Covid secure offices in London and beyond

June 3rd, 2020 BY DAVID GOULDEN

With the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic starting to ease (and lockdown beginning to loosen) more and more business owners are thinking about how to move back in to their offices safely in this so-called ‘new normal’

Working from home has become almost normal since the government enforced the lockdown in March, but people are now looking to get back to a more productive work environment enabling them to rejoin their colleagues and collaborate in offices and community based workspaces. After all, we are social creatures by nature. As such, the conversation returns to what is actually considered a safe and Covid 19 secure workspace as well as how one can find such a space.

Equally, property hosts and landlords, of shared or serviced office spaces, are trying to understand exactly how they can make their workspaces safe and Covid secure and showcase this effort to existing and future tenants.

This is a very unique and challenging time for both property hosts and tenants alike. Many businesses need to get back into physical workspaces, whilst adhering to social distancing or what could become described as professional distancing and this means ensuring that customers have the highest standards of hygiene available to them at all times.

Here at Ofixu we want to offer you additional support by providing you with all of the information you need to help you navigate your way through the challenges of attaining and maintaining safe workspaces.

How Ofixu is helping hosts and tenants?

Despite the challenges many businesses are currently faced with, we are continuing to help our hosts list their spaces and helping new clients with their search for Covid secure offices in London and beyond. We are dedicated to providing this support right across the 414 cities we serve and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

We understand that all industries are of course affected by the covid 19 pandemic and we all need to adapt to this new reality. We want to ensure that all of our new and existing hosts are providing safe and secure workspaces so we’re now issuing onboarding questionnaires to enable you to certify your space as being Covid Secure. This is to ensure that hosts are clear about the measures they need to adopt when promoting their space via the Ofixu platform. Once a host can demonstrate that they are compliant with the new safety framework, they will receive a Covid Secure badge from us which will be clearly displayed on certified property listings, this will make it much easier for renters to find Covid Secure spaces with added peace of mind.

If you are an existing host or you are considering listing your space on Ofixu.com then you can complete our CovidSecure questionnaire by clicking the following link here: please allow up to 7 days to receive the result of your Covid Secure questionnaire and badge to be displayed on your listing.

We have also summarised the UK government's framework of compliance for Covid 19. This easy-to-read guide is now available in 3 parts and covers workspaces, social distancing and workforce management, you can download the 3 part guide by clicking on the 3 images below.

One question you might have is …

How can a workspace be Covid secure?

Most of the guidelines that have recently been published by governments worldwide and the WHO are relatively new, but from what we understand so far, the following criteria are just some of the key factors that determine what it means to ensure workspaces are covid secure.

  • A workspace that puts a large emphasis on hygiene, ensuring that there are enough antibacterial stations available.
  • Allows workers to maintain professional and social distancing.
  • A space that is regularly deep cleaned, particularly in areas such as elevators, hand railings and common areas.

The guidelines set out are important for property hosts to adhere to as it will demonstrate that they are truly Covid compliant in keeping their workspaces clean and hygienic. But this is also crucial for tenants in terms of what they should be looking for when they are thinking about finding and renting a safe workspace. WeWork has recently released their plans for ensuring their workspaces are safe and secure, including modified seating across their common areas as well as visible place markers indicating the minimum 2m distancing measures.

Where can I find Government guidelines?

The Government has issued several links to covid 19 guidelines that we recommend our hosts and guests familiarise with, these can be found here.

Where can I find Covid19 signage for my workspace?

The government has released covid19 signage that can be displayed in workspaces and Ofixu has produced its own signage pack for your convenience, these can be printed and displayed around workspaces such as communal areas and other parts that are considered a risk. If you’re a host, it's important to display these signs in and around your workspace, and if you’re a tenant or guest you should expect to see plenty of clear signage wherever you decide to work.

Download Government Issued Signage here.

Download Ofixu Covid Secure Signage here.

What about wearing masks in a workspace?

One question we are sure both hosts and tenants have is does a Covid19 secure office mean that a mask needs to be worn at work? In short, there is no legal obligation to do this. Wearing a mask is strongly advised, in certain situations where social distancing can be hard, such as travelling on a train at peak hours or shopping in a busy supermarket.

Of course, a host is absolutely allowed to provide PPE such as masks or gloves if they choose to, and must support their workforce should they choose to wear face coverings. Equally a tenant is completely free to bring in their own PPE if it makes them feel safer.

How do risk assessments work now?

In order for an office to be seen as fully Covid secure and ready for use, a risk assessment must be carried out. And, whilst this ordinarily falls on the responsibility of an employer, we would advise that landlords, property owners and business managers do this too. In such a tense climate with many people feeling nervous about their work environment, a risk assessment demonstrates that a host is taking extra care when it comes to providing a Covid secure workspace.

Ofixu has recently partnered with Citation Plc the leading provider of health and safety compliance services to help coordinate the implementation of government required Covid risk assessments and other related frameworks of compliance, the partnership allows us to help our hosts even further by giving them a direct introduction to experts who are qualified to help them certify their space and offer ongoing support and assessment in line with government requirements. If you require risk assessments and compliance advice please email your name, company name, business address and contact number to citation@ofixu.com and we will organise for a Citation expert to contact you with further information.

From the perspective of the tenants, particularly business owners with small teams, they will feel much more comfortable knowing they are working in a fully assessed workspace.

For further information, take a look at the information being produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which will show you how a risk assessment can be done. For more information click here.

Even though things are starting to look a little more positive, we recognise that there is still a great deal of anxiety and work to do to ensure we’re all safe at work. At Ofixu.com we are taking every step possible to ensure that hosts provide their tenants safe and secure workspaces.

If you would like us to help you find a covid secure workspaces then please tell us your requirements by filling out our contact form below alternatively contact us on 020 7096 0071 or email info@ofixu.com:

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