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Reopening Plans: What Coworking Spaces Have Committed To Changing

In anticipation of a return to the workplace, we recently invited our 500+ partner coworking spaces to participate in a survey regarding their plans for reopening and what changes in service offerings and operations they intend to make. 

Changes in Service Offerings

In our conversations with spaces, the decision to remove communal seating is mostly in order to implement a 6 foot distance between seats. Additionally, meeting spaces are being converted into private offices. However, it’s clear that most spaces plan to keep phone booths operational and assumed that there will be an increase of cleaning for these typically small-sized rooms.

Planned Operational Changes

A few notables regarding these operational changes:

  • Almost 60% of spaces will be requiring masks or gloves, but only 28% will actually be providing them.
  • 6 feet of distance is preferred over adding dividers.
    • Our assumption here is that dividers are an added cost and time expenditure, and coworkers would feel more comfortable with 6 feet of distance anyways rather than a physical divider.
  • Spaces are opting to keep their ‘soft seating’ (ex: couches and lounge furniture) and instead plan to clean and disinfect these rather than remove them.

Additional Comments

Lastly, we asked survey respondents when they anticipated to reopen and to provide any comments regarding the reopening process ahead:

  • Most of the spaces surveyed plan to reopen in May or June. 
  • Many spaces noted a concern about people’s confidence in returning to the workplace, and thus the prioritization of communicating their health and safety policies to members and prospective members. 
  • A few spaces indicated they planned to require a new COVID-specific terms of use agreement to ensure people are aware of what is expected of them, and/or acknowledge health risks while on-site. 

Many spaces noted a concern about people’s confidence in returning to the workplace, and thus the prioritization of communicating their health and safety policies to members and prospective members. 

A few spaces indicated they planned to require a new COVID-specific terms of use agreement to ensure people are aware of what is expected of them, and/or acknowledge health risks while on-site. 

Survey Respondents

Our network of partner spaces ranges from independent owners, to multi-location and nationwide companies.

Looking Ahead

Like most businesses, coworking spaces are eager to reopen but given the unchartered territory ahead, may be experiencing uncertainty and thus looking for guidance and assistance. 

We believe there are 5 components to a successful reopening of coworking spaces: 

  1. Spaces must make both physical and operational changes 
  2. Spaces must clearly communicate their changes in advance 
    • Website, marketing materials, social media, and on-site signage should reflect these changes
  3. People must be informed of changes in advance and know exactly what is expected of them while on-site
    • Managers can email visitors a checklist of things to know, or what to bring in on their first visit
    • Revised agreements can be sent in advance for new members to review and sign
  4. People must feel comfortable and safe while coworking, and have a way to submit their feedback to the space
    • Include a survey link in sales follow ups, and set a reminder for members to complete the survey on a quarterly basis
    • Positive feedback can be used for testimonials in marketing materials
  5. An industry-wide effort to educate people about coworking. 
    • There has been a massive increase of employees who are new to working from home, and thus realizing the pitfalls that come with working from home. They will be eager to try coworking if they understand the benefits and feel safe going into spaces.

The Deskpass team has been working quickly to add new services to our platform that will better assist our partner spaces reopen and communicate their revised operations. We’ll be announcing these improvements soon and look forward to navigating the journey ahead, together

This post is written by Deskpass Co-Founder and Chief Community Officer, Nicole Vasquez.

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