How Globalworth limits the impact of COVID-19 on society and business7 min
Globalworth Foundation donated 200.000 euros to the Romanian Red Cross to be used for medical supplies and logistic, human and material support in order to consolidate our country’s response to the COVID-19 threat.
Dimitris Raptis, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Globalworth, told Biz what actions the company has taken regarding the pandemic. (romanian version here).
You have donated to the Romanian Red Cross, being among the first companies that got involved to help the fight against COVD-19. How did take this decision and how fast did it happen?
We decided, through the Globalworth Foundation, to donate 200,000 euros to the Romanian Red Cross, to help fund medical supplies as well as logistical, human and material support to aid our country’s response to the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As soon as we realised the extent of the national and global crisis, we looked at the strains on the emergency system. It was immediately clear what action we should take, as in the current context support of the health system is vital. We recognised that we could help with the purchase of vital items such as medical ventilators for intensive care units, disinfectant bottles, protective suits, safety goggles, single-use sanitary masks and protective gloves. The supplies acquired will go to the “Prof. Matei Balș” National Institute, the biggest medical institution for infectious diseases in Romania, and the first line of defence in the COVID-19 emergency.
I would also like to point out that the needs of the Romanian Red Cross were highlighted to the Globalworth Foundation in discussions with the Department of Emergency Situations, in particular with Mr. Raed Arafat, Vice-President of the Romanian Red Cross, and based on requests from the territory and local institutions. The experience of the Italian Red Cross, which is now acting in an extremely serious situation, was also considered. We have great respect for the medical staff and all the people who maintain the essential services in these difficult times. Our financial help comes as a vital support and we are glad that we have found a partner that can facilitate and speed up the process. Immediate help is needed now, and we are glad that there will be no delay.
Solidarity is the best “medicine” in these times. How do you see the situation?
We are facing a truly unprecedented crisis and solidarity is vital for everyone to weather this storm. If we do not understand the situation both at a local level but also on a global scale, if we do not take measures together and respect them all together, we will do ourselves harm, both on a personal level and especially on a society level. We build offices, we build communities, and we are here and ready to reinforce the sense of solidarity around our community.
What were the measures taken in the Globalworth buildings?
With more than 700 tenants and tens of thousands of employees working at our buildings across Romania and Poland daily, their safety and well-being is our top priority. Although many of them now work from home, for others the nature of their job doesn’t allow them to do so. We comply with all health and safety norms and have taken all necessary and appropriate relevant measures in our portfolio, especially in the common areas where the risks are highest.
We have heightened the measures in all our office buildings, and we have also implemented a very strict daily cleaning program at the end of the workday, after our tenants have left the building.
All surfaces with high traffic, such as receptions, stairs, lobbies, elevators and toilets are disinfected with a special, extremely powerful product that destroys viruses, approved by the relevant authorities. These spaces are being cleaned every two hours. In addition, Globalworth has placed dispensers with alcohol-based disinfectant in all its lobbies.
On all our screens we show videos with hygiene tips and measures that each of our tenants should follow, such as washing hands as often as possible, using the dispensers with alcohol-based disinfectant, how to use masks or how to sneeze or cough safely. We also explain the rules on using the emergency 112 number in the case of first symptoms and / or if people have travelled to countries with confirmed cases. We believe that it is important to repeat this information at every possible opportunity and to do everything in our power to reduce both concern and danger.
How do you manage the situation among the employees, tenants, partners, investors and authorities?
We have an ongoing dialogue with all of them, both informing them of all the measures we are taking but also seeking all relevant confirmations of the measures they are taking. We adopt a collaborative approach, discussing the need for informative emails, decision-making calls or new measures and terms imposed by relevant authorities.
How do you see the economic impact of Coronavirus?
The current situation is very serious, but also fluid, hence it is difficult to predict. For sure, there will be a significant impact on the global economy, but we will be able to assess the magnitude of the effect only in the months to come.
What other measures will Globalworth take?
We are following developments daily and of course comply with all the instructions and norms published by local and national authorities. We will continue our very close cooperation and communication channels with our tenants and all other business partners in our effort to safeguard health and safety in our buildings and contain the economic and social impact of this crisis.
What are the plans to ensure the business continuity?
We have implemented all appropriate measures required by law and all relevant authorities. We believe that each company must carry out its own assessment regarding the measures that they apply in this exceptional situation. However, we support and encourage our tenants to take all possible preventive measures to reduce the risk of illness.
Regardless of the decisions each company makes, all our buildings remain 100% functional.
How do you see the situation in the next months?
Unfortunately, the rapid spread of the coronavirus has caught everyone off-guard and there is a huge uncertainty in front of us. There will be a significant impact on the global economy, which will be obviously felt in Romania too. As the situation is still very fluid, we cannot estimate the magnitude of the crisis yet.
But what about the evolution of the economy and that steps are you preparing from this point of view?
As previously indicated, the situation moves so rapidly, that it is difficult to predict how it will evolve in the future. The epicentre of the crisis is now in Europe and the US, and it seems that things will get worse, at least in the near term, before getting better.
Amid this situation, the safety and wellbeing of our people, clients and communities continues to be our top priority while we try to safeguard the business, protect its assets and aim to limit the liabilities and the consequences from this crisis that evolves day by day. It is not easy as we are part of an ecosystem with regulations and restrictions being imposed every day. We are thankful for the approach and commitment of our employees and all our partners, tenants and investors. It will not be easy, but we all have a common goal: to limit to the maximum extent possible the negative impact of this crisis, to get the market back to work and to help the recovery of our community.
What advice do you have for other business partners or other companies in these times?
Of course, the safety and wellbeing of the employees and customers as well as business continuity and safeguarding of the economic activity are of primary importance. At the same time, however, I would strongly encourage everyone to demonstrate solidarity and doing whatever we can to assist our community and alleviate the suffering of those in need, especially at such difficult times. Whether it is a monetary contribution, volunteer work, or even something as simple as keeping an eye to your elderly neighbour, everything can make a difference!