Singapore has recently entered Phase 1 of reopening since the Circuit Breaker. Companies are returning to offices and people have gone back to some of their pre-pandemic routines. As far as normal goes, there is still a concern that is top-of-mind for everyone – safety. We surveyed startup leaders on their biggest consideration when deciding whether to return to office. The majority, unsurpisingly, regarded safety as their biggest concern.
Coworking spaces are an attractive option in times of economic uncertainty since they are low commitment and cost-efficient. What does this mean for companies returning to office? What measures are coworking spaces taking to appease safety concerns?
Here are some of the measures workspace operators have taken to ensure safety and security when re-entering the workplace.
Coworking Safety Measures
Workspaces across Singapore are required to use SafeEntry check ins/outs to monitor the health of workers within their space. Since coworking spaces tend to be shared, tenants are required to wear a mask at all times. Symptoms of COVID-19 are checked frequently with no-touch thermometers and health-related surveys. Tenants are also reminded about what they can do to mindful of safety, such as social distancing, hand washing, and health protocols.
With invisible threats, everyone has to play his or her part for the community. Other than individual employees being vigilant, companies should also make sure their employees pose no risk to the other people in the space. If they are unwell, they should be advised to stay home or to seek medical help.
Ensuring safe distancing
After quarantining at home for months, there's going to be an ick factor to having to share a space with other people for extended periods of time. This is why coworking spaces are modifying their office layout to ensure physical distancing between occupants.
Coworking spaces have implemented rules for high traffic spaces like the reception area, lounges, pantries, meeting rooms and print stations to accommodate less people. Seating is spaced out accordingly with pre-distanced seating and sticker guidelines. IWG has established their own meeting room safety protocol, where people can only move around clockwise to avoid accidental contact.
The entry points to our offices are a big concern as well, as front doors, elevators, and stairs. These spaces tend to be cramped, and make for a breeding ground for surface and human-to-human transmission. To remedy this, WeWork, for example, has placed hand sanitizer dispensers around those points. They also put placards and floor stickers to remind tenants of hygiene and distancing guidelines to follow.
Increasing sanitation and air purification
Frequent disinfection and cleaning of office spaces is a must. Adhering to the guidelines provided by WHO and the local government, many workspaces have equipped stations with touch-free hand sanitizers and soap dispensers, alcohol wipes and sprays, as well as gloves and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Companies are also trying to minimise physical touchpoints in communal spaces and items. To reduce the need of physical contact, many are deploying contactless access controls and frequent disinfection of touchpoints. People are encouraged to use single-use cutlery and avoid food sharing as well.
There has been some concern over the increased likelihood of the virus spreading due to air conditioning (since air is circulated in an enclosed space). Coworking spaces are increasing their use of air purifiers and diffusers. WeWork has an air register that recycles used air back to its air handling unit, promoting both ventilation and sustainability. Adding filters to air conditioning systems also helps appease some tenant concerns.
Back to Normal?
All these measures significantly lower the risk of virus spread within a workspace, as well as help give tenants peace of mind. However, being able to return to the office doesn't mean that the world has returned to a pre-COVID normal. Both the public and private sector have spared no effort in helping us get back to work. Thus, in the spirit of bouncing back, let’s work together (while distancing) to amplify the positive effects of these efforts.
Prepare to Return to Work
BOOQED helps you choose flexible workspaces that are economical and vetted for safety. Check out some workspace promos for hot desks, dedicated desks, and private offices from our coworking partners in Singapore, so you can get back to work with the right option for you.