Friday, July 3, 2020

Shared office spaces cautiously reopen

Many of the UK’s network of 5,000 shared office spaces are tentatively re-opening this month as more businesses return to the workplace as the lockdown eases.

Serviced office managers across the country have been working to reopen their facilities and taking measures to protect clients and help them get back to business.

“I’ve never seen an industry pull together like this in face of such aversity – the office space sector has really pulled the stops out to get workspaces reopened for business – albeit slowly and carefully,” said Jonathan Ratcliffe from serviced office provider Offices.co.uk.

Reopening a shared office space might be one of the most difficult like many public spaces with high footfall.

Centres with large open plan shared co-working desks face the biggest challenge – the Government is actively discouraging this type of workspace for now.

Centres which are formed from mainly private office suites are obviously an easier option and with only 30% of staff thought to be returning to work over the next few months, keeping distance is much easier when offices are closed off from each other.

Locking down communal spaces within an office building restricts the chance of contamination.

With the Government issuing advice to wear face protection on public transport, it is thought that this clear message will help employees feel confident in the transition back to working in a city centre office environment.

“Staff across the UK from large City skyscrapers to small regional offices have worked extremely hard to provide protection for staff and clients alike ahead of their reopening schedule,” said Mr Ratcliffe.

“As an industry we are all hoping that by taking baby-steps we can welcome everyone back to the office safely and inspire confidence for the rest of 2020.”

The two stages of shared office reopening:

Stage 1 – June

  • Building access restricted for tenants only
  • One-way systems for tenants accessing and leaving buildings
  • Closing of shared facilities such as kitchens, breakout spaces and sitting areas
  • Closing of meeting rooms, or restrictions for internal use with cleaning between
  • Restricted reception services
  • Cleaning stepped up including daily deep cleans
  • Installation of sanitisers, protective screens, floor markings, disinfectant shoe mats

Stage 2 – July

  • Access to be open to include visitors, some restrictions may apply
  • External visitors to be allowed access to meeting rooms
  • Reception services resume
  • Café areas to open based on Government guidelines

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