There can be no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on virtually every industry and business in the country. Those businesses that have been most significantly affected are the ones that simply have not been able to open because they require people working in proximity.
That’s been a problem for co-working spaces. Despite the fact that coworking offers a huge range of benefits including a community feel, greater control, and even a more meaningful working experience, many spaces find themselves in a position where, as they open up, they are having to prove that they are safe and hygienic.
It is still the case that many businesses aren’t opening their offices up – some have even closed offices and have asked employees to work remotely indefinitely. So there could be fantastic opportunities for co-working spaces to offer the kind of office environment that workers are missing. But to do so, they need to prove they are hygienic.
Keeping social distancing in place
As we emerge from lockdown, there is a government roadmap in place to the point where all restrictions will be lifted. Of course, the restrictions are always subject to change depending on the levels of transmission and more. However, currently, there is a plan to end all restrictions, which would also mean an end to social distancing.
However, it is important to remember that just because restrictions are lifted, it doesn’t mean that everyone will be immediately comfortable returning to normal life. Many people will wish to continue to practice social distancing as a matter of course to allow them to have an easier and less stressful transition back to the workplace. It is sensible, then, that many co-working spaces are choosing to keep social distancing measures in place at least for the time being.
Encouraging good anti-Covid-19 habits
As well as social distancing, there are many things that we can learn from the period of Covid-19 that can help co-working spaces to remain hygienic. For example, regular handwashing and the use of hand sanitisers can be an important idea in shared space, not just to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but any other virus.
A perhaps understandable side effect of the anti-Covid-19 measures was that cases of the common cold and flu dropped drastically. It is a great idea to continue with these measures, as well as useful ideas such as good ventilation.
Making sure the cleaning regime covers everyone
It is important that co-working spaces have a good cleaning regime in place. Hire a professional cleaning service to make sure they perform their duties more efficiently than employee cleaners. Cleaning of the space is perhaps the most important aspect of minimising the risk of Covid-19 spreading and remains good practice for any co-working space regardless. Of course, this might seem obvious, but you also need to think about some of the less commonly used aspects of the co-working space.
Phones are a great example that might not get thought about. “The phone is a hotspot for bacteria and needs regular cleaning,” says Tracey Donegan of office cleaning specialists Supreme Cleaning “wipe your phone with anti-bacterial wipes. The ear, mouthpiece and keypad require special attention as they have the most concentration of bacteria. Wipe the whole unit and any wires and cables”.
Staying up-to-date with requirements
We can’t forget that while many of the restrictions around behaviour are being lifted, as the worst of the pandemic subsides, things can change quickly. Around the start of the pandemic, we had to become used to the idea that the specific regulations and requirements can alter day-by-day.
Co-working spaces are following the requirements closely and making sure that they fall within the government’s guidelines. Doing so helps to ensure that the spaces are not only hygienic but also working within government restriction.
Co-working spaces have had to adapt quickly, as a large number of businesses and organisations have over the course of the pandemic. One of the benefits that can be taken from the period is that it has normalised a higher standard of hygiene in the work environment. This is something that can only benefit co-working spaces moving forward.
All industries have changed as a result of Covid-19, but there is no reason that companies can’t find ways to work within the requirements.
Photo credits: eOffice