What is a ‘Healthy Workplace’?

A healthy workplace is an ideal place to work in. According to some research on employee behavior, one of the top three factors that employees look for in a job is a company’s commitment to health and wellbeing of its employees. This is given more emphasis as the world transitions to the new normal, giving a deeper definition to what a healthy workplace should look like.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published a document defining what a healthy workplace should be, post pandemic. A healthy work environment is a balance of occupational health and safety, as well as health promotion efforts and initiatives. While there may be varied qualifications and qualities, the WHO has consolidated its concrete definition: 

“A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following, based on identified needs.”  

 Physical Work Environment 

Businesses can provide a healthy workplace by ensuring that the physical work environment is set to the highest industry standards and criteria. An ideal physical work environment ensures that the design and layout of the workplace is optimal for the comfort, productivity, and motivation of its employees. 

RELATED: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention 

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) found that potential employees prefer working in an office located in a LEED-certified building, where their health and wellbeing are considered to be top priority. The same study found that workers based in a LEED-certified green building are found to be more satisfied on their job, and that 79 percent of the respondents agree that they would choose a job in a LEED-certified building over a non-LEED building. 

Uplifting health and safety in the physical work environment should cover indoor air quality, ventilation, maintained optimal humidity, and industry standard protocol for cleaning and maintenance. 

 Psychosocial Work Environment  

A healthy workplace should go beyond physical modifications and provide greater support to employees to their psychosocial needs. The 2018 Global Talent Trends survey found that one in two employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company especially on the physical, psychological and financial wellness of its employees. 

A company’s culture contributes a huge role on the WHO’s definition of a healthy workplace. Programs organized and initiated by a company to promote healthy habits and uplift the general wellbeing of their employees should be holistic—providing focus not just on their physical wellbeing but looking after their mental health as well. One study also raises the issue of psychosocial hazards in the workplace that should be addressed by companies to promote a healthy workplace. These may include organizational culture and the attitudes, values, beliefs and daily practices, that can contribute as stressors to employees. 

Community Health and Wellbeing 

An ideal and healthy workplace is not bound by physical workstations and office floors, but should encompass communities. Providing a workplace setting that uplifts and prioritizes the overall health and wellness of its employees creates a huge impact on public health and vice versa. As active members of the community, employees who spend the majority of their day working in their offices should be in a work environment that ensures their holistic safety and wellbeing. 

RELATED: The Importance of Public Health in Communities 

Premium green buildings, such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia, invests in the well-being of its building occupiers by addressing health and wellbeing in a holistic approach. By following industry-set standards and optimizing building design and operations, it is one of the most ideal locations to work in Cebu City. JEG Tower puts a premium on their health, while practicing sustainability and energy efficiency. 

How Green Buildings Contribute to your Health and Safety

Green buildings are designed to prioritize the general well-being of its occupants by ensuring their health and safety. As the world learned lessons on the importance of the environment concerning public health, a shift towards the construction and development of sustainable green buildings becomes highlighted.  

Changes in the demographics of the workforce and the requirements of a healthy workspace have greatly influenced this innovation in real estate and construction. Initially, the sustainability angle was about reducing the environmental impacts of buildings. However, as the community includes health and wellness in their top priorities, green developers started widening the scope of the advantages of staying in one.  

RELATED: How LEED certification can help prevent disease spread in the future  

Green buildings provide amenities and spaces that are designed and built with an optimized environment that may be beneficial to their tenants’ health and wellbeing. Contributing to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional wellness, here are 5 reasons why staying in a green building is good for you:  

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Better Brain Function  

Studies prove that the brain’s cognitive performance is greatly affected by the environment it is in. Green buildings impact a person’s cognitive function by improving focus and motivation. One research found that occupants of a green building scored higher in cognitive tests, slept better, and reported fewer health symptoms. 

READ MORE: How green buildings improve indoor air quality & provide a healthier working environment  

Encourages Movement and Activity  

Green buildings are designed to support the physical needs of an individual’s health standards. Spaces inside a green building are conducive environments that provide more opportunities for exercise and physical activity. Designated amenities and equipment are made available in rooms and common areas. Bike racks and shower rooms are also provided for the convenience and comfort of the tenants that wish to exercise.  

