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Cerevance adapts Cambridge Science Park office to safeguard against Covid-19 with help from COEL

Cerevance, the Cambridge Science Park-based pharmaceutical company, has reconfigured its workplace to enable employees to return to work safely.

The company turned to Cambridge-based office fit out and design specialist COEL to devise a strategy that met the government’s Covid-19 safeguarding guidelines while prioritising the team’s working requirements.

Cerevance recently closed a $45million series B funding round, supported by Bill Gates, GV – previously Google Ventures – and Foresite Capital, among others, to propel its pioneering research into identifying novel therapeutic targets for central nervous system diseases.

A clearly-signed one-way system is now in place at the office, and a new configuration of desks ensures all employees have their own workstations.

Some desks were taken out and space in the boardroom was utilised to accommodate seven from the main communal area.

Desk and floor standing screens have been used to segregate areas and minimise the risk of infection, while careful positioning of carpet tiles is planned to help reinforce social distancing.

Todd Lowings, facilities manager at Cerevance, said:

Cerevance place prime concern on the safety of their employees and never more so than in this unchartered transition back to the workplace. The Cerevance management team understood many employees had mixed emotions about the return to the workplace and so communication across the team became a key element. Every employee was informed of the changes being made and had a chance to ask questions; regular emails were sent and management hosted team meetings allowing everyone to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have. A Whatsapp group was set up so that when the changes were implemented and the floor layout changed photos were to be sent to staff so that they would be familiar with the newly styled office when they returned. Once we had informed the employees of the proposed changes, we then needed the process to be done as quickly and productively as possible.”

Praising COEL for its responsiveness and guidance, he added:

In the course of a weekend they delivered the necessary changes including space planning the office, moving the desks and taking away any furniture which was now redundant. Due to the open communication with staff and the speed with which the new office layout has been created we are delighted to have greeted back nearly all employees with the exception of those with ongoing childcare issues.”

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