No visitors. Health screenings. Face coverings.

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Many companies are thinking through what returning to theworkplace will look like in the era of COVID-19, and a new analysisby CBRE reveals that most are taking a cautious approach toreopening when governments allow them to do so. CBRE looked at 203companies across the globe and identified several trends in howthey are planning to return to in-person operations. More than halfthose companies, for example, aim to use touchless technology toeliminate the surfaces touched by multiple people. And the majorityintend to provide face coverings to employees.

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"Our analysis of our clients' return-to-work strategies showsthat virtually all are engaged in detailed planning to ensure acareful and reasoned approach," said CBRE's Executive ManagingDirector of Consulting Karen Ellzey. "Most of these companies haveestablished their own criteria for when to return to the workplacebeyond local and state government requirements."

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The vast majority of companies won't be throwing open theirdoors to all employees at once, CBRE found. Nearly three quartersof the companies—72%—said they will phase in their reopening bybringing back certain percentages of workers over weeks or months.Meanwhile, 52% are giving employees the option to continue workingremotely for the foreseeable future. And only 20% of companies planto reopen as soon as government restrictions are lifted.

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And workplaces will look different once employees come back.Most companies have said they will maintain social distancing—45%plan to follow local government guidelines, while 34 haveestablished their own guidelines calling for social distancing ofat least six feet. In order to implement social distancing, 82% ofcompanies plan to install signage; 74% intend to use floor decalsand other reminders; and 61% said they plan to reconfigurefurniture.

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Health screenings are also key features of many company'sreopening plans. Nearly half of all companies—45%—will requireemployees to complete self-health screenings at home, while 13%said they intend to conduct health screenings on site.

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"Across the board, we see evidence that companies are taking athoughtful, measured approach to reopening their work environmentsin a safe and methodical manner," Ellzey said.

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Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the Legal Education Editor and Senior Writer at ALM. Contact her at [email protected]. On Twitter: @KarenSloanNLJ Sign up for Ahead of the Curve—her weekly email update on trends and innovation in legal education—here: https://www.law.com/briefings/ahead-of-the-curve/