People in the UK spend an average of 251 hours commuting a year. The South African numbers are most likely much higher. The current Covid 19 epidemic, due to health and safety reasons, has forced a state of emergency and therefore required people to work from home.
Now that the epidemic is somewhat under control, people are starting to rebel against working at an office as the last months have proven it is possible to work from home.
This does not come without it’s challenges like the home setup. Many don’t have the space or a decent office chair or a stable internet or even power supply. Some have small children running around. These are seriously determining factors that hamper productivity.
Some positive solutions across the globe have been the following:
In Europe, the number one issue has been the office chair. Most office staff took their comfy office chair home with them.
Coworking spaces are an ideal solution but they need to adapt to the new status quo.
Remote workers can work in close by coworking spaces. They will have a decent work space, possibly good coffee, stable power and a good internet connection.
Coworking spaces do however need to adapt to the next normal. As many more people are doing video conference calls, coworking spaces will need to create more “pod style” booths for people to do these virtual meetings.
This poses the question about which technology to deploy? Also, keeping the social distancing measures in place - as in isolation.
Most coworking spaces today have a larger open plan style layout and a few meeting rooms, which need to be booked in advance. The new model would possibly need smaller rooms to allow social distancing as well as virtual meetings.
From a Health and Safety perspective, coworking venues will need to do temperature scanning on entry as well as have hand sanitiser stations available. Also, the sanitising of the coworking space is of utmost importance. To this end, there are technologies available such as room foggers as well as specific lighting technology which can sanitise constantly whilst lights are on. Philips UV-C germicidal lightsare able to break down DNA of micro-organisms.
Coworking space owners don’t need to worry! There are many specialists who can help them to adapt to the next normal.
These owners need to give thought to over and underutilised spaces and will need to change these to suit.
The large auditorium space, which was a good money spinner in the past, might need to give way to smaller meeting rooms or even Co-living spaces for out of towners to stay the night.
New technology should be installed to create generic video conferencing spaces such as Zoom or MS Teams rooms. Access control systems and room booking technology needs to be incorporated so that users can book rooms in advance and receive a confirmed space.
Also, access control is vital from a social distancing perspective. Coworking spaces can work out the maximal number of workers based on square meterage and can then set the access control system so that over booking is not possible. This will be a requirement in terms of the Health and Safety regulations.
It is important to speak to a trusted industry expert to receive sound advice for the best solutions available.