How TFN is Designing a Post-COVID 19 Workspace for the Future!
While we are in the midst of a pandemic and an economic shut down we have decided to take this time and focus on designing our space for a post COVID-19 future! It has been difficult to stay positive in these times so we at The Fountainhead Network have decided to focus on when we are back in business!
It’s heartbreaking to witness so many (non essential?) businesses closing their doors, especially now that we know the efforts these business owners went through to build themselves up. By no fault of their own they are losing everything. It’s devastating to many friends and family and other coworking businesses that have helped and inspired us along the way. With no light at the end of the tunnel it’s extremely difficult to stay positive.
Word on the street is that things will never return to ‘normal’ and that social gatherings are a thing of the past. Everyone will work from home. But isn’t it true that co working emerged out of an environment where entrepreneurship was growing and more people were working from home? It worked for a while until people realized that working from home gave them a sense of being isolated and disconnected. People who worked from home had a hard time separating domestic tasks from work and there were too many distractions. Having clients visit your home can make you feel insecure and unprofessional. These things will still be true in a post COVID-19 future! In fact we think after being cooped up under a stay at home order (for who knows how long), that entrepreneurs will need us more than ever! So this is why we decided to stick it out and do our best to be there for you on the other side!
It just so happened that we were in the midst of designing our space when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. We were in ‘wait and see’ mode for a couple of weeks before we realized we would not be having our soft opening on April 1st and that any potential members in this environment would be few to none. The Canadian Government is announcing all of these stimulus proposals, loans and bailouts, many businesses are taking these loans to try and weather the storm. We cannot accept these loans from the state even in these times these are not an option for The Fountainhead Network. So things looked pretty bleak for us.
Thankfully our landlord has let us know that he is willing to be 'flexible' with possibly deferring rent. This means that we could delay our opening and continue to build the space! The future is still very uncertain but this gives us a fighting chance! We are very grateful that our landlords were quick to respond to the crisis because if they would have left us hanging (as many other commercial landlords are doing) we might have decided to pack it in.
So now we are left with the task of designing a coworking and studio space for a post COVID -9 future. Now I have a chance to let my germaphobia shine! In the past us germaphobes were frowned upon, but you’re living in our world now!
Here are some of the measures we will take to make our space COVID-19 free:
Hot Desks are 55” apart, with workstation dividers, the number of hotdesks are reduced to accommodate more space between workstations.
Lounge areas will be populated with more arm chairs, ottomans, rather than couches, love seats or booths.
We will utilize more dividers between dedicated desks and common areas.
Reduced capacity for events and workshops by ¼. (Hopefully temporary)
Disinfecting surfaces of all workstations, meeting rooms, phone booths, tables, Keyboards, mics, consoles, equipment, arms of hotdesk chairs, tablets and debit terminals after every use.
Disinfecting and cleaning of common areas such as the kitchen, lounge, bathrooms, door knobs, twice per day.
Hand sanitizer station will be added to Westwood study near the entrance to the outside
Hand sanitizer station will be added to the reception area
Handshakes and hugs are discouraged with guests, members and staff.
Members, guests and staff that exhibit signs of illness will be asked to leave until they recover.
Members, guests and staff with close contact family members that are ill are asked not to visit the space until all family members have recovered.
Members, guests and staff who have been in the space before becoming ill are strongly encouraged to share this information with our staff so we can notify other members and take proper precautions.
We want our members, their clients and guests to feel safe when visiting our space. We are open to any other suggestions from our network on how we can get back to business while keeping peace of mind.
In the meantime we are still accepting early bird memberships, but our schedule for accommodating members is altered and uncertain as many of our suppliers and contractors have been effected by shipping delays and this has forced us to push dates back, specifically for installing power and data to the hotdesks and dedicated desks as well as the meeting rooms and editing stations. Right now we have just wifi and no direct power to the hotdesks. Some good news though, I have checked in with our kitchen installers and everything is on schedule! Our appliances arrived a couple of weeks ago and all we have to do is get the cabinets and island installed and that part is over! We have really been looking forward to this part, our Kitchen and lounge area is one we really worked hard on putting together.
We are in the process of scheduling installation of our access systems and once this is done we can accommodate 24/7 members. These hours also accommodate members who want to reduce risk by coming at less busy times as well as help us increase the number of members we can accommodate. I think social distancing in a post COVID-19 future will increase demand for ‘after’ hour memberships. It might create a new ‘moonlighting’ culture where business hours will be different for everyone.
Initially we will only be accepting memberships for hotdesks and dedicated desks. Once the studio is completed, we will offer media hours and add-ons. We cannot accommodate workshops or events at this time but we’re still up for helping you plan or tentatively book them into the future! Until then take advantage of our free virtual membership and stay connected, and get updates on our progress https://www.thefountainheadnetwork.com/virtual-members .