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From Site Selection magazine, May 2020

On Plexiglass and The New Normal

Mark Arend


Will there be enough plexiglass on the market when it comes time for corporate operations to reopen their offices? Convenience, grocery and other retail stores scooped up tons of it to remain in business once the pandemic was full blown. This is just a way of wondering how fashionable open floor plans in offices will be now that six-foot separations are the norm. So much for “collaboration space” and the rest of the buzzword office-design fads that are so ubiquitous today.

Companies, like ours is doing, will find a way to welcome workers back. But people in your corporate real estate departments now have a new set of challenges, not the least of which is determining whether they will need as much space as they currently occupy. I know of new corporate facility projects that are on hold now, just as ground was being broken in recent weeks.

But these considerations are the low-hanging fruit. The plexiglass will be acquired and installed, or floor plans rearranged, and we’ll all be doing videoconference meetings and webinars probably more than we have been the past two months.

We’re working on the thornier issues affecting location strategies for our special report in the July issue on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on corporate facility footprints and the locations that will benefit and those that won’t. As this issue goes to press, global supply chains are being recalibrated. Reshoring is being looked at from a whole new perspective. Payrolls are being scrutinized for places to cut. Telecommuting policies are being given a closer look. Automotive and many other companies are retooling their operations to produce more essential things than cars, as our North American Automotive report in this issue illustrates.

Locations are re-messaging their messages to make the case that their area has the resources to help investors succeed in this new normal. And they’re polishing their virtual-site-tour skills to be in front of capital investors and consultants without being in front of them. We have a vast supply of insights and resources planned for the July issue and our online outlets.

In the meantime, you’ll find plenty of such content in this issue, which recognizes the Best to Invest markets around the world — and in the U.S., as you’ll find in the Mac Awards, Top Deals and Prosperity Cup reports. Other articles, too, offer examples of how companies and locations are responding to the pandemic and its effect on workforce training, state manufacturing sectors and much more.

Our hope is that you — individually and as an industry — weather this storm safely, wisely and prosperously.

Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief

Mark Arend
Editor Emmeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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