Whether you are embarking on designing a new coworking space or revamping an existing one, your first priority should always be the health and safety of those who will utilize the space.
Successfully implementing health and safety protocols can be a daunting task when it comes tocoworking spaces due to the potentially high volume of transient workers.Here are 5 top tips for managing personal safety in coworking spaces.
Especially when dealing with multiple workers who come and go, it is essential to create an easy-to-understand set of safety rules and protocols and ensure that every new member of the space is fully informed.
As well as detailing all general health and safety measures to be understood and taken, this set of guidelines should also cover any space-specific rules for maximum safety.
For example, this could include identifying any potential hazards and how to deal with them, outlining all emergency exits and protocols clearly, where any safety equipment is stored and any other information pertinent to your particular workspace. Furnish each and every new coworking space user with a copy of the safety plan and get their confirmation that they have reviewed it.
Not all injuries related to the workplace happen in an instant. Many develop gradually over time - years in some cases - before any diagnosis. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a common form of these types of work-related injuries and include conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSD cases account for approximately one-third of all workplace-related injury or illness cases.
A great way to combat these risks is to deck your coworking space out with ergonomic office furniture and MSD-related accessories. Everything from ergonomically designed office chairs, to mouse pads with inbuilt wrist support can all go a long way in preventing such conditions. Height adjustable desks can make a big difference, too.
In addition, encourage your workers to move around regularly, and even further boost a culture of wellness by offering yoga sessions or other healthy lifestyle activities.
As simple as it sounds, a surprising number of workplace incidents occur as a result of disorganization in the workplace. It pays to prioritize and encourage a high standard of cleanliness and order in your coworking space.
Many incidents involve trips, slips and falls, so ensure that walkways remain clear and clutter-free, remove any rogue cables and wires, and keep drawers and other obstacles closed or cleared away.
It’s also just as important to keep your space as clean and hygienic as you can to ensure your workers’ optimal health. Hire a professional team to regularly clean the space, and provide soap, hand sanitizers and/or wipes to encourage a high standard of hygiene. Of course, the conditions of the pandemic have driven this concept home like nothing else, but even as we move away from the threat of Covid, it’s important to retain these covid-safety hygiene standards.
With so many people coming and going, a coworking space can fill with clutter all too easily. Clutter items such as boxes, bags, shoes and other objects - whether work-related or not - can become a hazard.
Although we have mentioned the importance of prioritizing a clean and tidy workspace above, decluttering deserves a special mention. When managing a coworking space, it’s one thing to notice a cable sticking out from under a desk, but a worker’s bag left poking out into a walkway can pose just as much of a trip hazard.
Not only does decluttering make for a safer environment for all, it also inspires a greater level of productivity, as external clutter does tend to clutter the mind, too! Keeping workspaces clear also promotes organization, leading to even more efficiency.
Many industries require health or medical professionals to be on-site to ensure optimal safety for workers, but even if your particular field doesn’t make it mandatory, it may be worth considering.
Having a health professional regularly present in your coworking space can be a wise choice when it comes to the safety of your members, particularly if they hold an ACLS certificate. Imagine the peace of mind knowing that one of your managers is accredited to perform first aid tasks as well as potentially life-saving procedures. It may not always be possible, but it’s well worth considering if you are able to introduce a health professional to your coworking space team.
There are many resources online to help you to ensure that you fully adhere to all mandatory safety standards, and these tips should assist you further in creating a solid safety plan for your coworking space.
Prioritizing safety, awareness, hygiene, and organization as a work culture will help you to cultivate a feeling of safety in your coworking space and encourage users to stay and/or return.