As hard as we try, adjusting to a completely new way of living and working is challenging. As social beings, we find ourselves naturally gravitating towards one another – at work, and even more so in a shared working space! Conversations in the kitchen, at the local coffee shop or around the printer; the actions that used to simply be a part of a normal day, for the safety of ourselves and those around us, we must now keep to a minimum.

But how do we achieve this?

The premise of a coworking space is that of socialisation and interaction, so it is hard to imagine a space without it. But the social aspect of work is not being erased – in fact, it could not be more important to keep up communication with your members during this time. Having spent a great deal of time away from the office, many of your members are likely to feel disconnected, so providing resources and putting in extra effort to maintain the relationship should be prioritised.

However, there are no two ways around it – this relationship must be maintained at a physical distance, between you and your members, and amongst themselves. How can we enforce this, especially when there are rooms and resources that members use on a daily basis?

Contactless technology is a great way to reduce the amount of germ-prone touchpoints in your space, and ultimately reduce the likelihood of the infection spreading from member to member. Tech companies have been ahead of the curve in developing contactless technologies that allow users to use their mobile devices to tap-in and tap-out of rooms and offices. As well as providing a seamless experience for your guests, contactless printing, purchases and access are all great ways to maintain the safety of your members and halt the spread of bacteria. When used in conjunction with digital tally counters, centre managers will be in a great position to know exactly how many people are in the space at any time and ensure that these numbers are kept below capacity.

Designated seating has been seen to work in restaurants and bars in maintaining the government-advised 2m distance, and coworking spaces would do well to adopt such a technique. Given the context of the pandemic, if you were to walk into a public space, you would be likely to keep a distance away from others, where possible. Booking areas in a coworking space should be no different, except this is done in advance. Companies like Nexudus have developed intelligent floor plans systems, on which members can book desks through their software’s members’ portal. Presenting a space from above in a straight-forward, intelligible format will not only be beneficial to your users in visualising the desks and facilities available, users will be able to book these resources at a safe distance from others, just as they would in real-time. In this way, your space will remain in compliance with physical distancing measures, and ensure that operations are not disrupted.

The pandemic was entirely unexpected, and many of us are still getting to grips with how much has changed since the beginning of the year. But if there’s one thing that the coworking community is known for, it’s flexibility. In revolutionising the way that people work, shared workspaces have always been able to find ways to be innovative and work around various circumstances.

Coworking is versatile, powerful and well-equipped to deal with tough situations – even as tough as this one!

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.