GCUC AU Webinar Questions Answered

By Stormy McBride On May 5, 2020 In SustainabilityCommunityGCUC AustraliaGCUC Webinars

As promised, we gathered up the unanswered questions from our GCUC Australia Webinar event on April 23rd and got our GCUC AU partner and moderator, Brad Krauskopf to weigh in.

What types of relief from landlords are speakers hoping for?

BK – That all of them will abide by the code outlined by Federal Government and now also adopted or expanded upon by Local Government. Not sure there is more beyond that could be hoped for.

Working on the assumption that COVID19 will have a long lasting impact on society, we will have to deal with (a) social distancing and how that will impact open space coworking and events, (b) stringent check-ins for visitors and potentially required testing (e.g. blood oxygen levels at entry), and a new flexible way of working that may move towards part-time desks vs. full time desks or even purchasing monthly credits that allow employees to come in and make use of the office when they see fit. What do you think the near-term (1-2 year) future of coworking will look like?

BK – Whilst we will all need to carefully abide by the government guidelines and work to ensure the safety of our teams and members as we move through the next 1 to 2 years, I do not see that demand for coworking will reduce, in fact I see that it will increase as organisations will need it’s flexibility whilst also catering to the majority of the workforce that that are unable or unwilling to work from home all or most of the time. I see a further movement away from both part-time and full-time desks toward private offices.

How is everyone applying the code if eligibility hasn’t been determined by the ATO yet? Is the code being applied in good faith?

BK – Yes, Hub is applying the code in good faith or providing relief through individual negotiations where the code does not work for the members circumstances.

Does anyone have a plan on their members returning after COVID… ie we were thinking of opening up days and having limited members at one time… to help them feel secure about coming back. However we are in a situation where we have only 1 member not self isolating so some of you properly have more in your spaces…

BK – Yes Hub has a detailed plan which we are continuing to add to in anticipation of a major change being announced on May 11th by the Federal Government. The checklist from Safe Work Australia is useful.

I’d like to hear the experience of spaces in countries that are starting to reopen.

BK – there was an article last week about coworking in Hong Kong, as well as a webinar with Asian operators which is useful. Watch this space for more stories over the coming weeks.

How much has demand / enquiries decreased? over the month from pre covid levels?

BK – Enquiries have decreased but they are still coming and we have signed new members during the last six weeks. The uncertainty is delaying decisions (as it is for any business decision, not just flexible workspace), but the enquiries that we are getting indicate that the demand for flexible workspace will quickly bounce back as people look to move away from traditional leases.

What are some other physical changes (inc. capital works) you’re expecting to make to your space post-COVID? E.g. more cleaning, more separated space, auto opening doors. Assuming no vaccine for COVID for 1-2 years.

BK – all of the things you mention plus changes to how we run events, dividers between dedicated desks, videoconferencing, sanitiser and disinfectant wipes everywhere. Above all though is a permanent increase in training and communication for our staff and members with regards safety and health in the workplace.

Do you anticipate typical densities in coworking spaces to change as a result of COVID-19? Both short and longer term?

BK – Hub already has a lower density than most, so in our case in the long-term, no. But I suspect that operators that run with the smaller desks and very high densities will need to change or accept a relative discount in their desk rates. Hub will also be increasing our cleaning, maintenance and attention to things like air quality. In the short-term we will all have to manage occupancies in line with regulations so I do expect a staged return to the workplace and that increased spacing between desks will be required.

As always, a big thank you to our PIC (partner in coworking), Brad Krauskopf – CEO & Founder of Hub Australia for taking the time to share his insight. Thank you to all our panelists and attendees for making GCUC Online as juicy as it was. We appreciate you all and look forward to bringing you more GCUC in the future.

Stay tuned here, sign up for our newsletter or check the GCUC Calendar for our next online event!

The next GCUC AU webinar will takeplace on May 8th- sign up here.

Stay well,
Liz, Stormy and The GCUC Crew