Deadly coronavirus badly hits economy
Co-working sector is taking a hit to make sure that the employees remain safe
New Delhi: After the sudden growth in the number of cases affected by Coronavirus in India, co-working players are taking steps to contain the spread at least through their workspaces. The segment is hit by the sudden spread and the industry is looking at the measures to tackle it. From ensuring supply of juices rich in Vitamin C to supply of disinfectants and giving work from home facilities, the co-working sector is taking a hit to make sure that the employees remain safe.
Talking about the preventive measures in the organization to keep them safe, Sparsh Khandelwal, founder, Stylework, "We getting Office Sanitized and not charging any cost from the clients. We are also advising people to follow a healthy lifestyle, not to indulge in going to crowded places, & to maintain hygiene and sanitation. As a precautionary measure, we have also increased the availability of sanitisers, masks for our employees. We are also getting a professional team on board to get all employees free tests for Coronavirus at our workspace."
More than 1.18 Mn people work in around 35,000 co-working spaces globally. According to reports, India alone had approximately 1000 co-working locations as of September 2019. Currently, India is also the second-largest market for the co-working industry after China. Coronavirus has not just economically stabbed global trade, tourism and billions in stock markets, but also has Co-working Industry as an unlikely victim. "Currently, 10% of office spaces are occupied by co-working and are expected to rise to approximately 25% in the next few years. As per a report by real estate consultancy firm CBRE, in Q1 2019, the co-working segment witnessed a 277% an upsurge in leasing to nearly 3 Mn sq ft. The sector grew by 70% every quarter," says Abhay Chawla, Founding Partner, India Accelerator.
“While corporates are also moving into co-working spaces, occupancy is dominated by start-ups. Co-working spaces feel an additional responsibility to ensure safe and hygienic work environment as many start-ups may not have the resources to do this themselves. Working for home is not an option in the long run. India Accelerators has advised its members to follow government advisory on travelling to high-risk countries besides taking measures to maintain the hygiene. The company has taken measures like advising sick individuals to rest at home, tie-up with hospitals, making sanitisers etc available across the office and more. The company reportedly believes that the drop in clients is due to the Virus and people are avoiding sharing office space in the fear of getting infected," adds Chawla.
Coronavirus has badly impacted the co-working industry and clients are cancelling their outstation office trips which are hampering the work. "The scheduled visits of the clients at our co-working offices have been postponed as they are avoiding travel due to Coronavirus outbreak. Few of our clients have cancelled their outstation meetings and have now started audio/video conferencing for virtual meetings," says Nakul Mathur, MD, Avanta India.
"We are sanitizing the frequently touched points such as coffee machines, taps, door handles, drawer handles. We are also keeping our community members and employees informed of all the prevention measures suggested by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare via emails, posters and banners across all the common areas of our centres," adds Mathur.
Other costs that co-working spaces are bearing include "We are ensuring a regular supply of juices rich in Vitamin C to ensure the health of the employee is taken care of from the organizations end. Not only this we have taken care of the fact that a lot of employees come from far away, and have to use public modes of transport, hence we are ensuring to give Work From Home facility to ensure that their health is taken care of," adds Khandelwal.
With Coronavirus taking people down in the country, co-working aggregators are ensuring to bring out the flexible options to both companies and employees to ensure that the workflow is maintained and supported by the co-working industry.
"Our Multi-Location Pass is helpful for employee and company who are healthy but want to avoid the crowded spaces due to risk factor. Companies can avail our Multi-Location Pass to ensure employees can work near their area. Since our co-workings are spread across Delhi NCR and are fully equipped with facilities and amenities to let them work. Then we have Day Pass facility which is a great relief for companies that want their employees to work from home to ensure the work is not hampered," says Khandelwal.