COVID-19 and the response of our Coworking Space

Initial Reaction

COVID-19 has had a massive effect on most walks of life! Who would of thought that this massive change would rock our world back in January, we certainly didn’t! The initial reaction was to look after our community, the brilliant Guilders! We had some of our members that were forced into isolation early, some who wanted to keep going because ‘it will all blow over soon enough’ and everything in between, it was all a bit unsure! I even remember offering to deliver shopping to our members who had been unexpectedly forced into isolation before they were ready in the early stages. As things started getting more serious we took the decision to close our doors to keep our members safe, it shouldn’t of been such an easy decision for an independent business that would suffer from the lack of income. But in this case it was, our members safety will always come first! We then had a very honest conversation with the Guilders about our situation and it was heartwarming that most of our members decided to support us through lockdown. We will be forever grateful for their support and it is a testament to the incredible community that we have here! We owe you all a massive party when things are eased enough to have one! Thank You!

To keep our community connected through lockdown we started to embrace the new normal and tested out Zoom! We soon had three regular zoom sessions a week, plus our WhatsApp and Slack chats on the go! Our three Zooms were our ‘Afternoon Cuppa’ catch up every Wednesday, then on a Friday we had our ‘Bake Off’ at 14:00 and our ‘Guilders Quiz’ at 20:00. The Afternoon Cuppa was just a chance for our members to chat, get stuff off their chest and keep people posted on how they were doing. The Bake Off was a weekly baking competition which had some spectacular creations made … it certainly didn’t help my waistline! Then there was the Guilders Quiz which was done as a great excuse to have a drink and blow off some steam, always great fun! Lastly we had the awesome Thomas Jardine & Co turn the awesome ‘ON IT‘ club digital, so we had a monthly ON IT too, to help our members work on their businesses! All in all we had four different types of Zoom chats that would all fulfil very different needs and help keep our community strong!

Planning to Re-open

Change was forced upon us (as it has been for many people) and we decided to come back stronger with a new look and new benefits for our Guilders!

Our first thought was how do we re-open safely for our members. So we went down to The Guild during lockdown and tried to figure out a new layout using what we already had. It became very apparent very quickly that we would have to make a lot of changes. We moved every desk space and casual area in our space at least once! Once we had a new more spaced out layout we decided to make sure all of our members are safe and add screens to our desk spaces and install hand sanitiser stations, but we wanted to make sure The Guild still felt like The Guild.

We got our great looking screens and sanitiser stations installed by the awesome Grafix Signs ! We are delighted with the way they look and even though they are large and effective, they are not intrusive, which helped keep The Guild feeling like The Guild! We then wanted our Guilders to be more connected than ever and we embraced the ‘New Normal’ and asked the brilliant Connexions – Clear Creative Communications to set up our video conference room so people can zoom to their hearts content! Then we wanted a fresh new look so we turned to the incredible Gary who has done an amazing job as always painting and wallpapering. We even had one of our rooms that started life as a cupboard absolutely transformed with some wallpaper into an excellent phone booth or private study.

After all that work had been put in we turned to one of our Guilders, the talented Jenny Woolgar to do a photoshoot to show off our new look and we absolutely love the way it has turned out!

Once we had it looking right we wanted to make sure the process was in place to really make our Guilders safe. We have now got a cleaning contractor in the wonderful Caldew Cleaning Services that come in out of opening hours to do a thorough and regular clean. We also filled out a Government recommended Risk Assessment. Not only that but we created a new set of COVID house rules for all of our members that has to be signed by all of our members on their first day back to make sure our community can help keep each other safe!

Once that was all sorted it was time to set a date! We picked Monday the 6th of July and it has been so good to start seeing our members again in the flesh! Plus we have already had the excitement of welcoming new members into our community of Guilders which is always a great feeling! It’s time to bounce back stronger and embrace our new normal! We can’t wait!

Thank you for reading and if you would like to know more about The Guild don’t hesitate get in touch.

Cheers, Dan