Back in 2016 when we got into the coworking business, we began with the intention of providing a safe space where individuals/businesses could thrive or fail yet carry on in the pursuit of what matters to them. We never wanted to provide just a space with pretty furniture, we were looking to build a community of like-minded people who could thrive in the safe environment our space provided. Cut to the year 2020, the definition of a ‘SAFE’ space has extended to providing a space, where despite the pandemic that we are facing, one could come in and work without worrying about hygiene and safety.
After 58 days of remaining shut, we have finally opened the doors of our spaces again fully prepared to put in all the safety measures in spaces to provide the city a safe and hygienic space for its people to work from. The flexible design of our workspace has enabled us to practice social distancing very easily. We have reduced the number of seats we are providing in our open workspace. We have also limited the usage of our conference room for a maximum of four people at a time (instead of 10) and converted our event space into a meeting room that can be used by 15 people at a time with social distancing in place.
Other than regularly sanitizing our space and screening everyone who arrives at the space for temperature with an infrared thermometer, we have marked all high touch surfaces with black tape for everyone in the space to know, it is mandatory to sanitize their hands after touching those surfaces, either with sanitizers available at the space or their personal sanitizers.
Before the lockdown, we used to run a 'trust shop' in our pantry, where people would pick up eatables and drop money in a jar of their own accord. We are replacing the eatables with Face masks, Gloves and Sanitizer refills on our pantry platform and running a 'trust shop' for ‘Pandemic Essentials’, for anyone who forgets to carry their own or runs out or has to run for a meeting they didn’t plan and are low on supplies. We are also maintaining a register to keep track of people entering the space daily.
We were a thriving community before COVID-19, but things have changed post the lockdown, it feels like starting from scratch again, but we are prepared and on our way forward to rebuild our community. The whole industry is facing the same conundrum of how to thrive in these times where the demand has reduced drastically for a workspace in the past 2-3 months and it will continue to be the same in the coming few months. At a time when economies are facing total collapse, the recovery for the coworking spaces operating will not be quick, since many of the clients lost will never return.
Having said that, there is still hope for the coworking industry, many believe that the coworking industry will not only emerge stronger but also more necessary than ever. Post COVID-19 lockdown life, the corporates will be forced to accelerate the adoption of remote work. Large corporates will look to de-densify their offices and when they do so, coworking spaces will play a huge role in hosting the relocated remote workers. Many people in India are now becoming comfortable with remote work after being forced to work from home during the two months-long lockdowns. But this doesn’t mean all these remote workers will work from home forever. Post the lockdown, everyone will be eager to get out of their houses, and most will be eager to work from somewhere else even if they can’t return to their corporate headquarters.
Working in this new world will look very different, people will want options for workspaces that are closer to home or just home, safer, and affordable. But people will also yearn for something that feels like, it’s been taken away from them - human connection. The lockdown has forced people to confine their lives in the four walls of their house, which has left people more isolated and more depressed than ever. We started SPACEPLEXX with the idea of Belonging and Connections. This pandemic has made it all the more important to have a workspace that makes you feel you belong and helps you form the connections that are important for your work to flourish and that cannot be felt or achieved in a room at your own house. Communities will play a very important part of recovery and rebound. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and workers will need social networks and local connections more than ever, and coworking spaces by its nature will provide the environment which will foster new connections, networks and help people grow by supporting each other.
The future post the pandemic includes more digital work and smaller headquarters in Tier II -III cities, and when that does happen, we are fully equipped and ready to provide the people of Surat with a hygienic and distraction-free workspace, where they can BELONG!
We received this wonderful COVID-19 Workplace safety posters & Signages kit personalized for us by our friend from Studio Kite. You can order one for yourself here: https://studiokite.stores.instamojo.com/