PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU, A MEMBER OF YOUR TEAM, OR A VISITOR TO YOUR COMPANY HAS BEEN PRESUMED POSITIVE OR HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19, AND HAS BEEN TO IMPACT HUB BOSTON, PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY AT TEAM@IMPACTHUBBOSTON.NET
Impact Hub Boston Response to COVID-19
Current Policies at a Glance:
Date: August 31, 2020:
Dear heads of CIC clients in the US,
The topic of COVID testing has been very much in the news lately. I’m sure you have read that many universities are performing frequent COVID testing to help keep their communities safe.
I’m pleased to announce that CIC is now offering you attractively-priced, on-site COVID testing at all CIC US locations both for you and your families.
We have been actively testing CIC staff for a few weeks now, and we will extend this to you on September 14th. (Note that we do have a few slots in each city for clients who would like to get going sooner.
If you’d like take advantage of this, please see the instructions at the bottom of this note.
Founder and CEO
** The Details **
The testing is being performed in the mornings most days of the week. Expect a follow-up note from your GM with local specifics. We believe this is a first-of-its-kind offering in the nation from a shared workspace.
The test itself is a nasal swab, akin to cleaning your nostril with a Q-tip. The swabs are analyzed using a high-sensitivity PCR process at the first lab we are working with: the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Note, this is not the older, uncomfortable naso-pharyngeal PCR test that you may have heard of, nor is it the lower-accuracy antigen “rapid test”.
We were inspired to pursue this work by noted author/physician Atul Gawande and healthcare strategist Nikhil Bhojwani, of Recon Strategy (a CIC client). In their recent Harvard Business Review article, A Better Way to Scale Covid Testing, they coin the term “assurance testing.” They believe a key societal response to COVID-19 includes frequent and widespread testing of healthy people, with the notion that this will allow businesses, schools and other organizations to reopen safely. Atul and Nikhil have been advising us extensively in these efforts.
These tests will be offered by a new offshoot of CIC we have launched, CIC Health. CIC Health is a founding member of a collaboration we helped create called the Assurance Testing Alliance, Through it, we are now providing these services to dozens of schools, universities, and elderly care facilities around the country.
Your company will need to sign an agreement with CIC Health in advance to be able to test anyone. Your employees and their family members who want to test are asked to register for their test a day in advance, sign a waiver, and pick a time slot. It takes about 3 minutes to test.
The first lab we are working with, the Broad Institute, currently guarantees test results within an average 24 hours of receipt at their lab in Cambridge, MA. Your site General Manager will give you an idea of real-world turnaround times they are experiencing at your location. We are in the process of adding additional labs, which may make things even faster.
Broad offers its test processing capacity in service of the public health needs of Massachusetts and surrounding areas, supporting hospitals and clinics, nursing homes, at-risk communities, and higher education. It has established a processing pipeline that allows it to serve these communities with low-cost testing while also having enough capacity to work with organizations like us to extend testing to other organizations. We are fortunate to be part of this.
The typical price for COVID-19 virus tests these days (e.g. if you go to your local pharmacy) is ~$150/test. The partnerships CIC Health has established with testing labs allows us to offer this test at $70/test for one-off testing, and $60/test if your organization signs up for a program of repeat testing once per week or more often. This is an all-in price that covers the costs of our collection tents, hiring clinicians to collect samples, obtaining physician services to order the test and follow-up with those testing positive, required reporting to the government, as well as the underlying cost of the test itself.
We are simultaneously offering our tests at $50/test to outside organizations that set up their own sample collection operations, such as schools, with a minimum order of 100 tests per month. Please feel free to pass this note on to groups that may be interested.
With the goal of increasing the level of virus testing at CIC, for those CIC clients that sign up regular testing at least once per week, CIC is offering to subsidize the price of the tests down to $30/test through October 14th.
We are actively working to bring the test price down further through the use of new technologies, such as pooled testing, and expect prices to fall. We are closely tracking developments in so-called “rapid tests” which provide results in just 15 minutes and can be very cheap. These are not yet ready for deployment at scale, due to a reported high rate of false negatives and positives when used early in one’s infection cycle. That said, we believe there may be a role for them.