Hosts Collaboration and Communication   

Green buildings promote a person’s health and overall wellness by bringing positive social and emotional benefits too. Various health and wellness programs can be a venue for socialization and an opportunity for its tenants to build relationships and connect more.  

Provides Space for Detox and Meditation  

Green buildings also prioritize the mental health of their tenants. More than just contributing to better cognitive function, they also provide spaces that can be used for stress relief and meditation. Green areas and spaces can also relax the brain as the color is associated with calmness.  

RELATED: Taking care of your mental health – Why it matters in a time of a pandemic 

Built for Resilience  

Green buildings are also designed and built under the highest standards for resilience. Engineers, architects, and building designers work together to increase planning to cope with natural disasters and environmental threats. Moreover, sustainable materials are also used to construct green buildings, reducing its negative impacts on the environment.  

Interested in locating in a green building too? Contact Michael Glindro at (+63) 917-584-0443 or through mike.g@kmcmaggroup.com. You may also reach out to us at (+63) 2-8403-5519 or through info@kmcmaggroup.com.  

Shift to Sustainability – Highlighting Green Real Estate in the Philippines

The role of health has taken the spotlight as the government, along with other industries have been taking the initial steps to the new normal. More emphasis has been given to creating resilient and sustainable buildings that will further support the promotion of public health and wellness, especially in the workplace.  

Sustainability has been an enduring trend in real estate for decades. Aside from the negative health and economic effects, the COVID-19 pandemic also revealed how massive the impact of economic activity and building & construction has on the environment.  

According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), healthy design and construction of green buildings should be prioritized now more than ever as they do not only key determinants of market competitiveness and investment appeal, but as more private estates aim to make sustainable and green real estate the standard in the Philippines.  

RELATED: JEG Tower at One Acacia: A sustainable landmark rises – Property Report PH  

Some publications have been suggesting that sustainability in real estate should be the new norm and should be the new standard post-pandemic. Optimizing residential and commercial structures to promote health and hygiene, and at the same time, contribute lesser negative impacts to the environment should be the focus of shift in the real estate landscape in the Philippines.  

Sustainable buildings, especially those that are certified by LEED, WELL, or BERDE in the country implements specialized measures that do not only prevent disease and potential outbreaks in the future but greatly contribute to the security and protection of public health in communities.  

RELATED: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention  

Buildings and public spaces play a huge role in disease prevention and control. From its design to operations, buildings contribute to the battle against the spread of viruses in workplaces and offices. While other commercial establishments will only start to adapt to these newer standards after the coronavirus outbreak, sustainable and green buildings that were already certified by programs such as LEED have long been uplifting the quality of the work environment and promoting the health and well-being of their tenants.  

Driven to push forward this initiative to become the new standard, JEG Development Corporation (JDC) has specifically partnered with Casas+Architects to design this 22-floor tower towards sustainability, using environment-friendly materials and would operationalize as energy-efficient as possible.  

JEG Tower @ One Acacia has been one of the few commercial establishments in Cebu City that advocates for the overall health and wellness—not only of their tenants but the community as a whole. Earning its Silver pre-certification even before launching, this is JEG Tower’s commitment to the continuous betterment and upliftment of their fellow Cebuano’s lives, especially now after a pandemic.  

RELATED: Defining Innovation in Real Estate  

In addition, JEG Tower was designed in such a way that tenants are also encouraged to lead a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves, not just as a defense against potential health crises in the future. This is also part of the general mission of JDC to improve life in Cebu City.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy community is a prepared community. The best way of preparing for potential outbreaks in the future is by ensuring that the health of the overall community. Envisioned as one of the most preferred work locations for Cebuanos, JEG Tower @ One Acacia will not only offer office spaces that will boost employee productivity but also provide a space where their health and well-being is the main priority. 

