Preparing Flexible Workspace for a COVID-19 World

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Preparing Flexible Workspace For a COVID-19 World

Findings from a Survey of 30 Flexible Workspace and Business Center Partners in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area June 2020

Survey Participants First and foremost, we would like to thank all of our flexible workspace and business center partners who took the time to participate in our survey. From our conversations with you, we recognize how challenging the past four months have been. We deeply appreciate your willingness to share your insights and plans with us as we all move toward the reopening the of economy here in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

Methodology and Situational Overview The All Good Work Foundation engaged in one-on-one phone surveys with 30 flexible workspace owners, operators, and community managers in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area from May 13 to June 12, 2020. The 25-question survey tool that we developed typically resulted in conversations that ranged from 30-60 minutes in length. Through these direct interviews; supplementary documentation shared with us by the interviewees; additional conversations with staff members; information shared on some of their public facing websites; and a few webinars; we have aggregated their responses and are presenting their COVID-19 preparations, policies and practices to you in this report. These operators represent six different counties: Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Cruz, all responding to slightly different timing and approaches to relaxing shelter in place requirements and reopening plans. As the situation continues to be fluid, and a few of the operators manage locations across multiple counties, they are required to be particularly nimble in response to local guidance. As noted above – this information reflects a snapshot in time. As new guidance from the State, the Counties or the CDC develops, there may be updates to their policies or practices. For example – as we are preparing this report the state of California declared: People will be required to wear masks or other coverings in public spaces, including while taking public transportation, seeking medical care, shopping and in most work scenarios. We applaud our partners and their extraordinary efforts to address these evolving guidelines while they provide their members with safe, healthy, welcoming, and productive flexible workspace as the economy and their members return.

Summary The 30 interviews we completed with our flexible workspace and business center partners represent 42 locations throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, as a number of partners manage multiple locations. We did not engage in separate interviews with each location as the individuals we spoke with noted that their organizations would implement their policies and procedures consistently across all sites. We hope that the information we have aggregated will help our partners benefit from each others’ practices and support the flexible workspace industry in general to meet the needs of their members as they return to their workspaces. During this crisis it has become clear that office workers, whether they are individual entrepreneurs or employees of larger entities, may be eager to get out of their homes. However, they may still be cautious about returning to the workplace after months of sheltering in place and working in the controlled environment that they created for themselves. Providing an environment that is just as safe and productive as their home, or perhaps even more so, will reduce those anxieties. Enabling flexible workspace members to focus on getting back to work, reconnecting with their professional networks and community, and continuing to innovate and grow their organizations is paramount.

Survey Topics The goal of this survey is to provide a comprehensive overview of the steps that our partners are taking to manage their flexible workspaces effectively in light of the crisis. Our survey tool captured a combination of quantitative and qualitative information on the following topics: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Workspace operating status. Staffing and their roles in the flexible workspace. Health, safety, cleaning and sanitization. Reconfiguration and dedensification. Air-circulation and filtration. Events, conference / meeting rooms and phone booths. Guest policies and practices. Kitchen, beverage and food practices. Communication with members.

Workspace Operating Status As we engaged in our survey, we learned that many of our partners are considered “essential businesses� as they receive and distribute mail to their clients, so they have been open and staffed for limited hours in most cases and full time in some cases, based on the number of mail clients they serve. 95% of the 42 locations surveyed have been open to their members in some capacity during the COVID-19 crisis. Member access to the workspace was halted in only 2 locations, and only 5 of the 40 accessible locations were not staffed at all. Several operators reported that their membership included a few essential businesses, so they were required to provide those businesses with access to their workspace as well. Our survey also revealed that shelter in place orders throughout the Bay Area resulted in less member usage of our partners’ workspaces in all six counties.

Staffing and Additional Roles in the Workplace Flexible workspace owners, operators and staff are on the frontline during the crisis – supporting their members and ensuring that their workplace provides a positive experience in these challenging times. Our survey results confirm that staffing remains stable among the partners in our program. The vast majority confirmed that once the shelter in place guidelines are relaxed – their staff will go back to working regular hours. 86% of the 42 locations surveyed confirmed that their staffing remains the same, 5% reported increasing their staff, 5% reported decreasing their staff, and 5% were TBD. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the guidance provided by the CDC in regard to reopening businesses, it has become clear that flexible workspace staff will need to take on additional responsibilities to maintain a safe and healthy work environment due to the COVID-19 crisis. 95% of our survey participants confirmed that their teams will be taking on additional roles in terms of monitoring and sanitizing their facilities throughout the workday.

