility and circulation within the workplace.
Return to Office Strategy Development: Physical and Virtual Workplace Experience Recommendations (PLASTARC)
Key relationships and staff profiles - as assessed via occupancy studies, workplace analytics, surveys, visioning sessions, and meetings - will be leveraged to develop recommendations for Return to Office strategies and communications around HR, IT, and FM that accommodate both in-office and tele-workers.
Physical Workspace and Building Preparedness Assessment (PLASTARC)
Our team will analyze current workplace density capacities and desk arrangements to inform plans for returning to the office. Recommendations for a COVID-modified workplace will be provided that comply with social distancing protocols and serve all identified client work styles, activities, and functions.
Existing Condition Evaluation, Planning + Conceptual Test Fit Studies (Lake Flato/Dialog)
Our architectural and interiors team will evaluate your Workplace including office, open office, collaboration/meeting spaces and social spaces in the context of COVID Responsive best practices. In collaboration with your staff and leadership, we will recommend alternative configurations that institute safe distancing, minimize touchpoints and reflect safe workplace guidelines.
Wayfinding and Signage Design (Entro)
While spaces can't easily be changed, we can change human behaviour with effective communication, and good design can make difficult changes possible, while brightening our everyday experiences. Our custom signage design ensures key messages are properly located throughout your facility, while allowing you to maintain your brand, voice, and look-and-feel as you communicate new guidelines and directives to your employees.
Peer Review of Physical Space Plan, Signage and Other Safety Training Materials (PLASTARC)
Acting in a liaison and advocate capacity to provide insightful review and recommendation to the Space Planning phase, our services include the continued sharing of research findings and suggestions to inform desired design outcomes in response to the impact of COVID, through: recurring design reviews, continuous on-call advising and support, and data analytics.
Assess building preparedness
It may not be possible to return to the workplace until building operations are properly adjusted. Organizations must coordinate with building owners and facilities personnel to optimize building systems, operations, and cleaning schedules. The service items included in this Step incorporate assessments, analyses, and recommendations related to adapting building systems and shared amenities to meet your team’s needs.
Short-term Sustainability Impact Evaluation and Consulting (stok)
We will evaluate the short-term sustainability impacts of back-to-work design and operations parameters and policy changes. We will evaluate those modifications on how they impact: waste, energy, carbon and water usage, single-use plastic procurement and potentially-caustic cleaning chemical usage. The evaluation team will demonstrate how to minimize the negative and maximize the positive impacts of all changes through strategies like recycling, energy reduction opportunities, non-toxic cleaning chemical selection, and alternative transportation and culinary program options.
Exterior Space Review (Lake Flato/Dialog)
Access is critical to occupant safety, especially for tenant spaces in multi-tenant buildings that must navigate through common areas from the street. We will evaluate current conditions and suggest alternatives for exterior queueing, mechanical door openings and closures, vertical transportation protocols and bike storage.
Existing Interior Materials & Furnishings Review and Analysis and Recommendation for Replacements with Healthy Materials and Furnishings that Support Occupant Health (Lake Flato/Dialog)
With the objective of having a healthy work environment that is appropriate for COVID cleaning best practices, we will review existing materials and installation methods and analyze the degree to which they support the objective. We will select and specify sustainable replacement materials that support a high indoor air quality and enhanced comfort throughout the work environment, support COVID cleaning best practices to minimize surface transmission while also reducing unnecessary waste and anticipating long term durability. Recommendations to comply with CDC Cleaning & Disinfecting Guidance, WELL v1, v2 and LEED v4 requirements.
HVAC Systems Review and Analysis (Dialog/AEI)
Our mechanical engineers are uniquely positioned to assist your business in creating a healthy and safe environment. Our team will assess existing conditions and provide facility-specific recommendations for implementing cost-effective measures that reduce the risk of airborne spread of infections and improve indoor air quality by analyzing filtration, air treatment, ventilation, pressurization, control systems, and operations and maintenance considerations. These recommendations will be evaluated for their energy use implications and suggestions will be made that minimize energy use impacts.
Building Retrofit Feasibility Studies (EcoAmmo)
As office space requirements in existing buildings will be flux, many buildings may find better pro-formas with change of use. We offer building retrofit feasibility studies to test the viability of changing use or holistically retrofitting building systems for greater profitability for building owners and less operating costs for their tenants.
