Blurb from the author: Despite my limited experience working in coworking spaces, I am still aware that there are often many people in these places at the same time. It's a great place to meet new people, but this can be riskier in the current pandemic.
You know most of your colleagues in your own office. To a certain extent, you can be confident that the current COVID-19 pandemic will not endanger everyone's health.
However, in coworking spaces you will see many different faces entering and leaving the place in one day. Most of them may be strangers and you are simply not sure if you can be confident that they are responsible citizens.
Thus, the burden lies with the providers of coworking space to ensure that they maintain the hygiene of their rooms and can take care of the health of their guests / members (employees).
It won't be an easy task, but here's what some Malaysian coworking spaces are already doing to increase the trust of returning or new members, and it's about more than their health.
1. Temperature tests and contact tracking
The first line of defense is temperature controls. As soon as these have been carried out at all entry points, the coworking spaces ensure that all guests are either registered via a log book or QR codes.
Photo credits: Co-Labs Coworking
You will also need to disclose your travel history and fill out health declaration forms.
2nd Provide necessities
At the moment, most people would already be wearing their own face masks before entering a coworking space, but in any case, the coworking spaces have a supply for those without.
Hand sanitizers are also placed throughout the room, especially in high traffic areas, and HanaWomen Hub has posted hygiene notices at the entrance to remind guests of their own duties.
3. Improve hygiene practices
Apart from the more frequent cleaning of their rooms, such as. B. se | tempat, which in accordance with the regulations of the KKM renovate the public areas three times a day, some coworking spaces have also gone one step further.
For example, WORQ will provide its guests with disinfection kits to wipe areas before and after use, and Co-labs Coworking will provide its Premium Office Suite (private office) tenants with one disinfectant spray bottle per suite with free refills.
Co-Labs Coworking is also watching a 30-minute break between meetings to allow for wiping, and is currently installing contactless soap dispensers, disposable toilet seat covers, and biohazard waste bins throughout the room. They are also considering other options such as installing disinfection tunnels and foot pedals on doors.
LinDees is about cleaning your room with alcohol-free, skin and eye safe solutions.
4th Regulation of the number of guests in a room
WORQ has reduced the capacity of its meeting and discussion rooms, restricted visitors' access to the front desk and meeting rooms, and only allowed members to work on their "outlet" at home (the outlet where they originally signed up).
se | tempat limits the number of employees at the same time to a maximum of 7 in the room, and HanaWomen Hub also limits the number of new registrations, not just the existing members.
5. Discouraging entry for younger children
Both LinDees and HanaWomen Hub are child-friendly and geared towards working parents (especially mothers for the latter).
Because children are very susceptible to COVID-19, HanaWomen Hub strongly prohibits parents from bringing children under 12 into their coworking space.
Children who tagged the HanaWomen Hub with their parents / Photo credit: HanaWomen Hub
In the meantime, LinDees does the same, allowing only slightly older children who understand instructions and can play in small groups with a structured program.
Since they also have a playground in their room, LinDees will force playgroup sessions to control the crowd instead of free play.
The playground at LinDees / Photo credit: LinDees
6. Reorder seating arrangements
According to the regulations on social distance, all members must now sit 1 meter apart, so the coworking spaces have limited the number of people at a large table and some have even taken chairs away, apart from only adding markings and labels.
Photo credits: Co-Labs Coworking
Co-Labs Coworking places customized modular partitions in multiple configurations in the Flexi and Fixed Desk areas to provide an additional protection barrier between members.
7. Close common equipment
For coworking spaces like WORQ and Co-Labs coworking, which have a variety of common amenities such as nap pods, gaming lounges and even shower rooms, these are temporarily closed.
WORQ's pantry is also closed to guests. Instead, employees distribute snacks to members at set times of the day to regulate contact with food.
8th. Contactless deliveries
With regard to mail processing, parcels and F&B deliveries, Co-labs Coworking has set up a contactless delivery and collection point at all locations.
9. Restructuring events
Depending on the coworking spaces, events are either postponed completely to a later date in the year or held in compliance with government regulations.
An event at se | tempat in the last year before the pandemic / Image Credit: se | tempat
For example, WORQ holds physical events until October 2020, and HanaWomen Hub doesn't allow more than 10 people in a single event in their room.
10th Price adjustments
With coworking spaces for many startups and SMEs that have been affected by their own companies, the providers have come up with discounts for members in order to reduce the financial burden.
HanaWomen Hub has developed a Post-COVID-19 plan with greatly reduced 3 to 12 month membership plans, and se | tempat is granting a 50% discount on its 7-day and monthly tickets until the end of June.
In the meantime, WORQ members were granted a total of RM 250,000 in rent relief over a period of three months from April to June. The coworking space also offers extensive expansion plans and discounts.
For companies, WORQ has developed offers for Business Continuity Plans (BCP) at an affordable price.
On the other hand, instead of direct price cuts, Co-labs Coworking will introduce an economic stimulus package that includes a deferred payment system for rent.
11. Keep communities connected
After the pandemic, the type of information that these coworking spaces now share has changed.
HanaWomen Hub gave self-management tips during COVID-19, while LinDees gave tips on how to deal with new changes and what parents can do with their children at home. se | tempat uses social media to keep its members up to date on their security procedures.
At WORQ, the focus is on the current trend of digital transformation, so you can stay in touch with your community by putting your monthly physical bonfire events online.
Co-Labs Coworking has also virtually addressed their community and made investments to improve their technology for digitization.
This includes the launch of an online member portal in the second half of 2020, where members can connect, book rooms, receive notifications and stay informed about upcoming events.
Bottom line: These coworking spaces can increase user confidence with all of these strategies, but ultimately the decision to work in one or not still depends on one person. As long as the guests feel cared for, I have no doubt that the coworking spaces will be filled again after the end of the pandemic, especially given the changes in the work culture.
- Read more about what we wrote about coworking spaces here.
Selected image source: Co-Labs Coworking