February 11, 2021

Keep the Water Flowing! How a top coworking brand continues to operate safely within Covid restrictions

Case Study

By Marjan Mahmoodi

An interview with iQ Offices CEO and Founder Kane Willmott

Question: When did iQ start and how many locations do you have?

Kane Willmott: We started in 2012 and currently have 8 locations across Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal)

Q: As a coworking space you have different members showing up everyday, can you tell us the COVID procedures in place at iQ Office locations for keeping members and employees safe?

KW: We hired an expert in the field called Get Ready Global. They did a full audit of all of our spaces and operations and rolled out a comprehensive initiative that involves but is not limited to screening, contact tracing, PPE, cleaning, distance and directional signage. We are proud of our safety certified spaces and with the assistance of Get Ready Global we have been able to deliver industry leading safety measures.

Q: Was there a marked increase in labor costs to ensure this enhanced level of sanitization?

KW: Yes, all of our safety initiatives have come as a substantial cost, from hundreds of human hours to PPE, plexiglass and operational complexities. That said, this is an investment in the safety of both our staff and members. It was an easy investment decision.

Q: Almost every business has had to pivot and evolve in certain ways, what are some of the challenges iQ faced in the last year?

KW: Government restrictions/lockdowns have created a difficult operating environment and affected many of our members. As a result, we continue to reach out to each of our members in order to better understand their situations and continue to work with them to adjust as needed to meet their unique needs.

Q: Why was it important to keep the Vivreau Vi Tap operating during this time? And what safety measures have you taken for the water dispenser?

KW: Our members really appreciate the Vivreau Vi Tap system because of its great taste, convenience and it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable water bottles. In order to ensure that our members can safely access the Vi Tap, we provide disinfectant wipes and sanitizer at each Vi Tap station and encourage each member to use their reusable cups/water bottles.

Vivreau’s Vi Tap Water Dispenser at iQ Office

Q: What about the other high touch areas such as the coffee and tea station, microwave, kitchen area etc?

KW: In many of our locations, we have shut down our coffee stations and provide beverage service via a cart and one of our friendly staff. We also offer pre-packaged snacks when visiting each office.

Q: Why didn’t you shut down the Vi Tap and simply put out bottles of water for your members?

KW: We are confident we can deliver the Vi Tap in a safe way for all of our staff and members and avoid single use bottles.

Q: What was the primary objective that you were trying to realize with your Vivreau water program? And what has been the reaction?

KW: Excellent tasting still and sparkling water to promote a healthy lifestyle through hydration. Our members and our staff love it.

Q: Why does the Vi tap fit so well into a coworking space like iQ?

KW: It is a sustainable way to provide high-end quality water that aligns with our brand and the luxury experience that we create for our members.

Q: Where do you see the coworking industry heading this year and after the pandemic?

KW: Coworking space will be in “high demand” as tenants under 5,000 square feet look to a more customer focused model to service their workspace needs.

Q: Tell us about Happy Hour at iQ.

KW: Pre-covid we hosted Happy Hour in our lounges which gave our members the opportunity to mingle and foster a sense of community. Today, our location staff visit each office with a bar cart, equipped with PPE to safely deliver wine, craft beers, specialty drinks, non-alcoholic options and pre-packaged snacks to our valued members.

Introducing Vivreau’s Safe Workplace Package, a turnkey resource for any facility looking to reopen their water program safely. The package comes FREE with all Vivreau water dispensers.

All workplaces are different. We recommend everyone refer to the CDC COVID-19 guidelines for Workplaces and Businesses and your local health authority. 

Learn more about iQ Offices by visiting their website