How Offices Can Reduce Back to Work Anxiety

All the safety measures in the world don’t mean a thing if your tenants don’t know about them. Here are three ways to reduce back to work anxiety — and build trust in the process.

From hand sanitizer stations to social distancing signage, property managers are adding a number of safety features to their buildings in the wake of COVID-19. Yet the physical health of their tenants is only one side of the equation: the other half is making sure those tenants feel emotionally and psychologically ready to return to work. 

To encourage tenants to return to the workplace, CRE managers have to go beyond physical safety practices—they have to establish clear and strong lines of communication. Only then can you start to build the confidence and trust that will make your tenants feel comfortable returning to work. 

In this article, we review three key ways property managers can build tenant trust and reduce anxiety associated with the return to the workplace.

1. Over-communicating health and safety information for back to work anxiety

All the safety measures in the world don’t mean a thing if your tenants don’t know about them. That’s why the biggest and most obvious way to reduce anxiety and build confidence among your tenants is by clearly and regularly communicating your safety protocols—not just before they return to the office, but on an ongoing basis. 

Prior to tenant re-entry, think about all the things you can communicate to your tenants to build trust:

– Hand Sanitizer Stations: Where they’re located, how many are in the building, how often they’re refilled, how to request a refill, and so on.

– Masks & Mask Wearing: Your building’s official policy, best practices, where to find extra masks, etc.

– Cleaning Protocols: Which areas are cleaned, how often, how to request a cleaning, how to check when something was last cleaned.

– Occupancy Limits: At the building, elevator, common area, suite, and office level.

– Wellness Checks: How to check yourself for symptoms, how and where to report a case.

– Wayfinding: Instructions on social distancing signage, entrance- and exit-only doors, etc.

– Other: Notes on where you have installed plexiglass barriers (e.g., at the security desk), supply use policies, updates from WHO and CDC, and more.

Not only will tenants reading your safety-related communications know what to expect upon their return—they’ll feel confident you have their health and safety top of mind. 

To effectively communicate with your tenants, however, emails to the office manager at each tenant company won’t cut it: you need a high-reach platform that every workplace member has access to. A tenant communications solution like Lane can solve these challenges by delivering comprehensive in-app information via smartphone and web, keeping tenants in the loop through real-time updates delivered via email, SMS (text), and push notification.


Research from Harvard Business Review shows that employees who receive regular updates from their companies are 55 percent more likely to have a positive view of their employers and are 43 percent more optimistic about going back to work. If property managers make an effort to communicate with their tenants, we might just see similar results. 

2.  Managing Anxiety Through Feedback: Listening to your Tenants

Communication is a two-way street, however, which is why listening to your tenants’ concerns (and accommodating them as best you can) is an equally crucial way to reduce tenant anxiety and build trust in the safety of your workplace.

One of the best ways to do that is via surveys and polls.  By routinely sending out short questionnaires and empowering them to vote on certain issues, property managers can find out how comfortable their tenants feel about going back to the workplace and what changes would make them feel more comfortable moving forward. With a technology-first approach, property managers can easily design, deliver, and analyze tenant surveys and polls across individual buildings and entire portfolios.

Aside from more obvious tactics like surveys and polls, there are other kinds of tenant “inputs” to explore as well. Property managers can ask tenants to fill out daily health checks on their smartphones, for example, or encourage them to share relevant information about the workplace and surrounding community. Empowering tenants to check in, weigh in, and join the discussion improves the flow of communication—and with it, the flow of trust.

Asking tenants to check into the office via their smartphones is a great way not just to promote safety—but to communicate it.

Whether it’s surveys and polls or health screenings and reporting issues, the point is clear: don’t just talk—listen. It’ll go a long way toward fostering community and trust in the workplace.

3. Tackling Workplace Anxiety Head On: Health & Wellness Content

Needless to say, COVID-19 has led to high-levels of stress and anxiety—not just in people’s personal lives, but in their professional ones as well. Whether it’s a distracting home office environment, difficulties collaborating with colleagues, or the sheer feeling of isolation, the pandemic is taking an emotional and psychological toll.

That’s why it is especially important for property managers to support their tenants in their time of need. By offering informative, actionable health and wellness content, CRE leaders can move beyond the most basic level of communication to establish a baseline of care. 

Here are a few examples of the kinds of content you can share.

– Home Office Ergonomics: How to set up your remote workspace to be comfortable, happy, and distraction-free

– Exercises & Stretches: How to promote health, prevent injury, and get the endorphins flowing

– Quick & Healthy Lunch Recipes: For the busy day of work—and to bring out the foodies among your tenants to build community

– Virtual Socials & Events: Host a virtual fitness class, trivia night, quiz, competition (with prizes), or industry-based meet-and-greet

– Daily Mental Health Routines: Tips on how to promote positive mental health, such as a daily walk after lunch, as well as helpful resources to learn more

Rather than develop health and wellness content from scratch, our COVID-19 Response Package contains pre-built templates and guides that upload directly to the app. They’re factual, concise, and easy to read.

Wrapping Up

With emotions running high, it’s crucial that commercial property managers consider their tenants’ psychological well-being no less than their physical safety to ensure a healthy and happy return to the office. By adopting a smart workplace communications technology, property managers help reduce anxiety, nurture trust, and foster the sense of safety necessary for tenants to return to the office. 

Looking back on the three practices we’ve discussed: 

1. Over-communication – Effectively over-communicating before, during, and after the return to office to let tenants know what to expect and feel confident they’re in good hands.

2. Feedback – Listening to tenant feedback to learn what they need to feel safe, make the necessary changes, and ensure that their voices feel heard. 

3. Health & Wellness Content – Sharing helpful articles, hosting virtual events, and offering resources to counter feelings of isolation, build community, and show tenant support in a time of need. 

How are you building tenant trust as you prepare for the return to the workplace? Download our free report on the 5 key return-to-work challenges.

To learn more about the Lane workplace experience platform get in touch, or request a demo today.