COVID-19 has turned the world of work on its head. Working from an office is now no longer the norm for many and months later there is still apprehension about returning to the workplace. In Canada alone, four in 10 people surveyed don’t feel comfortable returning to work. But they also indicated that there are precautions workplaces can take to improve their comfort level. 60% of workers would like to see increased distancing between workstations, 70% want stricter policies on staying home sick and 72% support regular workspace sanitation.
From communicating new guidelines to enforcing physical distancing, managing a safe return to work for your community requires dedication and determination. Showing your members that you’re creating a safe and reliable place to work will not only give them confidence that they’re returning to a safe environment, but that they also have a community that cares for their health, their safety, and their business.
We believe that technology will play a key role in keeping your workplace safe, enabling you to create a framework for your safety plan as well as communicate it clearly to your community. We’ve identified a few of the main challenges your members will face when returning to work, along with ways to help address those challenges one by one.
1. Manage foot traffic and encourage physical distancing
Limiting the number of people in your space and encouraging physical distancing will go a long way towards creating a safe environment for members, reducing anxiety, and fostering a sense of security in your community. Here are a number of ways you can achieve this:
- Keep clear records: It’s crucial for you to know who has come into your space, and when. Using our check-in functionality, you can have members sign in each time they visit. This ensures you can easily track how many people are in your space at once and keep a record of their visit for contact tracing.
- Require members to book ahead: You can proactively manage how many people are in your space by requiring them to reserve a workstation ahead of time. Simply create resources in Optix for each work area in your space, and notify users that they must have a resource booked before they come in. Your users can easily see available resources in real-time and book them using your mobile app.
- Manage your resources: Reduce the amount of traffic coming into your space by setting a portion of your resources as unavailable. Have 10 desks in a single group? Reduce it to 5 and physically put up signage on every other desk to distance people throughout the day.
2. Go as touchless as much as possible
A key part of ensuring a safe work environment is sanitation. Good cleaning protocols will reduce the risk of spreading germs and help members feel comfortable in your space. There are a few ways to do this:
- Do a daily deep clean: Cleaning every nook and cranny of your space is only really possible when members aren’t there. Update your business hours to allow time for more intensive cleaning before or after the work day.
- Add hand sanitizer stations: Let members help create their own safe workspace. By strategically placing hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas of your space, such as the entrance, you give members the opportunity to take their own sanitation precautions.
- Keep a booking buffer for sanitizing: You’ll significantly improve your space’s safety and your members’ comfort level by spot cleaning individual resources. So make sure you give your team time between bookings to thoroughly clean workstations and meeting rooms by implementing a buffer time.
- Allow for touchless entry: The less members touch, the less chance germs will spread. Try enabling as many touchless interactions as you can with high activity areas, like elevators and entrances. Better yet, set up an access control system that opens doors via your mobile app!
3. Communicate with your community
Strong communication about your new space guidelines and regulations has a two-fold benefit. First, it will help ensure everyone is up-to-date and aware of the protocols they’re expected to follow. Secondly, it will reassure members they’re safe to come in because you’re clearly taking every precaution to protect their health and safety. Some suggestions to help you get the word out:
- Release regular updates: Keep your community informed of new guidelines and developments by sending out announcements via the mobile app. You can even send daily updates that require members to confirm they aren’t showing symptoms before they come in and track them in the Optix web dashboard.
- Create a positive feedback loop: Ask questions and create a dialogue with members in your space. Use the Community Feed to ask them what you can do to create a more comfortable work space, and share articles and tips that are COVID-safety related. You can even pin important posts to stay at the top of the Feed, so everyone stays up to date.
- Educate your community: Link out to more information about the most up-to-date regulations in your country and city, along with other important information for your community to stay informed.
4. Keep your community connected
Engage your coworking community virtually and become a place of connection for your members. Creating a tight knit community during this shift back to work will demonstrate value, show support, and set your community up for even greater success in the future. Use and promote tools such as the Community Directory and Feed to spark conversations between members, and set up virtual events. Learn about more ideas for engaging your members by reading this blog.
Looking for more resources?
If you want more ideas to support new physical distancing and workplace policies, reach out to our support team!