Your company could choose to take advantage of CIC’s testing capability in various ways. You could just offer testing as needed after trips or when there is a special cause for concern. You could test all your employees every three days (as Harvard is doing for undergrads). You could test once a week (as Yale is). You could divide your employees into two groups who alternate coming to the office, each testing once a week. You could have employees come together occasionally for 2-3 “safer” days right after they get a negative result. How you use this capability is up to you.
Note that if someone on your team has symptoms and thinks they may have COVID, or has any reason to believe they may have been exposed to someone with an active infection, we recommend that you start by contacting your doctor. Some of our testing sites are outdoors, reducing the risk of transmission, and at these sites you are permitted to test with us even if you are symptomatic.
If you want to learn more about and sign up for this service, we will be holding webinars starting this Thursday September 3rd, and every Tuesday and Thursday (11-11:30am and 2-2:30pm) where we’ll explain more about the process, test and next steps. You can sign up for these webinars through this link. Alternatively, please feel free to reach out to our CIC Health team at email@example.com.
Do you have even more questions? We have put together this detailed FAQ with more answers to additional questions you may have.
Date: June 09, 2020:
Notice to Impact Hub Boston Members
Impact Hub Boston is committed to the highest level of safety for our members and staff. Starting June 1st we have been in the initial phase of re-opening based on state and city guidelines. While members are still encouraged to work from home during this time, we are open for business for members who would like to come into the building. Safety protocols and social distancing are in effect throughout the Hub and the rest of the building.
Since the Impact Hub Boston cowork space is located within the CIC Boston campus, please also visit the cic.com/covid19 page for all CIC’s communications, safety guidelines, Reopening Safety Plan and COVID-19 Resources by state.
May 14th Communication:
Dear Heads of Hub organizations,
I want to call your attention to the important message below from our colleagues at CIC regarding the re-opening of Impact Hub Boston.
Mark’s message below provides a lot of additional information for you and your team, but I want to especially call out the following points:
- If you are sick or think you may have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus, please consult with your physician and stay home until the danger is past. And please let us know what’s going on for you — we depend on each other!
- We will ask you to fill out this symptom self-check form from CIC each day before you enter 50 Milk,
- If you can continue to work from home during this period, we encourage you to do so,
- Masks are required in all common and shared areas at 50 Milk, including coworking and conference rooms,
- We anticipate designating a special area for eating and drinking, where masks can be removed while remaining at a 6′ distance from others for a short period of time).
- These are new habits for us all to form, and we ask everyone’s patience and care with each other as we navigate this together. We are all responsible for the safety of the people around us, as well as our own safety.
- We will have limited staff on-site during “Limited Operations Mode”, and part of their role will be to help us all observe proper safety precautions. Your cooperation is very much appreciated!
The team and I will be glad to address any questions you have — please note that we are working on an update for you regarding your charges during this period.
Executive Chairman and Founder
Impact Hub Boston
Dear CIC Client Heads:
I’m sending you an advance of the below message going out to all CIC cardholders in about an hour. As you may be aware, Governor Baker plans to release the full details of the MA reopening phases on Monday, May 18. While we wait for the specifics, we have heard informally that office users will be allowed to return to work to some degree. In line with this information, CIC will move on May 18th from “Closed for Normal Business Mode” back to “Limited Operations Mode,” and will remain in that mode through the end of May.
At the same time, the Governor is asking those who can continue to work mostly or entirely from home to do so. It will be up to each client to consider whether a need to come into the office is sufficiently important to do so, and to honor the requests made by our public officials.
While we work to implement the initiatives outlined in the Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards and CIC’s Safety Plan, we ask that you review Governor Baker’s order requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public places where social distancing is not possible. Please note that we expect you to enforce this in your office, as CIC staff will still only be responsible for enforcing this in common areas.
Finally, I know many of you are carefully watching expenses; I will have an update for you on when CIC will go back to charging full fees in the next few days. For now, please let me know what other questions I can answer for you, and be well.
