Belfast's Ormeau Baths details how co-working spaces can safely re-open

  • Co-working spaces will face additional challenges in re-opening during the Covid-19 crisis. Belfast's Ormeau Baths space has announced the safety measures it's taking to re-open safely.

    Businesses across the UK had to closer their doors back in March when the coronavirus outbreak struck, and for many that meant moving out of the office and into a remote working environment. Companies have since been modifying their offices in an effort to keep things safe when they re-open, taking measures such as keeping staff further apart and installing sanitation stations.

    Co-working spaces face a particularly difficult challenge in re-opening, as they have staff from dozens of different companies together in one communal office environment. Shared meeting rooms will be used by a number of different companies and visitors, increasing the number of people those working there will come into contact with throughout a typical day.

    Having recently re-opened to members, Belfast's Ormeau Baths tech co-working space has now released thorough details of its new safety measures, giving us a glimpse of what it will take for any co-working space to re-open in a post-Covid-19 world. The virus may be with us until a vaccine is found and widely distributed, so significant changes had to be made to keep people safe.

    The work areas have been redesigned to keep social distancing possible, with a number of hot desks removed and fewer seats in meeting rooms to help people maintain social distancing. The event space normally used only for tech industry events has been redesigned as an overflow workspace to help keep capacity high and account for events now being done remotely.

    Thermal cameras have been installed at both entrances, with a plan in place to test anyone recorded with an abnormal temperature. All kitchens and bathrooms also now use a green light system to show occupancy levels and limits have been placed on those rooms, and all members may wear colour-coded wristbands to indicate their comfort level with social interaction.

    General Manager Claire Dowds commented on the need for these changes: "Our risk assessment process has been rigorous and we have not rushed back. But because of the layout of our buildings, we’re confident we can provide a safe collaborative environment for members of our community who now want to work at Ormeau Baths again. Post-lockdown more businesses are seeking a flexible option that allows them to work from home some of the time, so we are confident there will be continued interest in what we offer."

    The owners have put together a team of medical professionals to regularly monitor government advice and make changes as the advice changes. Ormeau Baths has also announced that it's extending its offer to waive membership fees for startups from three months to four so that it covers July, giving businesses time to slowly transition back to using the space.

    Source: Written based on press release


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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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