44 (139) 2020
Download PDF-version

Coping with the New Normal - Covid-19 and after

Skanska rolls out new safety standards to create new office concept

By Arkadiusz Rudzki, EVP Leasing & Sales in Skanska commercial development unit in CEE
Header arkadiusz rudzki 2019  4


Skanska has created some new rules and adapted workplaces in Central and Eastern Europe to support its tenants returning to their offices. The new offer called Care for Life Office Concept includes recommendations and consultancy regarding new hygiene and safety protocols, adjustment of existing technologies in Skanska’s buildings and reorganisation of office areas. The concept is being developed for Skanska buildings in CEE in cooperation with external experts.

Skanska’s commercial development business unit in CEE is an office real-estate market leader that operates on ten city markets in four countries: Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Poland. In March 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, Skanska implemented several safety precautions for its employees and business partners, as well as on project sites, to ensure the safety of its people and to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. This approach enabled the company to continue construction despite the challenges caused by the outbreak. Skanska office buildings are being delivered without significant delays. This was possible thanks to efficient cooperation between investor and general contractor within the Skanska Group.
Skanska was able to adapt to this new situation so quickly because of flexibility in terms of working hours and home office rules, which already existed in the company. It would not have been possible without an extensive use of digital tools that greatly facilitate virtual meetings and everyday tasks. After nearly two months of working remotely, some employees are now coming back to their offices. To provide employees with clear guidelines and information on the new set up, Skanska offices have been equipped with specially designed visual identifications that help employees and visitors follow social-distancing policies. All the pandemic-related internal communications have been standardised and made from sustainable materials. These include posters and floor markings with recommendations for every area or room in the office, with general rules for employees to follow.
Skanska has put much effort into developing new and adjusting core attributes and characteristics of its office buildings, by taking advantage of WELL certification and its new technology solutions like Connected by Skanska, which enables touchless way of moving around in an office building.
In addition to actions that have already been taken by Skanska within its own office space, knowledge and new safety standards are also shared with the company’s clients – especially those who have decided to return to the ‘new normal’. Skanska thus is launching a Care for Life Office Concept that is designed to meet the current needs of workplaces and its users. It will help identify areas that will balance safety, sustainability and feasibility and to rethink the design of modern office spaces with regards to possible future pandemic risks.

Skanska shares good practices by providing tenants with professional advisory in the matter of office safety. With that, the company actively responds to clients’ ongoing needs, or even helps to adjust existing and future fit-outs to new safety requirements. Cooperation between the owner, property managers and tenants is crucial, so as to organise the return to offices process safely.  
Safety-supporting implementations in Skanska office buildings
Skanska pays attention to the air quality in each building in the CEE region:

  • Ventilation is in operation 24/7

  • At nights and weekends ventilation remains on, but the system keeps it running at a lower speed

  • Air handling units provide 100% fresh air  

  • Humidity is controlled

Touch-free solutions and Connected by Skanska:

  • Buildings are equipped with automatically opening doors and turnstiles

  • Contactless elevators can be ordered with a smartphone or QR code

  • Motion and occupant sensors improve building’s management

  • Applications for smartphones allow electronic registration of guests with no need to get a building badge  

Sanitising plan for office space:

  • Disinfection of workplaces and common areas is the standard

  • Technical and operational measures to prevent spread of the virus are carried out by the building manager’s team

  • Building rules posters and floor markings are in place

 Touchless working in Skanska office buildings

The Connected by Skanska operating system uses all its functions to let everyone experience the company’s buildings in a contactless and safe way – for example all people visiting the Skanska office in Warsaw – both employees and external guests – can enter the building using their smartphone or a proper QR code, which is sent along with the invitation to a meeting. After passing the contactless gates in the lobby, the elevator is ordered automatically with no need to press any button in order to get to your destination. The same applies to the underground car park, created in accordance with the concept of activity-based working (ABW), which can be accessed thanks to an automated system that recognises cars’ registration plates.

Connected by Skanska is the most integrated operating system for office buildings on the market in CEE. As an open platform, it connects smart technologies in a building, but more importantly, it integrates people in the workplace. The software includes a mobile application for everyday users and a web portal for tenant and building administration.

The solution, which was previously mostly a space management tool, today is also a great way of managing the flow of employees and adapting the way we work to the ‘new normal’. It will be continue to be adjusted and used widely in Skanska’s investments throughout the region at this exceptional time of the pandemic, as it helps adapt office buildings to new sanitary requirements in an easy and smart way.
Good practices for providing safety in offices due to pandemic requirements

Safety measures include designated workstations and separate zones for people in offices, decreased capacity of shared spaces and conference rooms, rooms designated only for meetings with external clients and implementing the national regulations of several countries regarding protective equipment. Rigorous cleaning and hygiene rules are also in place. That is why disinfectants are available in the offices, and a new strict clean desk policy has been implemented.
Skanska employees are returning to their offices gradually, in strict accordance with a previously prepared schedule and all the necessary safety precautions. In order to keep the above-mentioned social distancing rules – only half of the total workforce will be coming into the office each day, which is managed via a Microsoft Teams feature called Shifts. All precautions and ongoing updates on the situation are widely announced via available communication channels so that employees are informed quickly and directly. Skanska has also launched a dedicated website on its intranet, giving its employees easy and continuous access to up-to-date information about the most recent developments and changes in guidelines. 

More in Coping with the New Normal - Covid-19 and after:

What could our cities look like after Covid 19?

By Martin Hyams, director, AHR Architects


Covid-19 has appeared and turned our lives upside down, forcing us into lockdown. We find ourselves in survival mode – within a new set of constraints, we try to carry on as best we can. Our lives immediately reduced down to their simplest and most basic forms.  Those that that work from home do so.  With schools closed, working and childcare have to be juggled somehow. We start to rely on our local communities to support us.  Safety demands that we live our lives within a confined area, staying among those we trust.  

School’s out. What happens now?

By Tom McGrath, principal, British Primary School of Wilanow (BSW)


On Friday 26 June we arranged our End of Year Ceremony on the final day of the academic year. In normal circumstances this would have been in an auditorium, packed to the rafters, with a miscellany of musical acts, drama performances, presentations, farewells and speeches. It would have been followed with a buffet and refreshments for the assembled community.

Covid-19 will mean governments will need to offer long-term jobs support to avoid economic turbulence

By Jakub Wojnarowski, head of ACCA Poland & Baltic Countries


Governments around the world, larger businesses and financial institutions such as banks will all have to play a part in helping to rebuild the global economy. That’s one of the main recommendations we make in our report Covid-19 Global Survey: The Road to Recovery.

What could our cities look after Covid 19?

By Martin Hyams, director, AHR Architects


Covid-19 has appeared and turned our lives upside down, forcing us into lockdown. We find ourselves in survival mode – within a new set of constraints, we try to carry on as best we can. Our lives immediately reduced down to their simplest and most basic forms.