The Work Project rolls out people-first plan for members returning to work

By
/ EdgeProp Singapore
|
September 4, 2020 6:00 AM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Maintaining a safe workspace amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is a priority for all workspace providers. In Singapore, co-working operators such as The Work Project have rolled out new measures that adhere to government guidelines for the workplace. The co-working operator has also been proactive in reaching out to its members in supporting their long-term business and future real estate needs.
In a statement to members on June 1 this year, Junny Lee, founder and CEO of The Work Project, noted that in the flexible workspace industry, the “knock-on effects of lockdowns all over the world and safe distancing measures have forced us to not only self-reflect, but also catalyse, unprecedented collaboration among stakeholders”. He adds that although much of the groundwork is set, “there is much more to come”.
PEO JUNNY LEE - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Lee: We have proactively engaged customers who are in need of downsizing their offices now, with the option of upsizing later once they recover. (Picture: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore)
In Singapore, The Work Project manages five upmarket co-working locations in OUE Downtown, Parkview Square, Capital Tower, Asia Square, and Great World City. A new centre is expected to open in the upcoming CapitaSpring next year. The company also operates a co-working centre in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.
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According to Lee, remote working is having different impact on their offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong, 70% of our members are utilising the office each day. Singapore’s office utilisation rate has been low since circuit breaker, as most office workers are still required by the Government to work from home,” he says.
Lee says that The Work Project still plays an important role in maintaining the physical and digital infrastructure of the workplace, which in many instances is now connected to home environments. “Many of our customers continue to use their office phone lines and data servers while working from home, the infrastructure of which is housed in our centres,” he says.

A people-first plan

On June 1, when the circuit breaker period in Singapore ended, The Work Project shared a “Return to the Workplace” guide with its members. It communicated several proactive steps it had rolled out to ensure members could safely go back to work.
The company has also trained all of its operational staff to handle various Covid-19 related scenarios, including a suspected or confirmed case, as well as how to wear and remove personal protective equipment. It also set aside necessary medical equipment and designated isolation rooms in all its locations.
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Hassell Studio TWP Asia Square - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Singapore’s office utilisation rate has been low since the circuit breaker, as most office workers are still required by the government to work from home. (Picture: The Work Project)
Strict safe distancing measures led the company to cut down capacity in common spaces, hot desk areas, and meeting rooms. This means removing and adjusting furniture and using markings to enable proper safe distancing.
Measures to prevent community spread of Covid-19 in workplaces and common areas have also impacted the services and programming it typically offers. The Work Project has temporarily suspended its Day Pass purchase and Global Access usage, while the capacity and pricing of all meeting rooms has been reduced by 50%. Community events have also been suspended, and pantry snacks have been temporarily removed.
“The Work Project’s amenities such as meeting rooms, phone booths and focus rooms remain open, although with safe management measures in place, as some members may not have a conducive environment to work at home, such as experiencing technical difficulties during teleconferencing calls,” says Lee.
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Proactive long-term support

However, the bleaker economic outlook has raised concerns from some members in their ability to continue lease commitments with The Work Project.
According to Lee, “our priority is to ensure our customers are set up for long-term success. For that reason, we have proactively engaged customers who are in need of downsizing their offices now, with the option of upsizing later once they recover. Our single most important mission is to maximise the chances for our customers to be successful in the long-run”.
THE WORK PROJECT CAPITAL TOWER - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Lee says that physical interaction in the workplace is still paramount, and expects high demand for flexible plug-and-play workspaces. (Picture: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore)
While some members have requested more space to accommodate split team work arrangements, the majority of members have been able to schedule work shifts between their employees within the existing space, says Lee.
In its Hong Kong office space, after the first wave of Covid-19 infections, most companies there have adapted to work under the “new normal”, says Lee, adding that 70% of the members based there are already back at work in the office and most physical meetings resumed in August.
Looking ahead, Lee says that physical interaction in the workplace is still paramount, and he expects high demand for flexible plug-and-play workspaces when the world is able to fully return to work.
“In the long run, we foresee that flexible workspace will benefit as traditional tenants will look to incorporate more flexible spaces in their portfolio to take advantage of the ease of expanding and retracting their real estate footprint,” says Lee.
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