Here's what a return to the office looks like at coworking spaces

Jun 10 2020, 10:09 am

Canadians are getting back to work.

Restaurants are reopening, services are resuming, and office workers are emerging from their makeshift home offices (aka kitchen tables, couches, and beds) to head back to the real thing.

COVID-19 still looms as a very real threat, however, so building and HR managers across the country are facing the daunting task of ensuring that physical distancing measures are met for when their workers return after the past few months at home.

We decided to take a look at how one of Canada’s largest coworking companies, WeWork, is handling the transition, as their spaces house a wide variety of companies, entrepreneurs, and Daily Hive’s very own Calgary team.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have been reviewing member feedback and working with industry partners across health and safety, cleaning, construction, and design to install everyday enhancements across our workspaces,” an email from the company states.

“Together, we have developed a plan for the Future of the Workplace which focuses on three key areas: Professional Distancing, Cleanliness, and Behavioural Signage.”

According to the company’s Future of the Workplace document, the coworking spaces will now feature signage to show workers where occupiable seats are in WeWork’s communal areas such as couches, tables, and work nooks to ensure physical distancing measures are being met.

coworking

The Future of Work (WeWork)

Sanitation wipes will also be available at occupiable areas to allow people to give the seats, cushions, and surfaces a quick wipe before using.

Stickers are also being used in meeting rooms to mark pre-distanced seating.

coworking

The Future of Work (WeWork)

The company’s enhanced cleaning measures include increased frequency of cleaning and sanitization, an expanded availability of hand sanitization wipes, sprays, and gels, free masks, gloves, and other protective equipment provided to members, the installation of touch-free soap dispensers, and reduced touch points in pantries — including single use condiments, cutlery, and cups.

The coworking company has introduced what they call House Rules, which is the signage found throughout their spaces detailing cleaning standards and capacity protocols.

They have also decided to put a pause on their allowance of dogs in the workplace during the pandemic — excluding service dogs and ESAs — as pups tend to be high-touch surfaces.

According to the document, WeWork has even gone so far as to reevaluate its HVAC and air quality systems in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

coworking

The Future of Work (WeWork)

Following a consultation with engineering partners, their coworking spaces are “taking immediate steps to protect members with the maximum achievable delivery of fresh, clean air to all our spaces.”

No matter where you work or what you do, returning back to the workplace is going to feel a little different following the past few months — the whole world has become a little different.

In times like these it’s important to remember that it isn’t solely the responsibility of a coworking company, your HR manager, or the building owners to keep you and your coworkers safe; it’s on all of us.

Be sure to practice proper hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing whenever possible, wear a mask if necessary, and stay home if you’re sick.

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