Since Stacks reopened amidst the pandemic in July, I'm proud that our members have shown incredible regard for one another.

Everyone has been adhering to our community pledge, including masking guidelines, distancing, and general hygiene. I'm grateful that since reopening, none of our 50+ members have reported positive COVID cases.

Moreover, on a handful of occasions, members have reached out to notify me of potential exposures or concerning symptoms. Each of those members admirably avoided the office and volunteered to quarantine or provided a negative test prior to returning. Fortunately, they all turned out to be healthy. This consideration for our fellow members is what enables us to stay open and operating as a place where for us to do our work, away from the day to day of home life.

As COVID cases increase and temperatures cool, it's as important as ever to keep that citizenship top of mind.

Here are the most important things for each of us keep in mind when in Stacks (and elsewhere):

#MaskingforaFriend

  • Masks are required in Stacks whenever you're away from your desk, office, or private room
  • While masks haven't been required while at a partitioned desk in the open space, it is now encouraged that you wear one

Go the distance

  • Physical distancing may be even more important than masking
  • All desks within Stacks, in addition to being partitioned are at least 6 feet away from any others, and most are further
  • Stay mindful of the 6 foot rule as you're moving about the space, in the kitchen, grabbing coffee, etc. 

Stop talking to me...or anyone for that matter 😉

  • COVID is known to spread most easily via close-proximity, indoor, unmasked conversations or interactions totaling 15 minutes or more
  • That 15 minute rule is cumulative over a 24 hour period, so it's important to limit multiple interactions with the same person to no more than a minute or two each
  • If and when you do need to chat indoors and in-person, masks and distancing are a absolute must and really make a difference

Call out sick, we won't be mad

  • If you're not feeling well or have had a potential exposure, the best thing for you and others is to quarantine at home
  • If you or someone close to you have tested positive for COVID, stay home and let us know so we can take steps to notify others
  • Give us a shout if either happens and we will definitely provide credits for any extended time you're away from Stacks

Within Stacks, we've also adapted our model and reconfigured the space to ensure the highest level of safety.

The new office and desk booking system ensures no more than 25 members are in the space at any given time. Across 6,000+ square feet, that equals a minimum of 240 square feet of space per person, fortunately well within the strictest guidelines in the state, i.e. Philadelphia is requiring a minimum of 200 square feet per person in businesses. Most days, there are only 10 to 15 people in Stacks at the same time.

In open-space coworking areas, every desk is partitioned and distanced at least 6 feet. The open-space coworking areas also always have HEPA air purifiers running during open hours to increase air changing. Spare masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant cleaning spray are available for all to use as needed.

This Winter, we're also doing some thing to make the space even safer:

Added a Private Drop-in Room

  • The closed-door Rollo Room is now available to all members for 1 hour drop-in sessions
  • No scheduling needed, just pop in when it's available to take calls, naps, whatever you need
  • On limit is to cap your Rollo visits to no more than 1 hour at a time

New Desk Configurations

  • The directions of the desks in Ground will be configured to face away from one another
  • The new arrangement will ensure no one is talking in the direction of anyone else when on phone calls

Increased Air Changing

  • We're fortunate that our building has high ceilings, is old and leaky (air-wise), and was previously fit-out to serve as a doctor's office
  • Stacks Ground has its own HVAC system, the front and back of the Main Level have separate HVAC, and there are two separate HVAC systems for the Top Level also; all filters are changed each season
  • While coronavirus has not been shown to be infectious through HVAC, it's reassuring to know we have several independent systems changing air over regularly
  • We'll also be experimenting with exhaust fans in select windows to get as close as we can to negative air pressure in open-space areas 

Disinfectant Sprays in All Rooms

  • Disinfectant sprays and paper towels will be added to all offices for members to use as they'd like
  • While coronavirus has not been shown to spread easily via surfaces, cold and flu viruses do and keeping those buggers away from your immune system is important, especially this season

Additional Private Offices

  • We'll be adding more offices to the top floor of Stacks that will be available for half and full day bookings
  • If you are currently on a desk plan and would prefer an office, let me know and we can help if cost is a challenge

If you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, I'm always available to chat.

Message me on the Stacks Slack, email [email protected], or call 215.385.5251.

And if you're wondering how and why I would possibly want to know so much about COVID...my primary source of reliable COVID-related information is the podcast This Week in Virology. They publish two episodes per week with a panel of infectious disease experts, clinicians, science reporters, and researchers breaking down the validity of the latest news and guidance around the pandemic. The episodes are long, but I highly recommend listening to get an objective, non-partisan perspective on the science of the virus.

That's all for now.

Stack on,

Jon

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