COVID-19 Return to Work Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Return to Work Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

All information in this FAQ is subject to change according to public health and safety guidelines.

FAQ Categories

1. General Building Questions
2. Meeting Room & Visitor Questions
3. Specific Building Questions
4. Community Animation Questions
5. Policy Questions



1. General Building Questions

Is Innovation Works allowed to open under the Government Framework Phase 2?
Yes. We have done extensive research, including discussions with other co-working spaces nationally. Innovation Works will re-open in adherence with public health guidelines on physical distancing, capacity and hygiene procedures.

Will co-tenant members and visitors be required to check in and out?
Yes. During business hours (8:30am-4:30pm), co-tenant members and visitors will be asked to stop at the front desk for check-in and check-out for contact tracing purposes. Welcome Desk Volunteers will check people in/out via the iPad. When coming in outside of business hours, co-tenant members will be required to manually check in and check out with a sign up sheet left at the front desk.

Will co-tenant members still have 24/7 building access?
Yes. We will be monitoring capacity and ask that flex desk users reserve their spots via Office RnD to maintain capacity levels during open hours. When coming in outside of business hours, co-tenant members will be required to manually check in and check out with a sign up sheet left at the front desk.

Will there be any changes to the use of flex desks?
Everyone who wants to use a flex desk must reserve their space on Office RnD in advance.  We will be using Office RnD  to book flex desks in order to manage capacity and ensure social distancing.  We ask that once you have arrived and checked in that you go directly to your work area and limit your movement within the space. If you have not reserved a desk and we are already at capacity, we will not be able to accept any walk-in requests for a flex desk.

Will I have to wear a face mask in the building?
Yes. As per the City of London by-law, face masks are mandatory in all public spaces. We ask that co-tenant members and guests bring their own reusable face masks, but we will provide single use masks for those who need them. 

Will I have to wear a face mask if I am in my office?
If you are alone in your designated office, you do not have to wear a face mask. If anyone enters your office it is required.

Will I have to wear a face mask if I am behind a physical barrier, such as plexiglass?
If you are behind a physical barrier such as plexiglass you are not required to wear a face mask.

Will there be hand sanitizer provided?
Yes. Dispensers will be placed at every floor entrance and exit as well as in high traffic areas (kitchens, the Commons, etc.)

How will you be handling the sanitization of high-touch surfaces?
We will have a day porter from our cleaning service Cleanworks come from 11 a.m - 2 p.m daily to perform additional cleaning in the building. In addition to this, we will have volunteers cleaning high-touch surfaces during morning and afternoon shifts. We will provide spray bottles with cleaner proven to kill other human coronaviruses that you can use to clean your workspace when you are finished. We will be providing hand sanitizer at high traffic areas all over the building. We are very cognizant of the government guideline to clean high-touch surfaces every two hours. Additionally,, we will be providing a special door opening pocket tool for everyone to use to reduce using fingers or hands as much as possible.

What considerations have been made to ensure the air is clean?
We are increasing our filter exchanges in the HVAC systems from quarterly (4x/year) to once every two months (6x/year). We were already changing the filters at the current (COVID-19) recommended frequency, but we have decided to increase to every two months to be extra cautious. Additionally, the building's HVAC fans run continuously to improve filtering, air circulation, and increase fresh air exchange. Our air volume is exchanged with fresh air at a rate of 15-20% every time it cycles through our HVAC system. We have had a complete review of the system with our service provider and have regular maintenance checks.

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2. Meeting Room & Visitor Questions

Will there be any changes to the meeting room rental process?
Both external and co-tenant member meeting room bookings will be done in the same process as pre-COVID-19. However, there are new reduced room capacities in effect, based on social distancing guidelines, that will be listed in the reservation system and on our website.

What can visitors expect when they visit Innovation Works? What are our expectations for visitors?
Visitors will be required to check in and check out at the Welcome Desk (the Welcome Desk Volunteer will do this with the iPad) and follow all building policies. These policies will be very clear, as they will be posted at the Welcome Desk.

Can we allow visitors who just need to use the facilities?
In keeping with our inclusive values, we will allow people to use the facilities if needed. Like everyone else, they will be expected to sanitize their hands, check in/out at the desk, and follow the one-directional walkways.

Will members of the public (non-co-tenant members) still be able to book meeting rooms?
Yes. Both external and co-tenant member meeting room bookings will be done in the same process as pre-COVID-19. However, new room capacities will be listed in the reservation system based on social distancing guidelines.

How will you ensure cleaning between uses for flex desks/phone rooms/etc?
We are requesting that co-tenant members and guests clean these spaces before and after use. We will have spray bottles with disinfectants, disposable paper towels available at all of these areas along with signage reminding users to do their part to sanitize their work station.  