Building Re-Commissioning (EcoAmmo/stok)
As businesses get back-to-work, they will be moving into buildings and spaces that have been unoccupied for an extended period of time and whose HVAC operating parameters are being adjusted to allow for re-occupancy. To ensure that these HVAC systems can handle the adjustments and that systems are operating optimally, re-commissioning is necessary. We work with building managers and operators to re-tool and assist in making buildings operate at maximum efficiency, and train building operators to regularly manage building systems for effective energy efficiency and occupant health.
Pay close attention to restrooms and pantry facilities
Shared facilities and amenities warrant special attention. Restrooms are critical to the user experience of spaces, and pantries offer refreshments and socialization. Most occupants of the building will use one or both of these spaces every day. They include plumbing fixtures and, in the case of pantries, food handling. In addition to services offered in previous Steps, it is likely necessary to make changes to usage, maintenance, and equipment related to these spaces, and this service item is designed to help you do so proactively.
Plumbing Systems Review and Analysis (Dialog or AEI)
As businesses re-open, many buildings and facilities have been empty or near empty for long periods of time. This service would review existing plumbing systems and provide recommendations to reduce the risk of infection from stagnant plumbing systems and/or operational issues from long periods of zero or low usage.
Lean on building technology to optimize building performance, enhance user experience (UX) and promote wellness
By the sheer volume of data they now generate, buildings are among the leaders in the “Internet of Things.” The value proposition of Intelligent Buildings is to leverage data and use technology more effectively in order to improve energy and operational efficiency, while enhancing user experience and improving public health. The service items in this Step will allow you to explore how technology can reduce operational costs and enhance user experience, including broader use of automation for touch-free services where appropriate.
Security Systems Review and Analysis (AEI)
An assessment of existing security systems and policies will be utilized to identify potential impacts resulting from a reduction in building occupants and changes in wayfinding and circulation. Additionally, our team will review facility access controls and existing emergency preparedness to assess opportunities for enhanced security. Additional security training will be provided as needed.
Technology UX and Wellness - Consultation and Insight Reports (ALL)
Each member of the Coalition will provide key resources and consultation services pertaining to smart building research and future workplace innovation. Key reports will be provided in relation to optimizing mobile applications and touchless user interfaces, such as for lighting, room temperature, A/V systems, restroom fixtures, and door controls.
Guidance for touchless smart building technology (AEI)
Touchless surfaces make a significant difference in both perceived and real cleanliness. Our team will provide an assessment of existing building technologies, conduct an Intelligent Building Ideation Workshop, and identify and document opportunities to utilize touchless solutions to minimize virus transmission that simultaneously improve building performance and enhance occupant experience.
Prepare for contact-tracing strategies
An Intelligent Building (IB) is a building that leverages technology to reduce its environmental impact, protect occupant health and safety, attract and retain top talent, improve employee productivity, enhance occupant experience, and become more operationally efficient for building owners. For maximum effectiveness, the service items included in this Step aid in developing workplace strategies for contact-tracing that pair social data with protocols for confirming wellness, such as front-door health screenings.
Tech guidance for contact-tracing (AEI)
Our team will provide guidance related to available tech platforms that significantly aid in contact-tracing, such as space planning, occupancy sensor, and other facilities management systems. Our advisory services will include the continued sharing of research findings and suggestions that are responsive to real-time usage and maintenance of the workplace.
Communications support and coordination (PLASTARC)
Guidance will be provided for communications pertaining to contact-tracing strategies. This support will address key topics and strategies for conducting landlord negotiations, as well as coordinating with fellow building tenants and adjusting for subsequent implications on HR policies and employee behavior.
Build trust through transparency
Now more than ever, an effective high-performing team will be critical to success. This requires placing a priority on developing trust among team members through taking stock of your current morale and ensuring transparent communication of your company culture. These service items are designed to aid you in practicing a people-first approach to change by providing the tools necessary to engage your team early and often.
Internal Health and Wellness Communications (stok)
Our team will create bespoke messaging with a health and wellness focus that details how a client has recreated their workplaces space to prevent the spread of COVID. This includes internal messaging around how a client's sustainability and specific wellness goals show that they take their employees’ health and wellbeing seriously.
’Work-at-Home’ Experience Survey (PLASTARC)
We will administer a survey to all staff to poll topics such as workplace amenities, work style preferences, technology use and needs, organizational leadership, and productivity pre and during COVID.
