PHOTO: (L to R) Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Mirvac CEO, Darren Steinberg, Dexus CEO and Stephen Conry, JLL ANZ CEO. Photo: Peter Braig

Australia’s largest property companies are splitting teams, cancelling events and banning unnecessary travel to reduce the risk to staff and operations of the coronavirus that threatens to plunge the economy into recession and triggered last week’s $17.6 billion federal government stimulus package.

Office landlord Dexus, which expects the crisis to disrupt the economy for the next six months, is asking visitors to its corporate offices and the buildings it owns to notify it of recent overseas travel. Like others, it is cleaning end-of-trip, lift, retail and bathroom areas of its buildings more frequently.

Lendlease has cancelled all travel to Asia, Italy and Iran and has told staff not to attend external meetings or conferences involving more than 10 people. It is also encouraging teams to work from home where appropriate.

“Our Asia team has been working successfully from home for the past month,” a spokesman said.

The respiratory disease, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation last week, is testing managements as they try to keep their organisations functioning as smoothly as possible while also protecting their staff and stakeholders in a health crisis that is also provoking irrational behaviour.