CREW Coffee Diaries

May 5, 2020
CREW Coffee is an on-going Tuesday morning event to help members stay connected during COVID-19.  Hosted by a Board member, conversations are prompted around the realities of shifting work to home due to social distancing, balancing professional and personal duties and seeing a new era of commercial real estate unfold as the industry plans for and adapts to a post-pandemic future. CREW Coffee Diaries looks at the spirit of conversations from past events. Click here for CREW Coffee event dates.

May 5, 2020
What are you reading or watching these days?

As a change of pace, today’s Board host, Melissa Nowak asked which books or tv series are helping members through this pandemic? Where the Crawdads Sing, The Water Dancer, TransAtlantic, Grace & Frankie, The Last Dance and Ozark are among the books and binge-worthy watching providing a distraction from the COVID-19 crisis. Gardening, knitting, and walking the dog have become coveted activities that reinvigorate members after a long day in the home office.

The conversation turned to the personal fears we have about reopening for business. Using transit, waiting for and being in elevators, using public washrooms and any crowded situation were immediately identified. Property managers are inundated with tenant questions on reopening requiring nimble thinking to reverse building density for a healthier environment. Working together and managing differently will be key to a successful workplace reintegration.  

April 28, 2020 
Home Offices = Working Differently

Board host, Mya Rahimian opened today’s conversation about the need to work differently in our home-offices. Aided by technology, the pandemic has proven that individuals and teams are productive when working from home: 
  • Virtual tours of vacant space and construction sites have kept leasing and building projects moving forward. 
  • The adoption of new technologies has enhanced building team capacity, prevented over-crowding at construction sites and improved the management of shared spaces.
  • A shift from emails and phone calls to video calls has built stronger relationships among dispersed teams or clients.
The take-away? The pandemic has changed the way we live and work and some changes might be worth keeping.  Better work-life balance, better recognition of individuals and roles, respect for others and preserving our natural environment were cited as valuable learning during the pandemic that is important to carry forward personally and professionally. 
April 21, 2020
What will reopening for business look like?

Board host Kim Train's conversation starter was about reopening for business and what it might look like. Members cited company discussions about shifting workstations further apart or staggering those who work in the office with those working from home, creating one-way directional flows through office spaces, limiting capacity in common areas like meeting and lunch rooms, increasing cleaning schedules for high-touch surfaces, adding more hand-sanitizer stations and how to limit crowding for elevator access.

The conversation broadened to all aspects of property and tenant management like how food courts will be managed and pedestrian flow through and around buildings during peak times? While no one yet has all the answers, these topics are being used as conversation starters between leasing teams and tenants to keep an open dialogue and strengthen relationships.

April 14, 2020
Positive Aspects of being Home-Based

Board host Farrah Khimji launched CREW Coffee with a discussion on the positive aspects of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. No commute, more sleep and easy morning routines has allowed more time for kids, workouts, professional development, personal interests and helping others. Attendees expressed how they are in touch with family and friends locally and abroad more than ever before.  

Unfortunately, some expressed a decrease in work activity and others an increase in hours due to working across different time zones.  

The discussion turned to heartwarming stories of how their companies are responding to the crisis, such as retooling equipment to make face shields, engaging suppliers in supplying fabric for healthcare face masks and establishing an employee relief fund for financial support. 

There’s no going back to normal after the pandemic, especially for how and where we work.