The Importance of Public Health in Communities

There is a renewed global recognition of the importance of health and wellness after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world continues to learn lessons on the safety and protection of communities, the focus is now shifted on why public health in communities is a crucial point of discussion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy community is a prepared community. The best way of preparing for potential outbreaks in the future is by ensuring that the health of the overall community. Public or Community Health is a term used to describe the state of health and how easy or difficult it is to be healthy where people live, learn, work, and play. An effective way of preparing for future health risks is starting within communities, working on the way up to a larger scale.  

Experts say that even without the existence of health emergencies or threats, public health should be one of the main priorities of local authorities and national governments. This includes the continuous promotion of good nutrition, physical activity, and proper hygiene. 

In the report by the World Health Organization, a safe and healthy community can be ensured through effective policymaking and guidelines administration that is focused on stopping the infection. Healthcare workers are tasked to implement the standard precautions for basic infection control depending on the possible patient demographic such as children or the elderly. 

Additional protective measures may be deemed necessary such as lessening the exposure to and transmission of pathogens using PPEs and other engineering or environmental controls, especially in ventilation.  

In relation to effective policymaking for public health, recommendations are being made to make policies more inclusive and non-discriminatory for communities. Protective measures and solutions that are recognized as inclusive and durable must cover the improvement of living conditions including detention centers, and comprehensive workforce policy. 

RELATED: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention   

In the “New Normal”, integrating these protective measures to how schools, workplace, and how other industries operate will be vital. Mandatory measures such as temperature checking and requiring health clearances will be done to ensure the wellness of the community in each location or sector. The CDC is also pushing for the strict compliance of regular disinfection of all environmental surfaces to help lower the risk and considering the possible presence of the elderly or the immunocompromised in the said community.  

RELATED: How LEED Certification can help prevent disease spread in the future 

Providing a workplace setting that uplifts and prioritizes the overall health and wellness of its employees creates a huge impact on public health. As active members of the community, employees who spend the majority of their day working in office setups should be in a work environment that ensures their safety and wellbeing, not only during a pandemic or once there is a threat to their health. 

Premium green buildings, such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia, invests in the well-being of their tenants by optimizing their building design and operations. Following industry standards, these commercial establishments put a premium on their health, while practicing sustainability and energy efficiency. 

Ways to strengthen your immune system during a pandemic

Since the vaccine for COVID-19 is still on the works, the World Health Organization has advised the public that proper handwashing and hygiene practices, as well as social distancing, remains to be the best defense against the virus. Experts also agree that a strong immune system can keep you healthy and give you a sense of control in an uncertain time.  

Eat right and keep a balanced diet  

One of the most effective ways of keeping a healthy immune system is eating right. Begin by filling your plate with immune-boosting fruits and vegetables such as carrots, kale, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. Eggs, milk, nuts, and mushrooms can also provide necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep your immunity up during a pandemic.  

Get active and exercise  

Physical activity can give your immune system a great boost in a myriad of ways. Researchers have shown that exercise improves immune systems. Exercising regularly improves your body’s natural production of antibodies that help in fighting viruses and infection.  

Relax and try meditation  

Living through a pandemic is a very stressful circumstance that it can negatively affect the immune system and take a toll on a person’s mental health. A recent study involving more than 1,600 people has suggested that meditation boosts their immune system. Meditation can be as simple as taking time in the morning or at night, relaxing, and breathing properly and emptying your mind.  

Stress and anxiety management  

Numerous studies have linked stress and the immune system. In fact, a study has proven that psychological stress increases susceptibility to illness. According to health experts, prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system as it reduces the body’s natural ability to fight viruses and bacteria. Moreover, people under a lot of stress are more likely to develop poor coping strategies such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, poor diet, or lack of sleep which also negatively impact the immune system. 

Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention

The connection between health and the environment becomes increasingly defined as the world learns more about the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this new coronavirus strain can be spread in three main ways:  

  • Person-to-person via direct contact;  
  • Person-to-person via airborne respiratory droplets produced when an infected person cough or sneezes;  
  • Surface-to-person via contact with surfaces or objects that hold the virus, followed by an individual touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.  