Health, Safety, Cleaning and Sanitization The majority of the owners, operators and community managers interviewed confirmed that they are monitoring and cleaning high touch areas such as desks, conference rooms, door knobs/handles, printers and kitchens areas. 88% of the 42 locations surveyed have invested in enhanced janitorial service. 12% rely on the buildings they are in to provide appropriate janitorial services to meet their increased needs.

Across the board our workspace partners are: • Installing sanitizing stations throughout the workspace. • Providing hand sanitizer, wipes and disinfectant to members. • Keeping a full supply of sanitizing products on hand. • Wiping down and disinfecting high-touch or high traffic areas regularly. • Posting signage that refers to CDC Health Guidelines which include: • Maintaining 6 feet of social distance. • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. • Using hand sanitizer. • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. • Wearing a mask. • Disinfecting hard surfaces. • Staying home if you are sick.

Health, Safety, Cleaning and Sanitization (continued) Additional best practices shared during the survey: • Adding more touchless features (lights, dispensers, sinks, doors, toilets). • Obtaining nanoseptic sleeves and UV-C light filters. • Placing decals or colored tape on the floor to support social distancing. • Replacing open trash receptacles with closed-lid receptacles. • Using a checklist to ensure that all surfaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected. • Placing deliveries in a designated area and thoroughly sanitizing them prior to distribution. • Training staff and referring regularly to CDC Guidelines for cleaning office space.

Note: Leaving responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing workspace to members may create a business risk. Guidance from the CDC and County Health Departments encourages businesses to take responsibility for ensuring that their workspaces are safe and healthy for all.

Health and Safety for Members and Staff The operators in our program vary somewhat in their approach to member check-in. Some may require online health attestations before they arrive. Some ask their members to complete a short health survey at the entrance or reception area. This process may include: • Completing a brief health assessment/survey re: COVID-19 symptoms and any recent contact they may have had with someone who is ill • Having their temperature taken using a touchless thermometer and sanitize their hands • “Checking in” when they arrive, and “checking out” when they leave Some locations have empowered their staff to deny entry to a member if he or she is ill. All staff and members are required to wear a mask in common areas • Some counties require masks even in private offices • Some operators are providing masks to members – but most do not

Reconfiguration and Dedensification All of the flexible workspace and business center owners, operators and community managers we interviewed confirmed that they have reconfigured and/or dedensified their workspace to ensure that their members are at least 6 feet apart in their workspace.

Following are examples of steps that have been taken to date: • Removed as much as 50% of desks and chairs to dedensify workspace and create appropriate social distance . • Reduced the number of hot desks and spread out dedicated desks. • Removed or marked off seats at long desks or worktables to support social distancing / checkerboarding the seats. • Replaced long wooden desks with individual desks that are six feet apart. • Reconfigured or removed lounge/couch seating. • Replaced casual/lounge seating, conference rooms, or large-scale event space with individual desks that are six feet apart.

• Added sneeze guards, glass, plexiglass, whiteboards or other non-porous barriers at reception desks, hot desks and dedicated desks to protect staff and members. • Reduced the number of desks in a private office from four to three. • Turned hot desks into dedicated desks. • Require flex members to reserve specific seats, desks or tables in advance for the day. • Impose limits on the number of people allowed to sit in a lounge or common areas. • Added arrows and directional signage to their workspace to reduce cross-traffic.

Ventilation, Air Circulation and Filtration It is recognized that proper ventilation and airflow can play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus in the air. Following are examples of some of our partners’ practices in response to this issue: • Windows are opened to bring in fresh air. • Ventilation systems are being optimized to deliver higher than average rates of fresh air without sacrificing tenant comfort. • Air filters meet ASHRAE guidance to minimize transmission through HVAC. • Hours of operation for HVAC systems are being extended to promote continued air circulation and purging of indoor air. • HVAC system has been upgraded with higher density filters (MERV-13). • HVAC system in the building does not use recycled air, a constant input of fresh air is being pumped through the system. • Airpura UV614 air purifier units installed throughout common areas with HEPA and UV filtration down to 0.3 microns, and with 6 exchanges of air per hour to enable 99.9%+ efficacy against aerosol viruses. 50% of the 42 locations in our survey are addressing ventilation, airflow and air filtration issues in their workspace directly. The other 50% rely on their building management to address ventilation and airflow.

