What Are Common Flexible Workspace Covid Protocols?
In this challenging time as COVID-19 affects workplace operations globally, we break down how occupants can engage with flexible workplace operators as both a solution for near-term business continuity and a long-term way of working for businesses. We also set out guidelines on how to manage operations for versatile workspace operators and protect members' safety and wellness at this time.
NEAR-TERM: BUSINESS CONTINUITY FOR OCCUPIERS
The risk of COVID-19 exposure is present across all workplace environments. If a flexible workspace provider has introduced improved health and safety procedures, the likelihood of exposure in a flexible workspace is as high, if not higher, than in a conventional workplace.
Many flexible workspaces, however, take drastic measures to maintain strong hygiene and social distance (more on this below), and as part of your business continuity efforts, there may be specific ways to leverage the sector. You might need to use a selection of these, rather than just one, depending on your business:
- Whole Office Contingency: In the event that your office is closed or that new space can not be taken up due to construction delays, the flexible workspace operator could consider taking up space in less-impacted locations. Several operators are proactively marketing this solution and some are exploring ways to unlock large inventory blocks to accommodate the great demand for continuity.
- Mission Critical Risk Mitigation: To order to reduce risk, consider proactively using the versatile workspace sector to spread mission-critical teams across two or more locations.
- Suburban Location Touch Downs: If the commute is especially difficult for some workers or if working from home is not feasible or efficient, then the use of a versatile workspace provider with a residential/suburban network may be another choice.
- Facilitating Meetings: Occupants could use meetings and advanced AV equipment in flexible workplaces to facilitate necessary meetings, disperse team numbers to assist in distancing and mitigating risks. Big meetings, for example, could be split up into smaller meetings and conducted with streaming / VC devices readily accessible at different locations.
LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS: WHAT WE’RE TRACKING IN A NEW OCCUPIER FUTURE
Although it is too early to predict the lasting effects of COVID-19 on the versatile workspace, this pandemic will undoubtedly affect future response plans for both occupants and operators and the approach to corporate real estate. Here are a few of the key results that we will be monitoring:
- The huge work-from-home transition, which governments globally require or promote, provides the first real opportunity to quantify output from remote work on a significant scale. How does this affect the ability of this occupier to incorporate remote work of cloud-connected workers in the future and what function does the flexible workspace sector play here, considering that not everybody has the perfect home environment?
- Will a decline in building tours in person become permanent and push the adoption of new technology to allow remote tours of buildings? Is this a catalyst for digitization in real estate, with proptech and A.I being adopted more widely. (Cleaning the machines, AR / VR walking, for example)?
- For many new operators entering the sector, prolonged economic stagnation can present the first real financial stress test. How will this affect the sector's dynamics six months from now?
- Will flexible office, split operations or city campus models emerge during disaster response scenarios as core components of corporate real estate strategies and business continuity plans for the occupiers?
- What kinds of a new protocols on welfare, safety and security will become commonplace for post-COVID-19 operators?
COVID-19 OPERATOR RECOMMENDATIONS: RESPONSE AND READINESS
To summarize recommendations for response and preparation in a flexible workspace, our experts in each area have consulted with leading operators responding to the current situation. Junny Lee, CEO of The Work Project, one of Singapore's largest premium operators, a region early affected by COVID-19, shared the following practical steps with the operators to take:
- Clarify and define a) government rules b) building rules c) your workspace ‘house rules’. There may be differences across the three. For example, entry restrictions may be stricter in your locations than government advisories on immigration.
- Define Standard Operating Procedures and designate an owner to communicate SOPs with members.
- Create lists of essential supplies and perform weekly audits.
- Designate an owner to communicate with landlords and local government, and organize policies.
- Prepare a coordination plan to tackle the worst-case situations (i.e. on-site event detection).
- For members who may involve alternate locations, prepare and communicate back-up options.
Are You Ready to Find Your New Flexible Workspace?
Victory Workspace has been serving professionals in the Walnut Creek, California area for over ten years, and even after the Covid 19 Shelter in Place is over we will be here for you. We offer a large variety of Flexible Workspaces, short term office rentals, meeting rooms and a welcoming event space with plenty of free parking for you or your guests. All that while providing our clients with daily opportunities to network - in-person and online - with other business-minded professionals just like you! To learn more, set up your free tour or inquire about which one of our services might be right for you, reach out to one of our amazing Community Guides at Victory Workspace for more information.