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Coworking companies try working together to combat COVID-19

Some of the globe’s biggest co-working companies are pulling together to recover from coronavirus.

In the largest alliance of its kind, brands including WeWork, Knotel, Breather, Servcorp, Serendipity Labs and The Hive, among others, are partnering with digital coworking app Upflex to offer a new workplace re-entry program that promises to help businesses of all sizes safely ramp up operations as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across the world.

Operated by Upflex, the new Safe Spaces program offers companies of any size access to approved workspaces that comply with a strict set of health and safety guidelines to reduce risks to employees as they return to the office.

At its most basic, Safe Spaces is a coworking booking system that companies can buy membership to allow their employees to book a COVID-safe desk, office, or meeting room anywhere within the network of 1,300 approved spaces.

CHRISTOPHER GARNIER

“We are all looking forward to the moment when lockdowns are lifted, but the first priority must be to ensure people are safe when returning to work,” said Christophe Garnier, CEO and co-founder of Upflex.

“The virus has accelerated a change already in motion: a move to a flexible, distributed workforce. Safe Spaces™ embraces these changes by allowing employees to keep flexible work arrangements, alleviate work from home constraints, and easily find safe workspace close to home, so they can avoid public transport.”

Buying membership with Upflex means employers have fewer lease agreements with office providers and more choices for their employees while chalking up the services as a pure play expense for instant office space only when needed.

To become a part of Safe Spaces, coworking locations agree to comply with CDC guidelines (for US Spaces) or World Health Organization or other applicable local governing body’s guidelines (for non-US Spaces). In addition, Upflex worked with Karen Hoffmann, Clinical Instructor, Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine to define and approve Safe Spaces guidelines.

Depending on location, guidelines include strict 6-foot distancing policies between desks, touchless temperature screening, and disinfection of office space. Each location complying with guidelines earns the Safe Spaces™ stamp of approval and is made searchable through Upflex’s website or app.

 “As we think about the future of the workplace and learn from our experiences across our 800+ locations around the world, WeWork continues to prioritize professional distancing, flexibility, improved air quality, and expanded personal sanitation outposts as part of our new normal. While we all adapt to new realities, collaboration and connection remain more important than ever—and having a safe place to do that is essential,” said Nick Worswick, Chief Revenue Officer at WeWork.

“Safe Spaces by Upflex provides an accessible and transparent platform for safe, flexible workspaces at a critical time.”

The Upflex memberships allow employees and teams to book Safe Spaces, from desks to private offices, and meeting rooms across all flex operators at a fee that ranges from $115 to $999 per month.

Upflex also provides a hub and spoke model that works for distributed teams and allows companies to pair an HQ with the entire Upflex network. This model allows companies to reduce office costs by over 50 percent, remove long-term lease reliance, and let companies come back to the office at a pace that works for them.

Upflex  – a startup launched in New York last year –  has signed an agreement with Colliers so Colliers can offer the Upflex platform broadly to occupier clients through an online portal. Participating Colliers clients will have on-demand membership access to the 5,000 flexible workspaces in the global network.

 “We are looking forward to offering our clients this enterprising access to an extensive supply of flexible workspace solutions. There is good potential in the ability to transact our client’s on-demand daily needs through an efficient technology portal,” said Scott Nelson, CEO, Occupiers Services at Colliers International.

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