On Monday, Governor Baker announced the four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy and published Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards. CIC’s Safety Plan already fully encompasses these standards, and goes beyond them, so we are in good shape. Though the full details of the government’s reopening plan will not be released until Monday, May 18, I want to inform you all of CIC’s plans for our re-opening.
While we still wait for the specifics of the MA reopening phases, we have heard informally that office users will be allowed to return to work to some degree. At the same time, the Governor is asking those who can continue to work mostly or entirely from home to do so. It will be up to each client to consider whether a need to come into the office is sufficiently important to do so, and to honor the requests made by our public officials.
In line with this plan, CIC will move on May 18th from “Closed for Normal Business Mode” back to “Limited Operations Mode,” and will remain in that mode through the end of May.
During the balance of May we encourage those who can work from home to do so, coming in only when and if you judge it is important to do so. We are busy implementing the changes to our facilities outlined in the CIC Safety Plan, and do expect to have most of it in place as of May 18. We will use the balance of May to complete most or all of the changes.
If you haven’t already, please review the safety plan and specifically note the following:
- CIC MA spaces will be deep-cleaned this weekend and weekly thereafter for the time being. Our team is continuing diligent cleaning of all common areas and high touch surfaces multiple times a day (private offices will be cleaned on Fridays).
- Masks must be worn at all times in all shared areas. We will be instituting a compliance regime around this starting this Monday, and anyone exhibiting unsafe behavior will be approached and asked to correct it.
- All CIC clients and visitors (which we ask you to keep to a minimum) will be asked to conduct a symptom self-check prior to every visit. A new study from Harvard suggests that this will identify 80% of those who get COVID.
- CIC staff will be on site in limited numbers – please reach out to your community team virtually (by email or phone) to limit interactions whenever possible.
We are also working with our property managers to do as much as we can to enhance safety and well-being for everyone operating out of CIC in Massachusetts, including MERV filter upgrades where possible, adjusting humidity levels throughout the buildings, and enforcing elevator maximums in alignment with social distancing guidelines.
As of this week, we have already moved back into “Limited Operations Mode” at some sites (Providence, RI and Rotterdam, the Netherlands). Early reports from staff and clients is that the return is going well. People seem to value our new safety measures, and we have not run into any significant issues. Given this, we are optimistic here in Massachusetts as well.
Starting June 1, we plan to move into what we are calling our “Initial Phase of Re-Opening.” By then we expect to have all of our key safety measures in place, and we will consider ourselves to be substantially in what one might call our new-normal version of “normal operations.” Our goal is to be fully ready to support you, in line with current public health guidelines.
We know that many are eager to get back to the office, while others are still quite concerned with the COVID-19 situation. We expect there to be a transition period, with people returning to the office in growing numbers, but still considerably fewer than in pre-COVID times.
As we all prepare to move into this next phase of reopening, we wanted to provide the following resources which remain available to you:
- Access to Massachusetts specific resources for companies grappling with challenges related to COVID-19. These include local regulations, federal business support programs, and more.
- The opportunity to attend a robust schedule of virtual events, including networking and learning opportunities from across CIC’s global network. Attached is a guide to support your own virtual events as you seek to maximize the opportunity to reach a broader, remote audience.
- Support from CIC’s global staff to assist on client projects including: translation services, proof-reading, photo editing, graphic design, web design, video editing, audio editing, copywriting, writing, social media, photography, and more. If this is of interest, please submit this form and the CIC team will follow up.
- For those of you who are continuing to work from home, Herman Miller is offering CIC clients a 15% discount on their retail website using code CIC15. Additionally, CIC MA clients can purchase these Aeron chairs directly from our vendor for $650 plus tax. If you would like more information about directly purchasing an Aeron chair, please email Jenna Harmon for details.
Thank you for your compliance with these guidelines. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. The CIC MA team looks forward to a safe and productive return for our community.