Events, Conference and Meeting Rooms Meeting and conference room space -- a significant revenue generator for many business centers and flexible workspaces, has changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic. It is likely that it will be a while before large scale events resume. In the meantime, the operators we surveyed are all very focused on ensuring that their meeting space is well managed to meet the needs of their members. • Currently, no large-scale events are allowed to take place in any of the locations. However, a few locations will allow meetings of up to 10 people. • Most of the operators have significantly reduced the number of people allowed in a conference room to support social distancing of six feet per person. • They are accomplishing this by removing seats, taping off seats, or using smaller separate tables – typically reducing the number of individuals in their conference rooms by 30% to 50%.

Conference Rooms and Meeting Rooms Booking, Cleaning and Sanitizing Conference/Meeting Rooms • Most operators have an online system for members to reserve meeting space. • Some are requiring members to book conference rooms a few days in advance now. • Some are establishing protocols in their booking system that leave gap time in between conference room use to allow for cleaning and sanitization of the space. • Most are providing wipes and hand sanitizer either in the conference room or just outside the door for the meeting participants to use. • Many are asking meeting attendees to clean and sanitize the area when their meeting concludes. • Most operators or their staff are providing additional cleaning and sanitization of their conference rooms after each use. • Some conference rooms offer windows which may be opened to support air flow during meetings.

Conference Rooms, Meeting Rooms and Phone Booths Additional practices for conference rooms shared during the survey: • Placing signage or stickers on conference rooms or in their booking systems that specify the reduced number of individuals allowed in the room. • Hanging a sign on the conference room door handle that indicates whether the conference room is fully cleaned and sanitized or requires cleaning. • Providing Bluetooth access to the AV equipment in the conference room to support a touchless experience. • Making supplies, like markers for whiteboards, available upon request. • Creating conference room “packets” for meeting attendees. Phone Booths – Two-thirds of the operators in our survey have phone booths in their workspace. The operators that offer them are split 50-50 in their approach to keeping their phone booths open in light of the pandemic. • The half that have kept them open are providing sanitizer, wipes, and in one case, UV-C filters in the booth. They are encouraging members to sanitize the booth before and after they use it, and staff may sanitize the booth as well. Some booths are also equipped with air filtration systems. • The other half have chosen to shut down their phone booths until further notice.

Guest Policies and Practices As the CDC and County Health Departments do not impose specific rules about who may be allowed into office buildings or office space, our survey revealed that guest policies are quite varied among the operators. • Several have no change to their guest policy, allowing members to invite whoever they wish to a meeting. • Most that do allow guests require them to follow the same protocols as members, which may include completing a health assessment, having their temperature taken, sanitizing their hands, and wearing a mask in common areas. • Some are allowing guests – but placing an overall limit on the number of guests allowed into the space at one time for now. • Some are taking a phased approach – not allowing guests in their space for the first few weeks, enabling members to get settled in to their new routine before guests are allowed to visit. • Some are discouraging guests and recommending virtual meetings continue. • Some have no plan to allow guests into their location until the pandemic improves or regulations change – only members will be allowed in the space. No walk-ins will be allowed.

Guest Policies and Practices (continued) Following are some additional protocols established by operators who allow guests in their locations: • Requiring guests to be pre-registered by the member or meeting host before they arrive for a meeting. • Requiring guests to formally check-in at the front desk when they arrive. • Requiring members to meet their guests in the front lobby before the guest is allowed in, and then escorting the guest directly to a conference room or office. • Only allowing guests to meet in a reserved conference room or office – not in shared or common areas. • Limiting the number of guests an individual member may invite for a meeting to one or two people. • Allowing a guest to stay for the day if invited by a member – but will charge the individual for a day-pass. • Allowing tours of the space for no more than two people.

Kitchen, Beverages and Meals The operators we surveyed are both creative and cautious as they navigate how to address their kitchen spaces. Amenities that included shared food, shared beverage and shared community were the norm just a few months ago. That has changed significantly in most cases. Following are their varying approaches to managing their kitchens, offering beverages and snacks, and locations where members may eat. Most of the workspaces we surveyed are: • Monitoring and sanitizing kitchen surfaces throughout the day. • Providing sanitizing stations and soap in the kitchen areas for members. • Encouraging members to wash their hands with soap and use wipes to sanitize whatever they touch before they leave the kitchen area. • Allowing access to the refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers – just a few are not.

