For some employees who will continue to telecommute, and small business owners who prefer to work outside the home, coworking spaces have proven to be a flexible option during the coronavirus pandemic.
That said, here are a few safety guidelines, regardless of exposure risks, to help you prepare to work within a coworking space while observing COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
Aim to sit six feet apart from the next workstation. If there are multiple workstations within close proximity, remove the chair to the workstation to discourage use of the unoccupied space.
Be sure to wipe down the desk, chair, and other peripherals at the workstation. While your coworking space manager will be diligent to keep the workstation areas clean, it’s best practice to ensure that on your own prior to and after use.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, especially if you touch copiers, fax machines, phones, or other peripherals around the coworking space.
Be sure to keep hand sanitizer at your workstation and be mindful to not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if you suspect your hands may not be clean. If you feel it necessary, wear a mask at your workstation and if you need to cough or sneeze, excuse, or cover, choosing to cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
Interacting within the Coworking Space
One of the many benefits of coworking spaces is the ability to network and connect with other business professionals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many small business owners lost much of that face-to-face networking they had once enjoyed. Now with the ability to return to coworking spaces, networking can start fresh, but observe the following as you connect around the coworking office:
- Keep one-on-one interaction limited to a few minutes at a time. Be sure to observe proper social distancing. If possible, both people should wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose for maximum protection.
- Avoid physical contact such as shaking hands, fist bumping, or other greeting that joins exposed skin.
- Be sure to meet in open areas where people don’t congregate, like kitchens, or need access to the space you’re in, like lounges or office supply areas.
Conference Room Use
Aim to keep conference room use to a minimum. You’ll most likely find what that safety number posted on the door or outside of it. Fewer people in conference rooms reduce the risk of spreading germs. If possible, reserve the conference room and use the space for a single-use teleconference.
Using shared food service areas like kitchens are best avoided unless products available are prepackaged. It is safest, however, to bring your own food, beverages, and snacks from home or a cafe for consumption at your workspace.
While everyone craves a return to normal working conditions, practicing safety during COVID-19 conditions will get us there sooner. If you have questions about the sanitary standards of your coworking space, ask your Community Manager. Together, everyone can work safely while making great connections and enjoying the workspace.