“Irvine Company’s huge investment in functional outdoor spaces is one of their greatest assets in this pandemic,” says Dr. Susan Huang, chief epidemiologist at UCI Health.

Healthy Workplace Environments

by TOM BERG

As more businesses are preparing to have their teams return to the office, Irvine Company has implemented significant health and wellness procedures at its workplace communities.

The Company’s pandemic plan, originally established in 2009, is updated annually and was modified over the past several months in response to specific guidance related to COVID-19, according to officials.

As part of this update, Irvine Company formally partnered with medical experts at UC Irvine Health to provide an independent review of plans to create healthy workplace environments.

First of its kind partnership

UCI Health recently began offering clinical- and research-backed consulting services to private businesses. It is the first partnership to date between the world-renowned health enterprise and a large office owner.

“With the right practices, protocols, and informative signage in place, companies and employees can have confidence in a safe environment for returning to the office,” says Susan Huang, M.D., M.P.H., medical director and chief epidemiologist at UCI Health. “Irvine Company already had a pandemic response plan in place that they thoughtfully adapted to address CDC guidance specific to the SARS- CoV-2 pathogen and specific to their workspaces and workflows.”

Dr. Huang, an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases and infection prevention, says it’s critically important for the private and public sectors to work together to safely reopen places of business and, by extension, our economy.

“We were impressed with their preparation, commitment and detailed approach to ensuring their workplaces are as safe as possible.” – Dr. Susan Huang, UCI Health

Indoor, outdoor workplaces

“Irvine Company has a range of specialized indoor and outdoor workplaces, and we helped them refine their plan with those specialized elements in mind,” Huang says. “We were impressed with their preparation, commitment and detailed approach to ensuring their workplaces are as safe as possible.”

Huang and Linda Dickey, R.N., M.P.H., UCI Health’s senior director for epidemiology and infection prevention, reviewed the company’s coronavirus-related health and safety plans and protocols, interviewed operations executives, conducted walk-throughs of Irvine Company office and corporate workplaces and ultimately validated Irvine Company’s wide-ranging safety efforts.

They evaluated and affirmed:

  • Enhanced ventilation and air filtration systems
  • Touch-free enhancements
  • The placement and number of hand-sanitizing stations
  • Disinfection protocols
  • Entry screening protocols
  • The education and communications program on topics such as physical distancing and the importance of face coverings
  • Enhanced safety protocols for elevator use, along paths of travel and in shared common areas such as restrooms and outdoor workspaces
  • Ongoing research into emerging technology surrounding virus mitigation technology

Dickey, an expert on the built environment as it relates to disease prevention who has served as a member of the Facilities Guidelines Institute, reviewed air handling systems, methods for monitoring and novel technology considerations.

A step ahead

“Irvine Company’s systems and processes are a step ahead in safety,” she says. “They are well prepared to provide a safe environment for workers and guests in their facilities.”

One area of particular focus at Irvine Company offices has been optimizing ventilation and filtration, where indoor air is replaced with outdoor air at regular intervals throughout the day and
nightly. Health experts have deemed this “fresh air exchange” and high-efficiency filters important elements to maintaining healthy indoor environments.

Huang adds: “Irvine Company’s huge investment in functional outdoor spaces is one of their greatest assets in this pandemic. Irvine Company has welcoming outdoor workspaces that harness maximal air dilution and create a healthy, collaborative environment for businesses.”

Irvine Company offices optimize ventilation and filtration by replacing indoor air with outdoor air at regular intervals. Health experts deem this “fresh air exchange” and high-efficiency filters important to maintaining healthy indoor environments.