Kitchen Each operator is taking their own unique approach to managing their kitchen spaces. Following are examples of what they are doing: • Adding nanoseptic self-cleaning sleeves to handles and knobs in the kitchen including coffee pots, refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers. • Adding touchless features where ever possible, including trash cans. • Allowing members to continue using communal mugs, plates, glassware and silverware, and placing signage in the kitchen to ensure that everyone puts whatever they use directly into the dishwasher. • Ceasing to use mugs, ceramic plates or traditional silverware and shifting to disposable single-use cups, plates and individually wrapped disposable silverware. • Asking members to bring their own cups, food containers and silverware. • Placing markers on the floor of their kitchen to ensure social distancing. • Placing signs in the kitchen that limit the number of people allowed in the area at one time, or allowing only one person in the kitchen at a time. • Creating a u-shaped walking path through the kitchen with a clear entrance and exit to support social distancing.

Coffee, Beverages and Snacks • All locations continue to offer water to their members. • Most, but not all operators, continue to offer coffee and tea. • Some locations are continuing to use their Keurig and requesting that members wipe down the handle when they have finished using the machine. • In some cases, workspace staff will make all pots of coffee going forward. Members will no longer be allowed to brew pots of coffee. • One workspace has a barista who will produce café-style beverages in to-go cups, using all health and safety protocols required by any restaurant or café, while another has closed down its café until further notice.

• Some locations plan to wrap coffee pot handles in nanospectic sleeves and allow members to access the coffee themselves. • One location has decommissioned its Keurig coffee maker and is providing individual bottles of coffee to members in its refrigerator. • Some have stopped offering coffee at their location for the time being and invite members to bring in their own beverages. • One location added lower-touch coffee dispensers and replaced containers of snacks with individually wrapped snacks. • One operator is providing fruit at the reception desk. • Communal food in general is no longer provided in any location.

Meals Our survey also revealed a variety of approaches to addressing members who wish to eat a meal in their workspace. • Many of the operators we surveyed are encouraging members to eat at their desks or in their offices, and to throw out their own trash once they are finished eating. • Some workspaces are allowing people to eat in meeting rooms only. • A few locations allow only one or two people to eat in their kitchen or café area offering very limited seating that is 6 feet apart. • A few locations allow members to eat wherever they wish. • Some workspaces have halted any complex food prep on their kitchen counters. • Some are clearing out food from the refrigerator at the end of each week and some do not allow any food to remain in the refrigerator overnight.

Communicating With Members All of the partners we surveyed have engaged in regular communication with their members throughout the COVID-19 crisis to keep them up-to-date on changes they have been making to their workspace and to their policies and practices. • Most of the operators communicate with their members via email. • Some of the operators also use Slack, social media, or internal networks for members only. • Most of the operators have hosted virtual events during the crisis to keep their members engaged. Some acknowledged that interest in these events was high early in the crisis, but waned over time as Zoom meetings became ubiquitous. • Some operators share their COVID-19 preparations on their website, which enables existing and potential members to see the steps that they are taking to ensure that their space is addressing COVID-19 health and safety concerns. • One operator personally hosted a video tour of his workspace and shared all of the enhancements he has made to his space for anyone to watch on his website.

Conclusion Through the interviews we completed with our flexible workspace and business center partners, we have gained enormous insights into the countless hours of thoughtful research, planning, reconfiguration, and communication that they have engaged in to prepare their workspaces for a COVID-19 world. As every space has its own unique attributes, there are not many “cookie cutter� solutions that apply across all locations, so these businesses have developed approaches to their workspace that are visionary, nimble, and sustainable over the long-term. Based on the detailed information we have gathered in this report, it is clear that these operators have risen to the challenge.

Shared office operators have shown that as an industry they are able to return to business, and are committed to providing their members with workspaces that have integrated the critical social distancing requirements and safety measures necessary to support both the productivity and health of their members as they return to the workplace.

Links and Resources Santa Clara County Public Health Updated on June 5, 2020 • Guide to What’s Open • FAQ for Businesses • Appendix C-1: Additional Businesses

Contra Costa Health Services Updated on June 16, 2020 • Shelter in Place Order No. HO-COVID19-18 • Appendix C-1 – Additional Businesses • Contra Costa Openings at a Glance

San Mateo County Public Health Updated on June 16 and 17, 2020 • Reopening Plan • San Mateo County Health Order #c19-11

Santa Cruz Health Services • Reopening Guidance Documents

San Francisco Public Health Updated on June 11, 2020 • Shelter in Place Health Order C19-07e • Order No. C19-07e – Appendix C-1 Alameda County Public Health Updated on June 18, 2020 • Shelter in Place Health Order No. 20-14a • Order No. 20-14a – Appendix C

California Department of Public Health • COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Office Workspaces Centers for Disease Control and Prevention • Reopening Guidance for Cleaning Workplaces Additional Resources • ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) • Nanoseptic Self Cleaning Surfaces

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