This article was updated to reflect our current risk assessment and policies on 14th July 2021. Our Covid-secure measures remain in place and the centre remains open for you to use, should your business be unable to operate with staff working from home.
If you and your team are planning for your return to the office, this article outlines our plans for ensuring that our spaces are Covid-19 secure, and our specific health and safety requirements of tenants and visitors. A similar article for tenants based at Sussex Innovation Croydon can be found here. For best practice guidance around managing your employees' return to work, click here.
Following the latest Government announcements on Monday 12th July, we’ve updated our Covid-19 risk assessment and continue working hard to keep our spaces Covid-19 secure. You can access the full risk assessment document for the Sussex Innovation Centre here. We have based our assessment on the Government advice for offices and contact centres, and recommend conducting a similar review of your own workspace within the building.
Our doors remain reopened to tenants and co-working members - as a customer-facing organisation, we understand that while we can continue to function while working remotely, we are far more effective in supporting you when we have some presence in our innovation centres, and we will therefore ensure that members of our team are always available. If the situation remains stable over the coming weeks, we will be encouraging team members to return to the support office consistently from 9th August.
Whilst the current national guidelines have removed the requirement for social distancing and wearing masks, we believe that both measures continue to be the most effective way of reducing transmission rates in our shared spaces, and hope that everyone will join us in continuing to observe these precautions. We expect that all tenants show respect and consideration for everyone else who uses our space, by reading and following the guidelines below, and sharing them in advance with any external visitors who you are expecting:
- Our team will be taking rapid lateral flow tests twice per week and self-isolating at home in the event of a positive test result - we encourage anyone visiting the Centre regularly to follow the same precaution. A pack of seven test kits can be ordered free of charge here.
- A cleaning crew are visiting the site daily to conduct a thorough clean of all corridors and shared spaces, as well as ensuring that proper hygiene measures continue to be followed and contact points cleaned several times throughout the day.
- Following advice from a Professor of Virology and the University's head of health and safety, a two-way "keep to the left" system is clearly signposted in all corridors and common areas to allow for proper social distancing.
- In order to maintain this system without putting others at risk, we request that all employees wear face coverings while in the common areas of the building. Please bring your own if you can - disposable masks are also available from the Reception desk.
- To ensure proper ventilation and air flow, all exterior doors and windows in common areas, corridors and meeting rooms will be held open throughout the day. We also advise opening doors and windows within individual offices wherever possible.
- The reception desk includes a protective screen, please stay in front of the desk while talking with our team. Our booking and check-in systems have been updated for contactless booking. Outbound mail and courier services have now resumed throughout the week from 9am-5pm. Please continue to contact the reception team by phone, email or Slack where possible to minimise face-to-face contact.
- A non-contact thermometer is available from reception - we will not be checking every person as they arrive, but if anyone feels unwell we will be able to quickly assess whether they have elevated temperature and take the appropriate action.
- We are asking all members and visitors to use the NHS Track and Trace app when checking into the building in order to supply the system with accurate data.
- Desk space in the hotdesk room has been reduced and the space will be cleaned down each evening. If you are a co-working member planning to use it, please be sure to book via reception in advance, so that we can ensure an appropriate number of people are using the room at any time.
- Toilets and showers have vacant/engaged signage, with each block to be used by only one person at a time - if the block is engaged, please queue at a safe distance.
- Crockery and cutlery have been temporarily removed from the shared kitchen areas. The kitchens are open, to be used by only one person at a time - please queue at a safe distance. Your personal reusable cup can be collected from the Facilities office to avoid cross-contamination.
- The cafe in the building has now reopened until 2pm every day serving a range of takeaway food and beverages. The nearby Co-operative supermarket on campus remains open should you need food or essential items at other times.
- The building is closed to all University students, apart from members of staff and tenant/co-working business members.
- Hand sanitizer has been placed in all shared spaces - please use it before and after touching door handles, switches and other high-frequency touchpoints.
- Meeting room capacity has been reduced - please observe the maximum number of meeting attendees signposted on the doors.
- Furniture in the shared spaces has been thinned out and moved to a safe distance - please do not move the chairs or benches closer together, and use the sanitation wipes provided to clean down tables and surfaces after use.
Safety, security and employee wellbeing are clearly the most important concerns for businesses as they start to return to work, but what we have been hearing loud and clear from our community is that flexibility will also be a priority for you. This pandemic has had a different effect on every business, and we appreciate that many of our members will be reviewing their requirements - please talk to us if we can be of assistance.
That's why we've revisited the packages that we offer for our tenants at Sussex Innovation, to support you as you establish what the 'new normal' looks like for your business. So, whether:
- You're looking for additional overflow office space so that your whole team can return to an office base and reconnect;
- You're looking to temporarily or permanently move to a smaller office as you work out what your future business model and working arrangements look like;
- You're planning to deliver more of your work remotely, but still want a space and community to be your 'home away from home'
...we have created options to suit you. Please contact Helen if you'd like to explore the different working arrangements that are available.