How OfficeXpats opened its doors to members and new customers
Businesses on Bainbridge Island are working overtime to accommodate their clients and customers during COVID.
OfficeXpats is not a traditional retail business or restaurant. Located on the second floor of The Pavilion building on Madison Avenue (where the movie theaters are located), the coworking and conference facility reopened its doors in early June, and since then it has seen existing members reappear and new ones sign up. With high-speed fiber-optic Internet service and state-of-the-art IT security, members find reliable Internet connectivity a major perk!
Like a lot of businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, OfficeXpats’ co-founders Jason Omens and Leslie Schneider were extremely cautious when they went about the task of reopening their center safely.
“Our rule, even before the Governor’s (mandatory) policy, was that masks are required at OfficeXpats,” said Jason, who handles the operations side of the business. “We hand out masks at the front door (if members or visitors forgot theirs), and we also make available free hand sanitizer and towels. And early on, I installed a touch-less water facet in the kitchen area.”
The OfficeXpats “ambassador” at the front desk also has available an infrared touchless thermometer to take people’s temperatures before they enter. Jason occasionally walks around the office and takes temperatures – “mostly for fun,” he adds, “but also as another layer of safety. We haven’t had to kick anyone out yet,” he notes, with a laugh. As typical of business coworking centers, OfficeXpats maintains, even during this pandemic, a congenial, courteous, and collaborative atmosphere.
Jason and Leslie (who is on the Bainbridge Island City Council and is current Mayor) did a lot of research around cleaning and disinfecting their business facilities before and during their reopening. Everyone regularly uses misting spray bottles containing hydrogen peroxide, disinfecting desks, chairs, tables, door knobs.
Medical research recently advised switching from bleach to hydrogen peroxide as a spray cleaner, which is more effective, especially if it’s left on surfaces longer before wiping off. “We work to stay on top of the latest research,” says Jason, “to keep our members as healthy as possible.” Towards that end, Jason is looking into ultraviolet lamps that are known to kill all sorts of bugs and bacteria, including in some cases COVID-19. The UV lights are used in hospitals and clinics. “Not all of them are created equal,” Jason cautions. “You have to be careful what you buy.” Lights, wands, robots, and other accessories can aid in sanitizing OfficeXpats spaces in as little as 15 minutes.
Jason says the coworking facility can even perform contact tracing using its wi-fi check-in system. When members and visitors arrive, they typically plug into the company’s wi-fi, giving an instant read out of who’s in the space and how long they’ve been there. “It’s unique to us,” explains Jason. “And it is a great way of tracking people for contact tracing.”
Learn more about OfficeXpats by visiting officexpats.com.
Kevin Dwyer & Associates
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