WeWork China: Workspace Processes During A Pandemic

WeWork China has implemented tough measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • WeWork China has implemented tough measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among them, offices are disinfected every 2 hours and members have their temperature taken when they arrive.
  • WeWork is also offering VR tours to help business owners explore a workspace without visiting in person.

Over the past few weeks, WeWork China has launched a webpage and WeChat account for their Coronavirus efforts, precautions, and activities.

The video below details the measures they have taken over the past weeks and months.

This month, I was able to speak with a member of the WeWork China team about the current challenges, expectations, and processes being implemented across workspaces in China.

Similar to the UCommune response to the Coronavirus in China, WeWork has implemented many new standards and processes for their spaces.

WeWork Standards and Processes:

1. Temperature taken once you arrive at the building and then once you enter the space.

2. When a person enters a separate floor, that person needs to sign in.

3. Offices are disinfected every two hours.

4. Everyone is required to wear a mask when working, including in a private office.

5. Elevators are divided into 9 cubes with stickers on the ground, which gives each person their own cubicle of vertical space. During rush hour, building staff are also verifying that not too many people are in the same elevator.

WeWork has also been focused on getting masks in, adding supplies of sanitizers and hand wash, disinfecting the HVAC systems, and disinfecting surfaces.

Lasting Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Although China is starting to see a decrease in the number of cases of the Coronavirus, these processes and the impact of this pandemic are expected to continue for at least the first half of 2020.

Many people have not made it back to their homes since the outbreak struck around the time of the Chinese New Year on January 25th, 2020.

By the end of February, there were still only 4 WeWork locations open for employees (2 – 3 weeks ago) in Shanghai.

Once more residents make it back to the larger cities such as Shanghai, each person is also required to stay under quarantine for at least 14 days.

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Different Districts Have Different Rules

Depending on the region or district, there might also be different rules for movement or even for the reopening of a workspace or office.

In one of the main CBD’s of Shanghai (Jing’an District), there are extremely strict policies and standards in place for any office building or coworking space that wants to open.

This situation has also prevented the WeWork flagship location from opening.

Once a location has reopened though, the WeWork staff are taking shifts of 1 – 2 days and then being off the same. Since there is such low occupancy, many people are not really needed.

Government Support

Along with some tax policies that are put into place, the Chinese government has also been putting into place new policies that reduce the rent from government owned property. For most WeWork locations, this is already occurring.

Future of Remote Work in China

Although the Coronavirus has allowed for most of the population to work from home, most companies are expected to go back into the office once they are able to. Whether this is cultural, traditional, or just habit, I have heard this from numerous sources.

After all, breaking lifelong habits will continue to take time.

Shared Workspace Support of Members

WeWork has launched a VR feature for all WeWork China offices where you can tour any open locations without physically going into one.

In the current environment, WeWork China has also allowed any member to work in any open location. The goal here is to provide better service while reducing commuting and exposure as much as possible.

When do People Come Back to their Offices?

WeWork is taking all of these measures to show that their locations are safe. Even with these precautions, “you are not going to hear from WeWork or any other operator that people should come back.”

However, once people feel comfortable and the government says the pandemic is over, then people will start coming back into their offices and coworking spaces.

What are you experiencing in your area? Have you been asked to work from home? Is your office or coworking space closing temporarily? Tell me about it.

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