Promoting customer engagement is a central pillar of our business strategy. In order to foster meaningful engagement, Oxford is always looking for new and innovative methods to create unique experiences for our customers. In 2021, Oxford developed an online customer experience platform to connect and engage with our North American Office customers. Otto by Oxford helps customers to connect with Oxford and each other, stay informed, organize their workday, and take advantage of local offerings. The Otto platform allows users to:
Access their building
Check building information and FAQs
Book amenities or classes
Submit service requests
Discover exclusive retail offers
Explore upcoming events
Review health and safety protocols
So far, Otto has been implemented in 35 office buildings across Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Boston, Washington, DC and New York City. The platform now has over 500 subscribed users.
This past year Otto featured content and live streams focused on health and wellbeing to encourage our North American office customers to stay healthy while many were working remotely. The Otto platform was also used to keep customers engaged by providing customers with regular access to newsletters, notices, lunch and learns, guest speakers and regular virtual meetings. Otto proved to be an invaluable resource this past year, enabling Oxford’s customers to stay engaged in meaningful ways during the pandemic.
WELL Health-Safety Rating improves customer wellbeing
In November, Blue Fin Building Management and Oxford Properties received the globally recognized WELL Health-Safety Rating from the International WELL Building Institute for the Blue Fin Building. The Health-Safety Rating demonstrates enhanced health, safety, security and wellbeing measures have been established in the building. The accreditation covers:
Management of COVID-19
Cleaning and sanitation
Health and wellbeing
Air and water quality management
The Blue Fin Building achieved 20 of the 26 available features within the accreditation. Buildings must achieve a minimum of 15 to receive the rating.
Cleaning and sanitization features implemented as part of the accreditation included reduced surface contact, improved cleaning practices and reduced respiratory particle exposure. These measures include installing automatic doors, introducing protective coatings and managing physical distancing to prevent pathogen transfer. The building also established a COVID-19 Safe Workplace Plan and business continuity statement to help ensure that the building remains open and available for use.
Air and water quality management features implemented as part of the accreditation included the use of 100% fresh air intake with no recirculation, regular air filter maintenance and the development of an air and water quality testing regime. These measures protect and improve the health and wellbeing of occupants by meeting the highest standards for indoor air and water quality.
In addition to the Health-Safety Rating achieved at Blue Fin, Oxford also achieved a Health-Safety Rating at the portfolio level. This portfolio-wide WELL certification covers over 40 office sites across the United States and Canada. The WELL Health-Safety Rating was specifically designed in response to COVID-19 and is achieved through strict adherence to scientifically-backed best practices proven to safeguard the health and safety of customers and employees as they return to work.
Healthy eating sourced sustainably
There is an increasing focus being placed on creating healthy environments for building occupants. Investing in building features that promote health and wellbeing can help attract tenants while also improving a building’s financial and non-financial performance. Typically, we tend to associate health and wellbeing features with better lighting and daylight, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. However, promoting healthy eating habits is another health and wellbeing action that buildings can implement which is highly beneficial to building occupants.
In France, Rue Blanche has engaged LECOINTRE to provide its catering services to its tenants. The restaurant serves 650 occupants and has an average attendance rate of 78%! LECOINTRE seeks to provide elevated corporate catering and has made ambitious commitments that include:
100% fresh, seasonal and French products
Local sourcing that offers quality raw materials, produced responsibly with a low carbon footprint
Zero plastic policy through the integration of recyclable and biodegradable packaging for takeaway
Employment of passionate and creative chefs who create holistic nourishing meals
The creation of a unique identity and atmosphere for each restaurant
The development and awareness of healthy eating habits
The redistribution of surpluses to neighbourhood associations, every Friday and by bicycle!
LECOINTRE catering has contributed to improving the health and wellbeing of building occupants and acts as a key performance lever for companies when attracting talent.
Hosting mobile vaccination clinics to support community health
Oxford has a history of creating positive impact outside our four walls. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have continued to be present in and care for our communities, both as an organization and as individuals. Last year, Oxford’s Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga (Canada) supported the Ontario government in administering COVID-19 vaccinations by hosting a mobile GO-VAXX bus clinic. These clinics played an integral role in the Ontario government’s efforts to accelerate booster shots and continue first, second and pediatric dose distribution. The clinics made it easy and convenient for the public to get vaccinated while going about their daily lives. They also made vaccination more accessible for those with mobility challenges by bringing clinics into communities.
These clinics required support from local partners to set up convenient and easy-to-access sites to administer vaccinations. Square One Shopping Centre teamed up with GO-VAXX and Medavie Health Services to support administering vaccinations. During the end of 2021, Square One hosted three clinics which administered 460 vaccines to members of the local community.
The GO-VAXX bus clinic continues to be hosted at Square One Shopping Centre. Additionally, Square One donated $100,000 to Trillium Health Partners, the local hospital. We are pleased to have been able to provide an on-site solution to support community immunity, and to show our appreciation for our healthcare workers by contributing to their invaluable efforts at keeping our community and loved ones safe.
Connecting to wellness online
In 2020, several of our on-site fitness facilities were closed for in-person workouts. It didn’t take long for the athletics teams to go digital to offer customers at-home fitness programs. Gym staff from across our global portfolio set up ongoing fitness challenges to keep our customers healthy and active while working from home. Challenges, such as Waterpark Place’s (Toronto, Canada) included a 4-week program with daily home workouts, recipes and mindfulness/meditation exercises sent to participants. Completion was tracked through a dedicated online website.
Following these initiatives, office buildings across the portfolio launched a group of online health and wellbeing platforms. Platforms such as Oxford Connects and the Crown Estate’s Online Bite Size program and wellbeing hub, aim to connect office customers with each other. The platforms offer a host of events, articles and videos designed to help improve health, wellbeing, and daily work life.
Optimizing indoor air quality
What is the quality of our indoor air? Questions like this rose to the forefront in 2020, putting our asset teams to the test. One might suspect a flurry of inquiries would cause a kerfuffle. Quite the contrary, Operations teams across the Oxford portfolio welcomed the conversations and were well-equipped to respond.
Oxford has a long-standing indoor air quality (IAQ) program. Building system maintenance, filtration and ventilation, climate control, and water and plumbing. Maximizing outdoor air, purging and extending system operations, and increasing frequency of MERV-13 filters are some examples of the measures taken to optimize IAQ.
Teams also test and monitor IAQ on a regular basis. Temperature, relative humidity, CO2, CO, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10 are the types of parameters being tested, aligned with the levels required by the WELL Standard and Fitwel Certification, two globally recognized wellbeing certification programs.
The results have often been shared with customers and partners, but in response to the influx of questions, teams, such as those at Richmond Adelaide Centre (Toronto, Canada) and St. James’s Market (London, UK), developed quick and easy 1-page references to help customers feel safe and comfortable upon re-entry.