Over the past few weeks, an increasing number of states and municipalities have issued shelter-in-place orders, hoping to contain the COVID-19 outbreak from spreading further. This has led to large-scale temporary closures of commercial properties, including the offices of many real estate firms, forcing industry professionals to work (and largely stay) at home. This has happened at the same time as children and spouses are back at home too, with schools, colleges, non-essential shops and entertainment venues closed for business. So how are commercial real estate professionals staying productive and staying sane while adjusting to the country’s new lifestyle?
NREI asked Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist at New York City-based Moody’s Analytics REIS, Connecticut-based Greg MacKinnon, director of research with the Pension Real Estate Association, Sandy Sigal, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based NewMark Merrill, Trish Sikiric, manager of research services in Stan Johnson Company’s New York City office, Jonathan Cohen, chief operating officer with Los Angeles-based Universe Holdings, Mary Cook, president and founder of Chicago-based commercial interior design firm Mary Cook Associates, and Bruce Beck, president of California-based real estate public relations firm DB&R Marketing Communications, to find out how they are coping with working from home and sheltering in place.
What has been the biggest challenge about this new work situation the past couple of weeks?
Most of the team is working from home, but I come to the office (as it is easier to work here) and for meetings. It is constant flow of analyzing what needs to be done to support our communities, our centers, and both those tenants that are open and those that are closed and need help. In addition, it is speaking to our lenders, our investors and others in the real estate community that need and provide insight into our new world. [The biggest challenge is] keeping our communication going in real time, making sure we stay connected and being proactive as opposed to dealing with things that seem to be popping up moment-to-moment. This crisis went from 0 to 60 in under a week, so it is building new structure and a solid foundation.
What are you doing/watching/reading to entertain yourself and stay sane?
I finished “Hunters.” I am reading a great book about American leaders called “Crisis in Leadership” and I have been trying to beat my youngest son in pool.