A crowded network event in times before corona

To make working in our building as safe and as healthy as possible, we have, together with the other tenants, sent out rules for everyone working in the building. These rules apply to visitors as well. But making those rules is not that easy. Being a niche incubator for multiple companies with multiple dedicated rooms and spaces for specific tasks, simply requires thorough planning and action. In this article we’ll show you what we did.

(This article has been updated on September 29, 2020 and on October 14, 2020)

From June on, there were some easings in the corona measures by the Dutch government. However, due to new concerning corona spreadings in The Netherlands, the government decided to take action.

The new rule: Work from home. You can only go to the office if there’s no only way.

Prior to the new measures, we envisioned more people coming into the offices. We needed to be there for the ESA BIC Noordwijk startups and some other tenants in a business center, and deliver (on site) support. On the other hand we needed to comply to the government’s advice to work from home as much as possible to at least September. Our solution at that time: only one person of our team is present each day.

The new solution: We work from home, and there is one person on Wednesday in the office. We still offer our services like delivering mail etc, but many, many of them could be done remote. All our physical meetings are replaced by online meetings.

Now, how are we dealing with COVID-19 in the entire SBIC building? With the measures of September 28 and October 13 in mind, still, there will be some people around, as there are other tenants, cleaners, people coming in to pick up stuff etc. So here are the basic rules for everyone in the building:

BASIC RULES

  • Keep your distance from each other (min. 1,5 meter)  
  • Wash your hands or use disinfectants, regularly 
  • Sneeze and cough in your elbow 
  • Use paper napkins and throw them away afterwards 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible
  • Try to avoid door knobs, objects and surfaces whenever you can 
  • Don’t shake hands 
  • Make sure not too many people work in a closed office. Too full? Spread working days or time.
  • Stay home:  
    • If you have a mild fever and/or respiratory complaints (nose cold, coughing, soar throat, and/or high temperature over 38 degrees Celsius)  
    • When you were in close contact with a person who had said complaints (close contact = within 2 meters and for longer than 15 minutes)  
    • When you have been abroad in the last 14 days 

Next, we took some measures for the entire building:

BASIC MEASURES

  • First of all, we have addressed that we want to create an environment for people to safely share their concerns. Therefore it’s perfectly fine to point someone at the rules if they are not showing safe and/or healthy behaviour. We all need to be responsible.
  • In the meeting room there will be a list for external people who can leave their contact details. This is so we can easily contact them in case of an infection in the building.
  • We made walking routes through the building, including stairs etc.
  • We placed disinfectant and cleaning products on multiple spots in the building
  • We put up leaflets with safe working instructions
  • We open doors for ventilation

PUBLIC SPACE RULES

Next: rules for the use of public spaces. As we are a multi-tenant building, we have a lot of shared space. The correct use of those spaces needs to be in line with the habits of the other tenants. We have rules for the main kitchen, the toilets, the elevator, the terrace, the stairs and the main hall (atrium).

  • When using the main kitchen, clean it afterwards
  • Keep right on the stairs
  • Max 2 people in the elevator
  • Go to the toilet on your own floor
  • Keep your distance, even outside on the terrace and in front of the building
  • Take a break in the atrium in small groups only
  • Every tenant has it’s own table for lunch. Full table? Wait till there’s a spot available or have lunch somewhere else
Dedicated lunch tables per company, with less chairs than normal

INCUBATOR RULES

We have several types of rooms and offices in the startup incubator part of the building. We have custom rules for the coworking space, the meetings rooms, the workshop (fablab) and a small kitchen.

  • Don’t make a crowd in a closed space
  • Max. 4 people in the meeting room
  • Everyone is responsible for the amount of people in a meeting room
  • Limit the use of shared office supplies and clean them after use
  • Use the small kitchen as less as possible
  • Use your own mug and/or water bottle
  • Consult with the other tenants and make appointments about who can be in the workshop and when
  • Limit the use of shared tools and materials – and clean them afterwards.
Open doors to our incubator

INCUBATOR MEASURES 

  • We made a central point to pick up and leave dishes at the coffee machine, as it’s a more open area than the small kitchen
  • We put plexiglass between some desks at the coworking space
  • We made some desks unavailable because of the 1,5 meter rule
  • You need to book the flex desks in our booking system, so we know who was where and when.
  • We left empty offices open for people to work if there are no spaces left in the coworking space
You can’t sit here!
If you look closely, you’ll see the plexiglass between the desks!

As you can see, we have to think of quite some factors. But we believe they are truly necessary to keep our working space safe. From owners, tenants and employees to cleaners, parcel delivery couriers and visitors, we all have a responsibility to stop the pandemic. 

If you have any questions, feedback or ideas regarding our approach, please send them to info@sbicnoordwijk.nl. We’d love to hear your thoughts.