How we are leading our people through COVID-19

From our Chief People Officer, Stephanie Biernbaum

We are prioritizing health and safety

After the initial lockdowns in early 2020, we made a decision to return employees to the workplace gradually, in phases, to balance the needs for employee safety, continued best-in-class service delivery for our tenants, partners, and investors, and the local conditions in each geography. We work closely with our team of external medical advisors, epidemiologists, and security experts, to determine when it is safe to move to each phase of workplace return.

  • Safely operating at the workplace: Our teams that are physically in the workplace complete daily symptom checks, and in the event of suspected exposure or symptoms are referred to telehealth triage, provided with COVID-19 testing, and guided through contact tracing and care management by our Human Resources team and dedicated third-party care management providers. We’ve significantly enhanced the cleaning, density management, diagnostic, and PPE capabilities within our spaces. Click here to read more about how we’ve enhanced building safety and health protocols for our tenants and employees. Any employee with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk, or if they are without adequate childcare due to school or daycare closures—those employees can continue working from home.
  • Mental as well as physical health: Regardless of where an employee is working, we recognize that mental health is a broad concern during such uncertain times. We’ve increased our mental health support resources for employees, including targeted support for working parents and team leaders, and are pleased to see continued strong employee sentiment about the mental and physical resources they receive from Hines.
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We are focused on community and our OneHines culture

Hines has always said that employees are our most valued assets, and the challenges presented by the pandemic have only deepened our commitment to being an exceptional workplace that brings out the best in our people and makes positive contributions to our communities. We see 2020 and 2021-to-date as a time when our values are on display like no other. Employee pulse surveys consistently show strong employee morale and confidence in the firm, while also enabling us to directly target any relative areas for improvement as external challenges evolve.

After the initial lockdowns, we made a decision to return employees to the workplace gradually, in phases, to balance the needs for employee safety, continued best-in-class service delivery for our tenants, partners, and investors, and the local conditions in each geography.

Chief People Officer, Stephanie Biernbaum

  • Culture and employee engagement: We’ve run extensive virtual programming, ranging from global town halls, to coaching and education sessions led by external experts, to social hours to keep our teams connected, keep relationships strong, and build new skills for personal resilience.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: In 2020 we watched and reacted to unspeakable acts of violence in our communities in the US, and our own Hines community reacted with empathy, education, and action. In addition to our public statements, we engaged internal teams in support forums and numerous externally-led learning sessions. We also doubled down on employee volunteerism, firm philanthropy focused on racial justice, and pro-bono community education initiatives that increase the diverse representation of the commercial real estate industry. Our ongoing commitment to these efforts is unwavering.
  • Continued talent development and growth: We recognize that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted specific groups of people, and want to ensure ALL of our people are continuing to grow and flourish in their careers despite challenges of remote work, childcare disruption, and health concerns. In 2020 we launched new talent initiatives to support growth, mobility, inclusion, and flexibility for our people, most of which were planned prior to 2020, to ensure every employee has an equitable shot at growth and contribution at our firm.
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We are innovating the future of work – for our people, as well as for our tenants and clients

We believe that physically gathering together in offices is irreplaceable for transmitting our culture, developing our people, and innovating inclusively as diverse teams. At the same time, we believe that providing flexibility for ongoing partial remote work will help us attract and engage expanded talent pools and help employees achieve work-life balance. We are excited to use our lessons learned from 2020 to define the future model of “hybrid work.”

  • Ways of working that maximize effectiveness: Through quantitative and qualitative data gleaned from our own employees, we’ve established a fact base on which types of work, and which teams, are more effective from the physical office and which are more effective working remotely. We also support teams on daily work norms for maximizing the hybrid work environment, leveraging analytics to understand drivers of effectiveness, and continually evolve our ways of working.
  • The next level of wellness in the built environment: Our Operations and Innovation teams are leading the industry in standards and technology for indoor air quality, space design that improves wellness outcomes, and analytically-informed building sustainability. We’ve partnered with the Mayo Clinic’s WELL Living Lab and other partners on research and development for exciting new innovations in ventilation, surface cleaning, and behavioral interventions for controlling the spread of COVID-19.
  • Demonstrating our tenant value proposition with our own offices: We are preparing for two major headquarter moves in 2022: our global headquarters will move to newly built space in Texas Tower in downtown Houston, and our European headquarters will move to newly repositioned space in Grain House in London. These new spaces will embody our learnings and house view on how a leading-edge, post-pandemic workplace can be designed and operated to maximize employee safety, engagement, wellness, and performance.
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