Buildings and public spaces play a huge role in disease prevention and control. From its design to operations, buildings contribute to the battle against the spread of viruses in workplaces and offices. 

Here are some modifications and optimizations buildings can adapt to prevent another pandemic in the future:  

Promote High-quality Indoor Air  

Buildings and commercial establishments should promote high-quality indoor air quality and follow a set of standards that focuses on the ventilation and air-conditioning system. This effectively provides clean air into the building and to the office spaces. Research suggests that filtration of recirculated air may be effective in reducing the transmission of airborne infectious diseases. Filters remove dust, vapors, bacteria, and fungi, and also effectively capture viral particles spread by droplet nuclei.  

RELATED: How Green Buildings improve indoor air quality, provide a healthier working environment  

Increased Ventilation  

Ventilating with outdoor air also plays a vital role in diluting airborne contaminants and decreasing disease transmission rates within establishments. According to studies, increasing the ventilation rate can effectively reduce the cross-infection of airborne transmitted diseases by removing or diluting pathogen-laden airborne droplet nuclei. It can dilute the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection  

Maintained Optimal Humidity  

Evidence suggests that viruses survive better in low-humidity environments. One optimization buildings can implement after the pandemic is to increase humidity via heating and ventilation systems and maintain an optimal range to 40 to 60%. This can also be achieved by installing humidifiers inside the building premises.  

Improved cleaning and maintenance protocols  

Another aspect that buildings can focus on when optimizing for disease prevention is highlighting the importance of its property management teams. Workplace policies, guidelines, and protocols must also be restructured to adapt to the “new normal” as the world observe changes this pandemic brings. The modifications and strict enforcement of these procedures should be one of the most essential responsibilities of a building’s property management team during, and even after the crisis.  

A healthy building contributes to a healthy community, which, in the long run, play a central role in creating a healthy world. In addition to everyday precautions taken by individuals and employees, the real estate industry, building owners, and developers should be aware of these optimizations that can greatly contribute to virus outbreaks in the future. 

How LEED Certification can help Prevent Disease Spread in the Future

The current pandemic has brought a 180-degree change in the way people live and work. Some of these changes may be temporary, but some might be permanent adjustments that will help in preventing another outbreak or at least improve the community’s preparation for one.   

Due to COVID-19, buildings will give more emphasis to the health and wellness of their tenants. While other offices will only start implementing such changes to adapt, commercial establishments that were already certified by programs such as LEED have long been uplifting the quality of the work environment and promoting the health and well-being of their tenants—amid a pandemic or not. 

Here are some ways LEED certification can help prevent diseases in the future:  

LEED-certified buildings, like JEG Tower, were designed, constructed, and operates to high standards that prioritize the health of its tenants. Green buildings regulate water quality, air quality, and antibacterial functions to promote their occupants’ health and reduce the risks of getting diseases and viruses.   

RELATED: How Green Buildings improve indoor air quality, provide healthier working environment  

The LEED certification also ensures these buildings have increased ventilation which also improves the health and wellbeing of the tenants and drastically improves their work performance.  

In addition to providing the basic functions, LEED-certified buildings also reduce the risk of infection and prevent cross-infection inside the workplace. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) requires establishments to include measures that will control the collusion of air and pollutants, exhaust backflow of bathrooms, Green buildings are designed to set up effective water seals to reduce the risk of virus transmission through drainage pipes. Under the LEED certification, buildings should optimize the space and plane layout to enhance the effectiveness of natural ventilation. They should also be able to regulate and control air conditioning systems by zones and have a well-designed site wind environment for the dissipation of viruses and harmful gases. 

Moreover, LEED ensures that the cleanliness of the environment is greatly prioritized. Strengthened cleaning policies are followed using sustainable and safe cleaning products. Proper waste management is also observed, which plays a big role in disease prevention.  

Following the ‘People’ aspect of the triple bottom line of LEED, (People, Planet, Profit), certified buildings ensure that they are safe and healthy environment for their occupants.  

The vaccine against the new coronavirus is yet to be developed, which means the best protection one can have against it depends on the body’s immunity and the community’s cleanliness. 

