How Coworking Spaces Are Adapting to the Coronavirus Pandemic
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacted a heavy toll on the corporate workplace would be an understatement. When so many workers were sent home during lockdowns and began to work remotely, office spaces cleared out in a hurry. Many businesses, finding it just as easy to continue working remotely, have permanently canceled their office leases even as lockdowns subsided, making it difficult for commercial office buildings to keep enough occupancy to be sustainable.
Yet in the midst of this crisis, coworking spaces have perhaps fared better than other sectors of the office world. While many of them have also had occupancy issues, the advantages of flexibility and short-term commitments have made coworking a more attractive alternative for small businesses that need more than a home office in which to function. Even so, coworking spaces have had to make some significant changes in how they operate to assure their clients that they are safe environments to work in. Let’s explore some ways in which the coworking industry is adapting to the ongoing COVID crisis.
Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
While COVID doesn’t seem to transmit extensively through touch, science does show the virus can live on surfaces for varying lengths of time. Coworking spaces are intensifying their cleaning routines with more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and high-touch surfaces. Some are even spraying their common areas with a disinfectant fog during the overnight hours and asking users to avoid entering when fogging is in progress.
To encourage social distancing, many coworking spaces are lowering their maximum occupancy, making more space between workstations, and even removing some workstations to allow at least 6 feet between desks. Some are also constructing additional physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass) to create cubicles, which can reduce the spread of droplets, as a safer alternative to open office spaces.
For common areas and any offices that aren’t enclosed, many coworking spaces now require users to wear masks to reduce the spread of droplets when breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing. While some view it as an inconvenience, science has proven the risk of COVID transmission is significantly reduced with the proper use of masks.
One of the biggest concerns with reopening businesses is that the COVID virus can linger in the air for long periods. When people sit in interior spaces for hours breathing the same air, eventually the air can build up a high “viral load” if one or more people are infected. To reduce this risk, some coworking spaces are integrating enhanced filters (MERV-14 rating or higher) into their HVAC systems. These filters are theoretically able to trap the COVID virus and prevent it from recirculating in the air. For even more protection, some companies are even providing complimentary portable HEPA air purifiers for users to have at their desks.
Temperature checks aren’t a foolproof system since many COVID carriers have no symptoms, but some companies are implementing them as a precaution, anyway. Users may have their temperature taken before being allowed to enter the space and be sent home if they show signs of fever.
In the age of COVID, there is no such thing as “no risk.” However, there are many things coworking spaces can do to reduce the risk of COVID spread and keep users as safe as possible. To learn more about the ways myOfficeLife is creating safe spaces for users, give us a call at 720-600-0065.