COVID-19 has brought some inevitable, massive impact on the co-working industry, as many of these work-spaces have had to shut down or suffer losses. And now, shared desks and office space, which were common areas that required people to leave home, could permanently lose their attractiveness. Or, at least, demand won’t return to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. Now that people are becoming more cognitive of personal hygiene, they may want to shift away from densely shared office space, where people randomly sit at a different desk each day. Nevertheless, some people believe that even though co-working spaces will change, they would still survive because:
Remote Workers Have to Work Somewhere
Big companies of all kinds already locate some employees in co-working spaces. Therefore, with big business emerging as one of the post-crises “winners,” we will likely see this trend continue with more and more recoveries of co-working spaces. Moreover, after a couple of months of lock down and working at home, millions of people will be eager to work from somewhere else, anywhere else. It won’t work as a switch, of course. It is a smooth, transitional process.
Community is Key to Recovery
Just as important as economic impact is the community dimension—and that will be critically important for recovery and rebound. As we move into a future defined by some ever-present level of social distancing, community ties could wear out. Therefore, entrepreneurs, business owners, and workers will need social networks and local connections more than ever to regain the sense of community.
COVID-19 has taught people many lessons. Therefore, even after reopening the co-working locations, it's worth to stick to the common-sense rules that people already got used to. For example, Article 17 (1) of the Labor Protection Law imposes an obligation on the employee to take care of his safety and health and on the safety and health of persons who are or may be affected by the employee's work. Therefore, if it is not possible to work remotely, there are legislative recommendations that include common-sense safety principles, which can be observed in detail at the end of this article.
However, if there is both possibility and demand for workers in physical spaces, how might employers convince an employee who is afraid to go to work?
The employer could review the work environment risk assessment, paying attention to the biological work environment risk. The employer could provide instruction and training to the employees - to tell the employees about the COVID-19 virus, signs of the disease, preventive measures, to place information in more frequently accessible places. At the same time, the employer should provide workers with protective equipment and protective measures: disinfectants (alcohol content 60-95%), soap, easily emptied waste containers (without contact with the contents), regular cleaning or disinfection of surfaces, if necessary, protection fees, protective gloves, etc. funds). If the employer provides these protection measures, it should be explained to the employee that this reduces the employee's exposure to the risk of infection. At the same time, the employer also can organize work more flexibly - to review working hours and work schedules, to ensure the observance of a safe distance, etc. The employer should agree with the employee on the performance of the work. As an exception, situations where the employee belongs to a risk group, for example, he/she has a chronic illness, is elderly, etc., then the employee could be offered to perform other work not related to customer service (if there is such a possibility) or use other solutions provided for in regulatory enactments.
Recommendations of the Labor Protection Law on the health and safety principles in the working environment.
People should monitor and follow their state of health and not to go to work with signs of respiratory infection (cough, sore throat, fever). It is very important to observe hygiene requirements (wash hands, disinfect them, ventilate premises), using protective equipment, and observing the specified preventive measures. It is preferable to avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of an acute respiratory infection. Also, should the symptoms appear, immediately seek medical attention
Venture Faculty Co-working Space
Besides consulting ,fundraising, customer development and other services provided at Venture Faculty , our premises is also equipped with a spacious co-working space available for both our investees and partners, as well as anybody who is looking for a comfortable , fresh space that includes everything needed for inspiring and productive work environment . Nonetheless, our office is located in the very center of Riga, in the House of Fintech which is becoming the newest epicenter of business, startups and innovation of the city. This is a big benefit for making connections and a chance to integrate in the Latvian and Baltic business ecosystem.
Written by: Ksenija Aleksejeva