Plan, Don’t Panic: How Flexible Workspaces Can Support Your BCP During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The future is uncertain, and unexpected global events can occur at any time and disrupt the way we work. Since the start of the year, COVID-19 has escalated exponentially, posing a challenge to both global health and business continuity plans (BCP) around the world.
In Singapore, a recent survey by the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association (SSIA) revealed that 80% of its members have seen an impact on business, mostly due to staff deployment issues. Employees who have recently traveled or live with people exposed to high-risk zones are forced to take Leave of Absences (LOA). When one person in a team is infected, the entire office risks being quarantined, potentially disrupting business operations for weeks.
In the face of all these challenges, how can you prepare your business for a smooth and less disruptive transition? At GorillaSpace, we believe in planning. With the right Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place, businesses can adequately safeguard against the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and other unexpected events down the road.
An important addition to your organisation’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) would be flexible workspace options. Fully-furnished “backup” offices with facilities and amenities readily available, flexible workspaces allow you to quickly move in with minimal set-up time and cost. In this article, we give an overview of what you can expect from a BCP, and how flexible workspaces can play a key role in creating a safe environment for your team.
What does a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) look like?
A BCP is an essential part of mitigating business risks – a structured plan that an organisation puts in place to ensure that your business can continue running smoothly during an unexpected emergency. This plan should keep in mind different parts of your business that could potentially be disrupted in a disaster.
Enterprise SG provided a basic framework for BCPs to best mitigate the risks due to COVID-19. Here’s a summary of our key takeaways from their guide:
- Human Resource Management
- Arrange flexible work arrangements for high-risk employees
- Review and revise policies such as sick leave, overseas travel, health insurance, and workplace closure to make them more suitable for emergency situations
- Set up a monitoring system to regularly check on the health of employees
- Process and Business Functions
- Identify critical business functions and essential employees, and implement policies to minimise disruption (e.g. physically segregating the office, cross-training employees)
- Develop plans for employee and visitor screening
- Supplier and Customer Management
- Identify essential suppliers to discuss continuity issues with
- Identify essential customers and ensure that they receive continued customer support
- Develop plans to activate alternative suppliers and customer service methods
- Implement a structure to disseminate communicate BCP measures to employees and customers
When it comes to human resource management, the topic of workspace is definitely one to highlight. Many companies in Singapore have asked their employees to work from home via telecommuting or teleconferencing. An interesting measure some businesses have implemented is splitting their employees into multiple ‘teams’ or groups. These teams alternate between coming into work and working from home, to avoid the risk of infecting an entire office.
However, working from home has some disadvantages. Some employees may not have a conducive home environment for work. There are also technical difficulties that come with teleconferencing that could lead to poor communication and team-building. For some industries, working from home might be impossible without access to specialized equipment or security functions in the office (e.g. trading floors, research facilities).
Flexible workspaces are a good alternative to work-from-home policies.
Incorporating the use of flexible workspaces in your BCP is a viable solution to supporting employees. Flexible workspaces include coworking spaces and serviced offices, which offer readily-equipped business suites, private offices or hot desks that can be rented out for a short-term period.
Fully-fitted and highly flexible, flexible workspaces offer a plethora of benefits that are useful for your BCP:
- Allow you to move in at short notice, with minimal set-up time and costs in the event of an emergency
- Offers day passes or monthly packages, allowing you to take up space on-the-go whenever they need it
- Allows you to split your business into different teams by booking different spaces. For instance, Team A can work out of a coworking branch in Orchard, while Team B might book a private office further east on Prinsep Street. This reduces risk of cross-infection while still providing opportunities for interaction and workplace productivity.
- Many plug-and-play offices let you move in essential equipment you need, allowing important business functions to continue unhindered
- Offers a productive environment in the company of like-minded businesses and professional amenities that cannot be obtained at home.
We have recently helped clients with varying requests for a BCP solution. For example, one of our clients wanted to temporarily relocate a portion of his team for 1 month in Bugis. This business took up a private 4-pax suite at The Work Project, a professional coworking space. Employees staffed at Bugis lived towards the eastern part of Singapore, which meant shorter travel distances. With this solution, he was able to effectively minimize the risk of his entire team being quarantined, while ensuring that all employees have a functional and comfortable place to work.
Not planning to rent a full-fledged office space? Meeting rooms in coworking spaces or serviced offices are also a great short-term solution for small teams to work together. We have helped some clients secure recurrent meeting room bookings, for selected days during the week and month. Like standard offices, these meeting rooms are normally equipped with complimentary WiFi, comfortable seats, and AV equipment for presentations or interactive discussions.
GorillaSpace can help you find the right spaces for your BCP.
Our Space Experts at GorillaSpace can find the perfect workspace for you and your team to minimise risk and work in a productive and comfortable environment. We offer the widest range of office spaces, coworking desks, and meeting rooms with a variety of amenities in different locations.
Looking to find an office closer to home for your employees? They can work remotely from coworking spaces or serviced office centres near home, with 100+ flexible workspace centres across the island. While most of the prominent workspaces are housed in the central business district, various coworking spaces are stationed in other business zones like Paya Lebar and fringe neighbourhoods like Orchard.
Some of the flexible space operators we partner with offer enterprise packages. These can be broken down into several key categories:
- Dynamic Office Package: flexible workspace recovery offices that businesses can book right away whenever crisis strikes. These are ideal for teams that don’t require much equipment set-up and can move on the go. This setup is ideal for sales or recruitment teams.
- Reserve Office Package: Dedicated “backup” office space always made available and on standby 24/7. These are ideal for businesses that require equipment and servers readily available. Some clients have used this option for trading floors or command rooms.
- Unlimited Hot Desk Package: Operators with multiple coworking locations across Singapore may allow unlimited access to any available hotdesk in a shared workspace area. This package is especially convenient for businesses who need to meet with clients in different parts of Singapore.
- Reserve Desk Package: A fixed desk reserved just for you and your team at a particular location, inclusive of membership perks like lockable storage space and meeting room credits. This setup offers a great safety net for teams who don’t need the privacy of a closed-door space.
Talk to our trusty Space Experts today to learn more about these options and discuss how flexible workspaces can fit in your BCP. Contact +65 8817 9170 or drop an email to [email protected]. We’ll prepare a personalised shortlist of options that best suit your business needs. And best of all—you can minimise travel time and physical contact by first “touring” the shortlist with our 360 panoramas from the safety of your home.
- Enterprise SG: Guide to BCP for COVID-19
- Reuters: Insights on business challenges and considerations for COVID-19
- Hustle Cowork: Plug-and-play offices versus coworking spaces
- Channel News Asia: Working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak
- The Korea Herald: Coworking spaces may get a boost due to COVID-19
- Channel News Asia: Singapore firms brace for supply issues due to COVID-19