Even when the pandemic subsides and the working population goes back to offices, there is a heightened awareness about the possibility of another viral outbreak if people let their guards down.

Knight Frank Malaysia executive director for corporate services Teh Young Khean notes that although vaccination programmes are now being rolled-out around the world, it is likely that workplace safety will be a long-term consideration and obligation for business leaders, building owners as well as co-working operators.

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Co-working in socially-distanced world

Health, safety and wellbeing will remain top priority for occupiers. In responding to this demand, co-working operators have continued to upgrade the security, hygiene and cleanliness of their centres.

Other than the usual scanning system, temperature checks and social distancing measures, some have adopted additional health initiatives such as upgrading the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system for better indoor air quality.

More sanitisation corners are created with multipurpose wipes and other cleaning tools easily available at every corner especially at high-touch surfaces such as phone booths and photocopy areas. Face masks are also provided by operators for their members.

Paramount Corp Bhd deputy chief executive officer Benjamin Teo says to ensure safety at its Co-labs Coworking centres, disinfection is conducted three times a week using medically-approved solutions. High touch points are also sanitised regularly, and social distancing measures are put in place in meeting rooms, lounge areas and flexi desks.

JLL Property Services country head YY Lau highlights that social distancing may be a challenge if a co-working set-up is small. Hot-desking with strangers can be a concern, especially if people you are sitting with changes frequently.

Addressing this, Colony co-working space executive director Timothy Tiah, says, in Jerry, “We don’t have an open desk area. Every workstation, even a one-person workstation, is built into a private office.”

Like Air Asia, Jerry is the more affordable version of Colony. It is also built to be more “new normal-friendly” than the traditional versions, where space is smaller so the population of each centre is much smaller.

Jerry is also fully automated. You can book and go into your office without having to talk or come into close contact with anyone. All it takes to access the spaces is a simple pin code to your dedicated office and all the other details such as Wi-Fi and guides will be sent via email when a room is booked.

JLL’s Lau stresses co-working operators need to show tip-top hygiene and be on the vigil for any potential issues that could arise from infectious diseases.

“Everyone using the office or co-working space needs to comply with the standard operating procedures for hygiene and social distancing. Operators have to be vigilant to ensure these rules are followed with no exceptions given to anyone.”  

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my E-weekly on Sept 3, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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