High-Performing Team Assessment and Culture Training (EcoAmmo)
Now more than ever, an effective high-performing team will be critical to success. With all the uncertainty in the world and the stresses at home, only a Super Team could thrive. In this series of three 2 hour online workshops we will help you uncover your super team, create clarity on behaviours that will enable them to perform at their best, and build trust between them even when they are separated.
Leverage long-term teleworking
Due to COVID lockdowns, the workplace was dispersed into homes and self isolated work. Improvements in communication, management, and technology that result are beneficial to all. We recognize the variance in the degree of self-motivation and direction amongst individuals, which requires added attention given the unsupervised nature of remote work.
Extended (Virtual) Workforce On-Going Support (PLASTARC)
Working with the organization’s IT, FM and HR functions to ensure their extended virtual workforce has the same tools, resources and social connection to folks within the office to be productive.
Sustainability Impact Evaluation of Policy Changes (stok)
Evaluate the sustainability impacts of long-term policy changes resulting from COVID, including telework and travel policy options, to help the guide the selection of policies that align with the firm's larger Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals and have the biggest positive environmental impact.
Team Communication & Team Empowerment Training (EcoAmmo)
The uncertainty in the world has put a strain on all of our lives, it is difficult, but it is also an opportunity to improve. In these three 2 hour workshops learn how to promote collaboration and maximize productivity in a remote environment, learn how to communicate with your peers to get the best out of them - even if they are on the other side of the world, and learn how to optimize your processes so you can do more with less effort while having fun!”
OVERVIEW OF TEAMS DELIVERING SERVICES
◣ Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI)
Established in 1978, AEI plans, designs, and delivers high performance engineered systems for complex projects. Organized for collaborative achievement, we integrate the work of over 700 professionals across 17 US offices into a single, technical knowledge community and culture of high intellectual standards. The firm emphasizes sustainability, environmental stewardship and integrated technology in our work as implicit priorities of high performance design for reducing risk of MEP system failure, enhancing resilience and improving occupant experience.
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIORS PLANNING AND DESIGN
DIALOG is an integrated design practice built on the principle that we are better together. With more than 600 people our team includes architects, interior designers, urban designers and planners, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and landscape architects. We believe that design can and should meaningfully improve the wellbeing of our communities and the environments we all share. Our work includes designing for urban vibrancy, health and wellness, education, retail and commercial.
HPT/LEAN & SUSTAINABILITY
EcoAmmo’s purpose is to transition the world towards sustainability! EcoAmmo offers facilitation, team and project management services related to green building certification and operational monitoring and reporting. EcoAmmo’s unique skill set of building culture makes them a strong facilitator on any project. In addition, EcoAmmo has an in-depth knowledge of Lean process improvements and will accelerate any project toward reducing waste and refining the schedule while adding value for the clients.
WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE AND JOURNEY PLANNING
With a legacy dating back 50 years and a team of over 55 in offices in Toronto, Calgary, New York, Sydney and Zürich, Entro is a world leader in the field of branding and environmental Design. We offer design services in wayfinding, signage, environmental graphics, exhibit design, branding and media architecture. Our interdisciplinary team brings together expertise in architecture, graphic design, media, fine arts, industrial design, engineering, planning and project management.
◣ Lake Flato
ARCHITECTURE, INTERIORS, INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING AND DESIGN
As national leaders in high performance design, Lake|Flato Architects creates healthy workplace and learning environments that result in vibrant academic, corporate and social communities. We leverage integrated space planning and architectural and interior design to curate meaningful experiences within tactile and inviting spaces that connect people to their communities and the natural environment. A collaborative process within our office of 115 staff engages clients and subconsultants to foster a creative culture in which ideas can flourish.
WORKPLACE STRATEGY AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT
PLASTARC is a social science-based workplace consultancy. By blending qualitative and quantitative research with expertise in design and change leadership, PLASTARC provides clients with unique insights that promote healthier and higher-performing spaces.
SUSTAINABLE REAL ESTATE SERVICES
stok provides sustainability-focused real estate services to developers, property owners, and tenants around the world. By integrating project management, sustainable design, and engineering and commissioning services, stok optimizes communication and cost savings to radically improve project delivery.
◥ Zetlin & De Chiara
Zetlin & De Chiara LLP is a construction law firm that deals with all aspects of construction law and the built environment. Z&D provides legal and business counsel to real estate owners, developers, financial institutions, owners’ representatives, design professionals, construction managers and contractors.