Choosing a Shared Workspace –  Work Health and Safety Considerations

Shared workspaces like WeWork, Workspace365, Regus and others have become increasingly popular due to their flexibility, cost-efficiency, and collaborative environment. However, selecting the right office space within the buildings (or parts of buildings) where shared office spaces are provided requires careful consideration of several work health and safety factors to ensure the well-being and productivity of your employees. This article will delve into crucial aspects such as ventilation, indoor air quality, noise attenuation, lighting, and communicable disease prevention that should be considered when choosing a shared workspace.


Proper ventilation is paramount in maintaining a healthy work environment. Inadequate ventilation can lead to poor indoor air quality, which may cause employee discomfort, health issues, and reduced productivity. When evaluating a shared workspace, consider the following aspects in respect of ventilation and indoor air quality:

Airflow and Circulation

Ensure the office space has an effective HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that promotes good airflow and circulation. In a perfect world look for workspaces with operable windows or adjustable vents that allow fresh air to enter. If you’re locked into a closed building you should consider if the aircon is suitable for the number of occupants. Many shared office providers cut floor areas down but fail to address heat loads of additional people in small work spaces resulting in sweltering environments.

Air Filtration

High-quality air filters, such as HEPA filters, should be in place to trap airborne particles, including dust, allergens, and pathogens. Inquire about the building’s maintenance schedule for replacing these filters regularly.

CO2 Levels

High levels of carbon dioxide can lead to drowsiness and impaired cognitive function. Check if the workspace aircon system or the workspace monitors CO2 levels and maintains them within the recommended range (ideally below 1,000 ppm). An adequate supply of fresh air imoving through your workspace is fundamental to solving these issues.

Humidity Control

Balanced humidity levels (between 30-50%) help prevent the growth of mould and mildew while maintaining comfort. Ensure the HVAC system includes humidity control features.

Selection of Office Furniture

Formaldehyde, a common component in office furniture, can significantly impact indoor air quality. Found in pressed wood products such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard, as well as in adhesives, paints, and coatings, formaldehyde is released into the air over time as a gas, a process known as off-gassing. This chemical is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC) and is known for its strong, pungent odours. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause various health issues, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, skin rashes, and severe allergic reactions. In poorly ventilated office spaces, the concentration of formaldehyde can increase, leading to more significant health risks and discomfort for the occupants. Ensuring proper ventilation, selecting furniture made from low-emission materials, and using air purifiers can help mitigate these indoor air quality issues and create a healthier office environment.

More Tips Office Safety – An Actionable Guide

Noise Attenuation

Noise pollution can significantly impact concentration, communication, and overall work performance. When selecting an office in a shared workspace, noise attenuation should be a top priority –

Soundproofing –  Assess the building’s soundproofing measures, such as insulated walls, double-glased windows, and acoustic panels. These features can minimise external noise and reduce sound transmission between adjacent offices.

Layout and Design –  Consider the layout of the workspace. Private offices or designated quiet sones can provide a respite from the general noise of open-plan areas. Look for workspaces with thoughtful design elements that reduce noise, such as carpeted floors and sound-absorbing furniture.

Noise Levels –  Visit the workspace during peak hours to gauge the ambient noise level. Pay attention to potential noise sources such as traffic, construction, or nearby businesses.


Adequate lighting is essential for creating a comfortable and productive work environment. Poor lighting can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. When choosing an office space, consider the following lighting aspects –

Natural Light –  Exposure to natural light has been proven to enhance mood, energy levels, and productivity. Opt for workspaces with ample windows and access to daylight. Ensure that window coverings are available to control glare when necessary.

Artificial Lighting –  Evaluate the quality of artificial lighting in the workspace. LED lights are a preferred choice due to their energy efficiency and ability to provide consistent, glare-free illumination. The lighting should be adjustable to meet different needs throughout the day.

Light Temperature –  The colour temperature of lighting can influence the work atmosphere. Cooler, blue-toned light (5000-6500K) is suitable for task lighting, while warmer, yellow-toned light (2700-3000K) creates a more relaxed environment.

Communicable Disease Prevention

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the spread of communicable diseases in shared office spaces has become a critical concern. When selecting a shared workspace, consider the following measures:

Hygiene Protocols –  Verify that the shared workspace has robust hygiene protocols in place, including regular cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces. Hand sanitising stations should be readily available throughout the building.

Social Distancing –  Assess the layout to ensure that there is adequate space for social distancing in the event of an outbreak. Workstations should be arranged to allow for a safe distance between employees. Look for options that offer flexible configurations to adapt to changing health guidelines.

Touchless Technology –  Touchless solutions, such as automatic doors, sensor-activated faucets, and contactless payment systems, can reduce the risk of virus transmission. Inquire about the availability of these technologies in the workspace.

Ventilation and Air Quality –  As previously mentioned, good ventilation and air quality are crucial in minimising the spread of airborne diseases. Confirm that the workspace adheres to recommended ventilation standards and incorporates air purification systems.


Selecting the right office in a shared workspace building requires a comprehensive approach to health and safety. Shared work spaces often charge premium rates for small spaces and can lock you in for extended periods so its best to do your due diligence before you’re left at the mercy of a lessor who simply won’t take work safety issues seriously.

By paying attention to ventilation, noise attenuation, lighting, and communicable disease prevention, businesses working from shared work spaces can create a work environment that promotes the well-being and productivity of their employees. Investing time in evaluating these factors will not only enhance employee satisfaction but also contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

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By |2024-05-31T15:27:56+09:00May 31st, 2024|Safety Advice|0 Comments

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