RELATED: Promoting Health and Well-being in the Workplace  

Promoting physical activity among building tenants while creating a safe and welcoming environment is the top priority of LEED-certified green buildings. These goals help in ensuring that building occupants are healthy year-round, not just during a global pandemic.  

The current COVID-19 outbreak is reemphasizing the importance of prioritizing one’s health and proper hygiene. It also reminds how easily diseases can spread in the workplace. Office buildings can either help in its prevention or aid its spread and proliferation. Building certification programs such as LEED recognize the importance of certain aspects of building design and maintenance that play an important role in disease spread and prevention of outbreaks in the future. 

Taking care of your mental health: Why it matters in time of a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak may be stressful for some people. As the world continuously witness the world change, fear and anxiety can affect their mental health and take a toll on their general well-being.  

According to studies, stress and anxiety can greatly affect one’s health and well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported many manifestations of stress amid the pandemic including difficulty of sleeping, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, worsening of chronic health and mental health problems, and increased use of alcohol and tobacco. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common to experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness during this difficult time. However, it is important to manage it by learning different strategies and coping mechanisms.   

Taking care of your mental health will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Here are some ways and strategies that can be helpful to practice during the outbreak:  

Take sanity breaks  

The news from the media and social networking site feeds can be overwhelming and stressful. Practice taking mini breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news, especially if it is about the statistics of the virus. Being informed about relevant information is always helpful but getting anxiety from too much exposure to crisis-related news can also increase stress levels.   

It is advisable to limit your time scrolling on your social media accounts. Aside from mental stress, excessive use of phones and tablets can also cause eye strain and body aches.  

Take care of your mind by limiting your screen time. It is also a good practice to turn off any electronic device for some time each day including 30 minutes before projected bedtime.  

Stick to Routines 

Changes may be stressful for your mind. Experts suggest developing and maintaining a regular schedule is very beneficial for mental health. Stick to routines such as regular bedtimes, consistent times for meals, bathing and getting dressed, preparing for work or studying, and exercising. The predictability can make you feel more in control and would ease the brain.  

Stay busy 

Use this time to enjoy hobbies that you can do home, learn a new skill or two, develop healthy habits, and start a project that you have been planning to do. Staying busy can be a healthy distraction from negative thoughts. This can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.  

Focus on positive thoughts  

Focusing on the positive side of things is a healthy way of coping with stress and anxiety. While this can be hard for some, doing little things such as listing the things you are thankful for daily can mean a lot to your mental health. Instead of dwelling on how bad things are going, focus on the things you can control and keep problems in perspective.  

Connect with others  

Now more than ever, the need for connection is very important. Since everybody is away from each other due to social distancing and the community quarantine, hone virtual connections by video chats, phone calls, text messaging, and other similar apps. If you are working remotely from home, ask your co-workers how they are doing and talk about things outside of work.  

It would be also helpful for your mental health to voice out your concerns and how are you feeling with people you trust. 

How Green Buildings Improve Indoor Air Quality and Provide A Healthier Working Environment

The campaign for cleaner air has been ongoing for years as the world battles air pollution. As the global health crisis continues, studies have been linking the spread of the pandemic with the bad air quality According to research from Harvard University, dirty air makes any virus more lethal.  

Working with different sectors, the World Green Building Council (WGBC) has long been combatting global air pollution by developing and setting standards for buildings and infrastructures. According to the World Green Building Council, now more than ever, green buildings play a very significant role in preventing and controlling viruses within communities and work environments.

The WGBC believe that sustainable buildings and cities are a key part of the solution that ‘reduces both the health and environmental impacts’ of air pollution. The organization has set guidelines on how green buildings can ensure the best indoor air quality within the property’s premises. In fact, one of the categories and criteria for a LEED Certification is indoor air quality. 