Date: March 17, 2020:
Hello, everyone! We hope today was productive and fruitful for you! We missed seeing you all at the Hub! (none of us were there — were you?)
Only a little news for you today, on the topic of mail and packages:
During this time of Limited Operations Mode, mail and packages are still being delivered to 50 Milk Street, but we are not delivering mail to your cubbies on the 15th floor. If you are expecting important mail essential for your work that you absolutely must pick up during this time of limited operations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Mail will not be sorted as usual unless you email us. If you have essential mail that you must pick up and you let us know, we will make a temporary folder with your name on it in the 16th floor mailroom. Packages are being sorted as normal and can be picked up on the 16th floor if essential — there is no need to inform us for packages.
Note this is a new way of doing things for us, so please bear with us as we learn how to serve you better.
As always, if you have questions or issues, please reach out to us directly on the ask-the-hub-team channel on Slack or email email@example.com.
Date: March 16, 2020:
In response to the growth of the number of virus cases, and to protect the health of our members, our staff, and the people of Boston, we have moved today to a “Limited Operations Mode”. Impact Hub Boston members are strongly urged to work from home or another place where they can avoid or limit the risk of infection.” “Social distancing” is the word of the day, and we should all be practicing it to support public health.
For those of our members who need to retrieve belongings or for those members who believe that they have essential work to do which can only happen from our Hub, it is open and accessible with your key.
All events scheduled for our community have been cancelled through March 31, 2020 as a precaution.
If you do come into our facility, please observe the following precautions to keep everyone safe:
- use the sanitizing gel mounted to the wall in the elevator lobby to clean your hands,
- there may be a touchless thermometer there as well — if so, please use it to take your temperature. If it is more than 99.1F, we ask you not to enter our facility.
If you have any guests coming to Impact Hub Boston, we ask you to have them observe the same precautions.
For more information on how we are adapting to the crisis, please see the information shared by our partner, CIC.
This is a difficult moment for many. Some parts of our Greater Boston community, in particular, are disproportionately affected. We are asking everyone to consider donating to the Boston Foundation COVID 19 Response Fund to support the organizations that are on the front lines of dealing with the effects of COVID-19 on elders and other especially vulnerable people in the Greater Boston area.
Date: March 11, 2020:
This developing situation is unusual, and it requires all of our close attention. We recognize that you are likely being inundated by COVID-19 information. Some of you have already done your own research. If you read nothing else, please review the below bullet-points. We have provided a lot of information appended to this email for those who want to dig deeper, or learn about how Impact Hub Boston is responding.
To keep our community safe and healthy, and to slow the spread of this disease, we encourage you to follow these best practices:
Tell us immediately if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. We will report to authorities and follow their guidance.
Consider working from home when feasible, while this unfolds. This is not an ask from Impact Hub Boston. It is subject to your company’s policies.
Take your temperature before coming to work
Stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days if you are experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath; after you return from an outbreak country; or if you have had close contact with someone with a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19
Go home immediately if you develop the above symptoms during the day
Wash your hands several times a day, and avoid touching your face; if you must cough, use a tissue
Eliminate your travel when and where possible, including personal travel. Harvard’s policy on this is: “We strongly urge extreme caution and judgment for [even] your personal domestic travel”.
Replace meetings and visits with video; don’t attend large group events. Consider a 10-person cap for in-person meetings.
Spread out in our workspace.
Touch things less. Avoid shaking hands. Use a knuckle to call elevators.
Again, wash your hands especially after touching public surfaces (e.g., subway car handholds). This is the WHO recommended method. If you could use a little humor right now, here is a light-hearted take on it out of Vietnam.
The WHO recommends staying home with even a low-grade fever, of 37.3C (99.14F) or higher, or if you are on fever-reducing medications (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen).
While the above are our recommendations, keep in mind each company here will make its own official decisions and rules. We encourage you to be in touch with your leadership if you have questions about what is appropriate.
What’s the latest on COVID-19?
