Companies in some areas of the world are slowly preparing to return to work in what may be the most uncertain environment in recent history. For coworking companies in particular, returning to work seems particularly challenging as major operators such as WeWork and Knotel have had to lay off hundreds of staff.
Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious, believes that the workplace-as-a-service model has an upper hand over certain companies and landlords given the experience they have in managing spaces at scale.
Over the next three months, Hodari added that his company is committed to serving members virtually and keeping them engaged through a program called Continuous. It includes virtual assistance, work-from-home kits, free therapy through partnerships, telemedicine and Slack communities to keep members connected.
As companies welcome people back to the workplace, Hodari said that the adoption of flexible workspaces will likely accelerate.
To ensure that spaces are up to par with health protocols and guidelines, Hodari said coworking firms should look into architectural changes and behavioral interventions. This includes moving away from open floor concepts and HVAC systems that have a single zone. Industrious in particular already offers individual offices for one to four people with smaller HVAC systems that are more easily controlled.
Although we may be weeks away from returning to work, companies should start planning today on the protocols it will have in place to minimize the potential spread of the virus. This includes setting up temperature readings, potential antibody testing, sanitization techniques, and creating distance between employees.