“Indoor air quality is one of the important criteria of LEED. It focuses on designing the ventilation and air-conditioning system to provide clean air into the building,” Michael Glindro, LEED AP BD+C said. “One of the ways to improve indoor air quality is to install high-MERV filters to reduce indoor air pollutants. This criterion focuses on the People aspect of the triple bottom line of LEED; People, Planet, Profit.

jeg-tower-one-acacia-bring-work-to-life-this-2020

LEED-certified buildings, like JEG Tower, were designed, constructed, and operates to high standards for health and cleanliness, they reduce the risk of exposing its tenants to infection, effectively preventing the spread of the virus within the building.  

USGBC requires green buildings to control the collusion of air and pollutants as well as the exhaust backflow of kitchens and bathrooms. Green buildings are also designed to set up effective water seals to reduce the risk of virus transmission through drainage pipes, optimizes the building space and plane layout to enhance the effectiveness of natural ventilation. Green buildings can also regulate and control air conditioning systems by zones and have a well-designed site wind environment for the dissipation of viruses and harmful gases.  

RELATED: In Focus: Cebu to Launch its first Sustainable ‘Smart Building’ Soon 

As regulated by the WGBC, green buildings are designed to regulate the water and air quality, fitness and antibacterial function building materials to promote occupant’s health to reduce the risk of getting the disease and enhance the ability to resist viruses.   

JEG Tower in Cebu uplifts the health and wellness of its tenants. Committed to revolutionizing work and life balance, the building has designed office spaces to maximize the use of natural daylight, allow better airflow within the space, and organize initiatives to encourage healthier living for everyone. 

RELATED: JEG Tower @One Acacia: Bring Work to Life this 2020 

Aside from protecting its tenants from virus cross-infection and improving their health, better indoor air quality also upgrades the working environment for office buildings. 

“Improving indoor air quality has been shown to increase business productivity through being a factor in reducing absenteeism due to health issues,” Glindro said. “After all, we do spend a majority of our day in the office so taking steps into creating a healthy work environment will benefit the triple bottom line.” 

Premium green buildings emphasize the importance of uplifting the quality of life of its tenants by ensuring that the highest standards for health and safety are observed and followed.  

Top Property Management Guidelines to Observe during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Philippines

One of the key tasks of a property management team is to be prepared and protect their tenants in the event of a health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only tested the existing protocols and guidelines of commercial and residential establishments, but it has also redefined some of the ways real estate developers and companies weigh the importance of the health, well-being, and safety of their occupiers.  

Experts say that a holistic approach is needed to battle and contain the coronavirus. More than self-isolation and staying at home, community-level measures should also be implemented, which can be more effective in fighting the spread of the virus.  

1. Limit movement  

The enhanced community quarantine was implemented to limit movement and effectively decrease the rate of the spread of the virus. Moreover, it is important to declare all recent travel for respective self-quarantine measures and contact tracing purposes.  

The Property Management Team of Tomodachi Premium Residences has encouraged its residents to declare any recent travels-domestic or international, to aid in the efforts of controlling the exposure of others with the virus. Residents are also being encouraged to stay indoors and limit their movement outside the premises. Moreover, residents are also asked to refrain from inviting guests and visitors following the community quarantine. Social gatherings are also prohibited until the ECQ has been lifted.  

2. Close all common areas  

To stop the spread of the virus and limit interaction, properties are advised to close down all common areas that are accessible to their tenants such as gyms, function rooms, roof decks, etc.   

Tomodachi Premium Residences has advised its residents that the pool area will be closed as a measure and reminder for them to remain indoors.  

3. Postpone renovation and repair  

All the renovation inside homes and units should be prohibited in the meantime. Emergency repairs that can potentially harm the residents or damage the property should be reported to the management of the property.  

4. Be up to date with verified and relevant news  

JEG Development Corporation ensures that the tenants in our existing properties are safe and protected against COVID-19. Its Property Management Team is in full alert to assess the situation and follow news developments about the virus that will help fight its spread in our communities.  

5. Communicate and coordinate with your Landlord   

During a crisis, it is important to keep the communication lines open between you and your landlord. Now more than ever, staying connected is crucial in overcoming such an event. The management may offer initiatives that can help you during the crisis and provide additional measures for your convenience. Some may even offer rent concessions as a consideration and help with what is currently happening.