A lot is not yet fully known yet about COVID-19, but the WHO Director’s take, as quoted in the New York Times March 6, is striking:
“This is not a drill,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. “This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”
The situation is evolving quickly. The number of confirmed cases in your area does not tell the full story. For instance, we had only one confirmed case in Massachusetts two weeks ago. At that same time, a nearby biotech held a 175-person leadership meeting. Now 70 cases have been identified from that meeting, and the company has closed its offices worldwide, sending 7,400 employees home. Similar situations have come to light from other large meetings as far back as two weeks ago.
Some experts project a potential slowing of the illness with warmer weather. If so, delaying its spread will be a boon to everyone. Until we know more, we are asking you to follow these protocols as best you can.
What Is Impact Hub Boston Doing to Promote Health and Safety?
Our goal is to help keep the entire Impact Hub Boston community – staff, clients, family, and friends – stay safe and healthy. Specifically, we want to reduce the impact of anyone who comes to Impact Hub Boston who is a COVID-19 carrier.
We are in the coming days:
Encouraging everyone to follow the protocols outlined above
Modifying our facility to be as “touch-free” as possible
Working with you to spread out in your workspace. Neither the CDC nor WHO recommend a specific distance for workplaces, however, the CDC indicates that person-to-person infections are related to proximity within 6ft (2m). Spreading out will be more possible as some people choose to work from home. We may be able to help you with creative options.
Implementing a “COVID-19 Wellness Station” at the main entrance to our facility where we will ask everyone to gel their hands as they come in
Tours and meetings
We have cancelled all tours with people coming from CDC Level 2 and 3 countries.
Our sister organization, Venture Cafe, has suspended in-person gatherings. They are moving to a digital format. They are experiencing high virtual attendance and like this interim approach.
We have also suspended our weekly Wine Down here at Impact Hub Boston.
We are encouraging all planned future group meeting and event hosts to delay or cancel larger, in-person gatherings. For those groups over 25 people who do wish to go forward, we will require they employ an attendee screening function (discuss with our Events lead, Alexis).
If your company doesn’t have sufficient video collaboration tools, note that Google has made their enterprise-level video collaboration tools completely free until July. This could be an opportunity to learn new ways to work.
Below is a more detailed and developing list of many more actions we and our partner, CIC, are taking on an operational level. These will roll out progressively.
Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas and suggestions with us. Be assured we will continue our efforts to adapt our work environment to this evolving situation.
Additional information below that you may find helpful.
Additional Actions in Response
Facility and Operations
Performing multiple cleanings of common-area surfaces and high-traffic areas throughout the day
Switching temporarily to disposable plates/cups/cutlery in all kitchens
Installing footpulls in restrooms and other pull doors where possible so people needn’t use their hands to open the main doors (they are on order)
Ordering anti-microbial grips for public doors (conference rooms, phone booths, bathrooms, fridges etc.)
Installing additional hand sanitizer dispensers outside restrooms, in event spaces, in building lobbies, in kitchens, etc.
Pausing the provision of bulk food items with potential for cross-contamination
Stopping the sharing of left-over food items in the kitchens
Pausing community group events that we organize, such as WineDown
Supporting remote event participation by offering more reservable live-streaming cameras in event spaces to enable minimal in-person presence paired with increased video participation
Deploying more in-conference-room video systems
Posting signs in restrooms, shower and kitchens urging regular hand washing
Posting signs near water machines to reduce cross contamination
Input from Japan
CIC asked its Japan team to share some of the steps that businesses are doing there now to ensure safety. Japan is 2-3 weeks ahead of us and can give us a clue as to “what is to come”. We presume some of these measures will become common outside Japan in the next few weeks:
– The government has requested all primary and high schools to shut down
– The government has requested large-scale events to consider canceling or postponing
– Starting two weeks ago, many companies have set the guideline to mostly work from home, while not prohibiting coming to the office
– A small portion of companies have banned going to the office and physical meetings
– Many companies have banned meetings over 10 people and are postponing non-urgent meetings to later weeks
– The Tokyo Metropolitan Government earlier this week started fever (forehead temperature) screening for all visitors coming into its office building, and health clubs, for instance, are generally doing the same.