Aditya Mehta is CEO & Co- Founder of Akasa Coworking, an association that provides office spaces with topmost services and world-class hospitality. He contributes in developing high quality business strategies and plans, ensuring their alignment with short-term and long-term objectives. He examines problematic situations and occurrences and provide solutions to ensure company survival and growth. He is responsible for the overall working of the Company and is instrumental in making high quality strategic decisions to advance the business and increase profits.
With the hybrid working module becoming a new normal globally post pandemic, co-working spaces have become a prevalent practice, especially for the start-ups and the small and medium enterprises. The Indian workforce in the recent years has been rising significantly, driving the need for innovative and creative office spaces – many of which have been co-working spaces. In simple terms, the co-working spaces can be defined as an office space where employees of multiple organizations work in close proximity in a flexible and shared office environment. While the concepts of the shared workplaces were to cater to the small businesses like start-ups, freelancers, etc. It quickly expanded into becoming a profitable business for the landlords and operators.
While maintaining a healthy and safe workplace remains on the prior for any offices, it becomes more necessary for co-working spaces which attract large and diverse workforce, who are constantly changing and even bringing in additional people into the work space. However, the implementation of effective health and safety protocols at co-working spaces can be complicated and daunting, mostly because of the high volume of workers who are using the space as a transient office. Let’s explore some of the key aspects that can significantly help maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.
Since the co-working spaces involve multiple workers who keep coming and going, the general health and safety rules should essentially be simple and easy-to-understand to ensure that both the existing and the new members stay informed. The guidelines should also cover space-specific rules to ensure maximum safety.
Surveys have brought forward that one of the most common accidents at a workplace is falling and it will be wise to ensure that common areas where employees walk or stand are kept clean and contain no loose wire or misplaced items. Especially at the co-working spaces, which are temporarily used by a large number of people, cleanliness becomes an essential aspect.
Not just in the medical sector, but in all industries, the presence of an on-site health professional during the work hours is imperative for the safety of the workers. Though there is no legal mandate, having a medical expert at co-working spaces will cater to the basic medical needs if required, like first aid, reanimation, intubation, and other life-saving procedures.
Co-working spaces should be designed in a way to welcome diverse employees and there should be priority on certain measures like making entrances easily accessible with ramps, elevators, and automatic doors, providing special equipment like adjustable desks and accessible bathrooms; hereby encouraging a stress-free work environment. The advancement of technology has also made it more feasible to make co-working spaces more inclusive and accessible.
Studies have indicated that musculoskeletal disorders like back and arm pain are the most common complaints among employees. Ergo, to encourage a safe and healthy work culture, co-working spaces should be designed with ergonomic furniture like height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs. Other wellness activities like weekly yoga classes, frequent breaks, etc., can also make a workplace healthy and safe for employees in co-working spaces.