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Tools to keep your workspace safe

Living and adapting to the restrictions posed by Covid-19 has been an ongoing challenge for everyone. Eat Work Art has slowly welcomed more residents back into the workspace as we continue to operate in an era of social distancing.

In this ever-changing environment we have remained committed to offering residents a safe place to work to support our creative community. Residents that have returned to their studios since the relaxing of government guidance have welcomed increased sanitisation, one-way systems and behavioural signage as ways to feel comfortable in our communal spaces. We have spoken to many that have returned to their studios about how they are implementing safety measures in their spaces and wanted to share their knowledge along with official guidance in accordance with WHO.

  1. PPE for staff

Before your team comes back to work, it’s important that you have considered whether your working practices require PPE equipment to keep your staff protected. It depends on the nature of your business, but the government advises offering a clean set of gloves and a mask to your team should they require it throughout the day. For a more sustainable solution, you may consider suggesting reusable/washable masks that your staff might have already. Some great innovative local makers and sellers of reusable face masks include:

  1. Sanitisation

It may seem like an obvious one, but cleaning high contact areas including door handles, telephones and keyboards, can significantly decrease the risk of contact spreading. If you are a smaller team, you may benefit from allocating time at least 3 times a day to clean these areas using disposable cleaning cloths and isopropyl alcohol. You can also offer complimentary sanitisation on access points to encourage staff and visitors.

  1. Personal space

This might mean some gentle reconfiguration of the workspace, but where you can it’s important that anyone sitting at their desk is at least 2 metres away (360°) from other colleagues. The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has also suggested people sitting back-to-back or side-to-side could better avoid the contagion coming from their colleague’s mouths. Staggered seating and buffer zones ensure that teams can operate whilst maintaining a healthy physical distance from one another. It’s still recommended that meetings are held via video conferencing, but if this is unavoidable, try and keep to max 4 people at a time with distance measures in place.

  1. Commute

This is a variable factor, but where possible staff should still be encouraged to walk or cycle to work. If you have not already implemented it might be worth signing up-to the Government incentivised Cycle to Work Scheme which may allow staff access to cycling when they may not have previously. Eat Work Art have implemented increased cycle racks where possible for the use of residents that wish to cycle. Hackney Council are working on providing parking exemptions for key workers, you can find details on how you can apply for exemption here. If you are working in other sectors there are all day parking options available at a reduced rate, see details here.

  1. Flexibility

Whether it’s dispersing your team, offering flexible work hours or adapting spatial layouts, it’s worth continually improving the format in line with colleagues and members of staff. If the studio space does not allow for too much movement, implementing shifts between staff in the offer to minimise people in the room at one time might help fellow staff feel safe and secure.

  1. Collaboration between staff

Whilst people don’t want a constant reminder of the situation, gentle communication and sign-posting helps with health & safety morale. With collective effort we can achieve so much more!

As we continue to adjust and develop our plans to enhance our space in line with expert/government advice, we would like to hear from you.

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