Flexible workspace provider WeWork has told users of its Dublin network that an individual based at one of its three locations in the capital has tested positive for coronavirus.
In an email sent to clients on Thursday evening, the company said it had been notified earlier yesterday of a confirmed case of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, involving a user of the office in question.
While noting that the affected individual had last been in the building “16 days ago on Tuesday, March 10th”, WeWork said the person’s office had been cleaned and sanitised along with all shared spaces and communal areas. The email added that “all employees of the impacted member company are now working from home and self-isolating”.
But while many companies have closed their premises and introduced a work-from-home policy for their employees in response to the Covid-19 crisis, WeWork has informed its clients that the office building used by the individual who had tested positive for the coronavirus will remain open.
Explaining this decision, the company said: “The health and safety of our employees and members is our top priority. Based on the precautionary measures advised by local health authorities, WeWork [location name] will remain open. We want to reassure you that we are monitoring the situation and will update you if anything changes.
“Our goal is to protect the health and safety of our members and employees, while maintaining as close to normal operations as possible. If you or anyone in your organisation has a confirmed case of coronavirus, or has come in direct contact with an individual who has a confirmed case of coronavirus, please email your community team immediately.”
WeWork's chairman Marcelo Claure and its CEO Sandeep Mathrani explained the group's position on Covid-19 in a social media post last week.
They said: “WeWork is in an incredibly unique position. WeWork is a service provider and we have an obligation to keep our buildings open. In the same way we expect certain businesses to remain open for us – whether it be a fulfilment centre to send us a package, a bank so we can handle finances, grocery stores and pharmacies to supply us our valued goods – we too have members counting on us to remain open so they can run their companies to generate revenue, pay their people, and continue serving their customers.”
Range of efforts
Referring to the measures WeWork had introduced across its global network in response to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, they added: “We have undertaken a range of efforts from increased building cleanings, new work-from-home policies, reduced staffing models, rotational work programmes, Uber subsidies to avoid mass transportation, and more. These changes have been made to prioritise the health and safety of you, our members and our communities and will continue to be enhanced, as appropriate. Where we believe we can operate our buildings safely, and in accordance with Government policies, we will keep those buildings open.”
In the case of its Dublin’s locations, WeWork introduced a “work-from-home” policy for its own employees across its Dublin office network on March 18th as part of its efforts to deal with the impact of the coronavirus.
As reported by The Irish Times last Wednesday, access for users of each of the company’s locations at Charlemont Exchange, Iveagh Court and No 2 Dublin Landings is now being controlled through the use of keycards only. Individuals or companies using the premises to conduct their business are being offered “virtual support”, with WeWork staff available to deal with queries by email or phone.
WeWork took the decision to remove its own personnel from each of its Dublin properties on foot of the Government’s recommendation that where possible, employers should allow their staff to work from home.
In an email explaining the move to the users of its Dublin locations , the company said it was taking “unprecedented measures to protect our teams from the spread of coronavirus”.
And while the company assured its clients that security teams would continue to be on site on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, the email “strongly advised that its buildings only be accessed during standard business hours (9am - 6pm). WeWork also advised its clients that they would now be required to pre-register any guests in advance of bringing them to any of WeWork’s Dublin offices.