RALEIGH — As coronavirus fears spread, co-working spaces across North Carolina are taking extra steps to protect workers in offices that are often open-planned and high density.
Startups, emerging companies and others can now select from 20 or more providers across the Triangle. Charlotte also boasts a similar offering.
Here’s a sampling of the precautions some local spaces are taking at this time:
American Underground (AU)
The Durham-based co-working space, which is owned by WRAL TechWire’s parent company Capitol Broadcasting, is suspending all events indefinitely and moving those to virtual gatherings via Google Hangouts, requesting no guests come to AU for meetings or tours by our members, switching to paper coffee cups from our reusable mugs. As of March 9, they’ve also installed additional hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas throughout the AU.”
“The American Underground is particularly well suited to support our ecosystem during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020,” added Adam Klein, AU’s director of strategy,” because of prescient moves we made in 2019. Last year, we fully embraced a digital membership and enhanced online programs and services for all members. Our online channels (Google Hangouts, Slack, community listserves) are extremely active. So while our physical space is important, it is far from the be-all/end-all of the AU experience. Startups prize networks and connection, and the AU delivers on those things — even if a global pandemic means all of it temporarily moves online. Of course, we hope that doesn’t happen.”
WeWork, with offices in Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh, has implemented an optional “work from home” policy for global employees and has moved to reduced staffing posture in our locations until further notice. This is in addition to WeWork’s mandatory 14-day “work from home” policy for all employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms, such as respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, as well as those who travel back from high-risk regions. The list of high-risk regions is informed by guidance from the CDC and continues to expand. All non-essential domestic and international business travel is also restricted for WeWork employees until further notice. WeWork’s travel restrictions are updated regularly and subject to change as we continue to evaluate travel risks worldwide.
It has suspended all internal and member events until further notice. Community teams will work with our vendors and members to reschedule planned events for a later date.
Across all WeWork buildings, they are taking at minimum the following steps: increased frequency and scope of daytime cleaning and sanitization of high touch points (door handles, elevator buttons, counter tops, other common areas); distribution of hand sanitizer dispensers;
distribution of wipes to Community to offer to members to wipe down their internal services, including phone booths.
“We are asking all of our WeWork members and landlords to notify us immediately if they become aware of any individual in the building who may have been exposed to, or is confirmed positive for, coronavirus,” the company said in a statement. “This will help to protect the safety of our broader communities and ensure appropriate actions are taken swiftly.”
The Raleigh-based co-working space, with four locations across the Triangle, are postponing events or making them virtual. They are also improving cleaning measures on high-touch areas. Staff is requesting phone meetings, and offering virtual tours of their spaces. They are also asking HQ staff and members to work from home if they show any flu like symptoms
“We are leaving the decision to work out of HQ facilities in the hands of our members and their teams, but encouraging them to work from home if possible,” HQ Raleigh’s community manager Lauren Romer said. “For example, Jes Lipson, founder of Levitate, has made it mandatory that all Levitate employees work from home for the next 30 days. Additionally, we will be in continuous communication with our members as circumstances change.
The Durham-based co-working space is suspending public access to the space for people who are not Provident1898 members or who are not guests of members. Members can have up to 5 guests at a time. Guests must be let into the space by their member and check in at the front desk.
Passport membership amenities are also currently suspended. They are encouraging any passport members to visit their co-working home base during this time.
All large group meetings and events with 10 or more people are canceled until further notice. Additionally, we’ve already implemented protocols to help maintain the health of our members, including: using a disinfectant to kill COVID-19 throughout the building; adding wipes and cleaning solution in the conference rooms for members to clean surfaces before and after use; placing reminder signs throughout the space on proper health protocols for staying safe as outlined by the CDC.
“Our commitment is to our members, both their health and their ability to run their businesses,” the company said in a statement. “We’re doing our part and we appreciate your understanding of these changes during this period of hypervigilance.”
The Raleigh-based space, with three offices across the Triangle and two others pending, is keeping its doors open for now, but is actively monitoring the situation. It is asking workers to stay at home if they are feeling sick or have a sick family member in your home. It is also asking all individuals to wash their hands upon entering all Loading Dock locations and have CDC guidelines posted throughout each location.
In addition, it is postponing its launch party, originally scheduled for March 26, of its new Boylan Avenue location until further notice.