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Apartment Industry Pros Return to the Home Office

August 13, 2020

Every morning, Jonathan Cohen drives to work through the empty streets of Los Angeles.

“It’s a whole new experience… traffic has been wonderful,” says Cohen, chief operating officer of Universe Holdings, an owner and operator of apartment buildings with dozens of properties in Southern California, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Most offices in the city are still closed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. But more than two-thirds of the people who used to work at Universal’s main office in a high-rise tower in the Century City neighborhood have been back at their desks on any given workday since early this summer.

A growing number of companies that own and manage apartments are bringing employees back to work to their main offices and applying best practices companies have learned from throughout the crisis. Some—like Universal—moved faster than others. However, all of these firms pay for extra rounds of cleaning and disinfection.

Real estate companies in general have been at the leading edge of returning workforces to office buildings. For example, JLL reopened about 75 of its U.S. offices, including its headquarters at Chicago’s Aon Center in July.

As they are bringing more employees on site, these firms are requiring face coverings and have put more distance between workstations to help keep everyone safe. A few have also considered renovations that could improve air quality in offices.

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