- Latin America’s network of coworking operators, COLATAM, has developed a safe-to-return certification for workspaces.
- The goal of the certification is to boost customer confidence, add value to coworking spaces, and ensure that spaces are complying with local regulations.
- COLATAM is working with Bureau Veritas to develop the list of best practices and safety protocols for flexible workspaces.
COLATAM, Latin America’s network of coworking and flexible workspace operators, partnered with Bureau Veritas a few months back to develop a safe-to-return certification for coworking and flexible workspaces in the region.
Bureau Veritas is a leader in testing, inspection, and certification services. The organization can help companies achieve certifications like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, SA8000, and plenty of others.
Why the Safe Guard Certificate?
The certification website states that when COLATAM saw that one of the most pressing matters for coworking spaces in the Latin American region, and worldwide, was the safe return to the workplace and that there were no specific regulations for the industry, something needed to be done.
The organization reached out to Bureau Veritas to develop a product that solved some of the issues related to a safer start of coworking and flexible space activities. The goal of the certification is to boost customer confidence, add value to coworking spaces, and ensure that spaces are complying with local regulations.
According to COLATAM, the certification can be tailored for different countries and markets depending on the local requirements. The certification will be offered and available throughout all the LATAM region.
COLATAM has been working with Bureau Veritas to develop best practices and protocols for flexible workspaces. While the network of coworking spaces is offering the certification, it is Bureau Veritas who will be in charge of overseeing and approving the certification.
Speaking about the partnership and the certification, Matias Vazquez, founder and country manager of COLATAM Brazil stated:
“The assessments were developed by specialists in health, safety and hygiene, based on standards and best practices recognized worldwide and dictated by local requirements. With that, coworking members will feel safer and be more willing to return to our spaces faster. The certification can also work as a valuable marketing tool, especially as safe and healthy workplaces become a key issue for professionals around the world.”
These are some of the key areas the certification will focus on:
- General recommendations and guidelines for the safe use of meeting rooms, phone booths, shared workspace, kitchen areas, event areas, and private offices.
- How to properly clean and sanitize a flexible workspace.
- Architectural and modular solutions.
- Rules and policies for staff and members.
- What to do if someone in the space tests positive for COVID-19.
Recommendations for the Kitchen
- If necessary, consider a new layout for the kitchen and dining area that allow for physical distancing.
- Consider setting up shifts to reduce the number of people in the kitchen and dining area at any particular time.
- Discourage the shared use of plates, mugs, glasses, cups, and cutlery. In some cases, disposable utensils might be necessary.
- If your space sells food, consider implementing touchless transactions for payment (e.g. scanning a barcode, PayPal, Apple or Samsung Pay, etc.).
- If the use of face masks within the space is compulsory, people should keep their masks on up until they will begin eating. Then they should promptly put them back on when they’re finished.
- If you provide free food, provide items that are pre-packed in individual portions.
- Clean and disinfect each table and chair after each use.
Recommendations for the Workspace
- Ensure that there is easy access to alcohol-based hand sanitizer in entrance points and highly trafficked areas.
- Reduce the number of people allowed in certain areas (meeting rooms, brainstorming meeting areas, event space, etc.).
- Visual communication: put up posters with the allowed number of people in each area, posters with clear instructions on the proper technique for hand washing, floor markings to make it easier for people to physically distance, etc.
- Consider limiting the number of visitors per member.
- Avoid planning and hosting events in your coworking space for the time being.
Recommendations for Meeting Rooms
- Leave at least a 10 minute gap between meeting room usage so that the cleaning crew can properly clean and disinfect the space.
- Encourage outdoor meetings among members.
- Reduce the capacity for meeting rooms. If available, book larger meeting areas even for smaller meetings.
- Make meeting room bookings mandatory.
These are only some of the various recommendations that coworking and flexible workspace operators should follow if they wish to achieve the Safe Guard Certification.
Flexible workspace operators in Latin America interested in receiving the certification can visit the following link: https://www.colatam.com/certificacion/.