What will be the capacity of each floor/meeting room?

Meeting Room Capacity

Meeting Room


Sol’n Lab





Collab Station

4th Floor Empty

Pre-COVID Capacity









New - Boardroom Style









New - Classroom Style









Floor capacities, excluding permanent offices, meeting rooms, and phone rooms:
Basement: 3 in kitchen/quiet space; one at a time for mail
First Floor Commons: 23 people
Second: 24 people
Third: 22 people
Fourth: 8 people

Table types:
Flex  desks/Commons high top tables: 4 people, one in each quadrant of sneeze guard
Hives: 2 people with sneeze guard
Commons low tables: 2 people with sneeze guard, 1 person without
Couches: One person
Welcome desk: One volunteer

Room types:
Kitchens: Maximum 2 people
Bathrooms: One person at a time
Printer areas: One person at a time
Elevator: One person at a time
Phone rooms: One person at a time


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3. Specific Building Questions

Can I still sit wherever I want?
You can choose where to sit in common areas, however. we ask that if you choose one place to occupy and minimize your movement in the building, keeping all personal items to a minimum.  Flex desk users are required to reserve their spot prior to coming into the building on Office RnD.

Will we still be able to use the kitchen areas?
Yes, but the following policies are now in place:

  • Only two people at a time in the kitchen: one at the sink/dishwasher/counter and one at the fridge/island. Congregating in the kitchen will not be permitted during Return Stage B.
  • Please follow the one-directional walkway in the kitchen and maintain a 6ft distance.
  • When storing items in the fridge, co-tenant members must wipe down their own items with disinfectant/wash their own items at the sink before eating and must wipe the - handles of the fridge with disinfectant when finished.
  • We encourage co-tenants to bring their own dishes and take them home each night.
  • Dishes may not under any circumstances be left in the sink - please wash by hand immediately, add them to the dishwasher, or use your own dishes that you will bring home at the end of the day.
  • Communal food will not be permitted - please only eat your own food and put it away when you are finished.

How can I physically distance in the bathroom?
During Return Stage B, only one person will be permitted in each bathroom at a time. Every bathroom in the building will be treated as gender-neutral. There will be sliding occupancy markers on the door of every bathroom to indicate when it is in use.

Can I still bring my dog to the third floor?
Yes :)

Will Edgar & Joe’s be open?
Not yet. Edgar & Joe’s is currently assessing their return plan.

Will people who store bikes in the south end of the basement be required to enter through the front door?
Yes.  You can enter via the ramp.  We have temporary bike racks set up in the Edgar & Joe’s seating area to avoid the need to bring bikes to the lower level, reducing touch required.

I use a wheelchair/prefer not to take stairs. How will the one-directional walkways work for me?
You can enter and exit through the accessible entrance with the ramp at the front of the building. Every floor’s one-directional walkway has been checked to ensure 1) there is always a path back to the elevator, and 2) the pathway is always wide enough to fit a wheelchair. On floors where the main path does not loop directly back to the elevator, we have added one-at-a-time hallways to make sure everyone who needs the elevator can get there without compromising social distancing. Elevators will have a capacity of one person at a time (or multiple people from the same household). If you have any questions/concerns about accessibility, please don’t hesitate to email Andrew at

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4. Community Animation Questions

Are events still happening in the Commons?
Not yet. Events will not be permitted until Return Stage C, where event capacity will be capped according to government guidelines. Events with unlimited capacity will not happen until Return Stage D.

Will animation activities still be happening? (ie. Community Yoga, Salad Club)
Yes, but they will continue to happen virtually until Return Stage C. In Return Stage C, some activities will transition back to in-person meetings, with a cap on attendance (ie. conversation groups like Social Connection Jams/Continuity Jams). In Return Stage D, some animation activities will be permitted to happen in person and will continue to be monitored. Events involving food (ie. Salad Club, Community Barbeques) and physical activity (ie. Community Yoga) will stay online until Return Stage D. Some activities that have had success in the online format may continue virtual meetings permanently.

Will I still be able to hang out in common areas (lounges, the Commons, etc.?)
Yes. The furniture has been moved to be properly physically distanced. The capacity of such areas has been reduced as a result. You are asked to wipe down areas with sanitizers and wipes found by these areas when you leave your chosen space.


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5. Policy Questions

What should I do if someone isn’t following COVID-19 policies?
Great question!  Like anything at Innovation Works we rely on our community to work from a place of mutual respect and we’re relying on all co-tenants and guests to uphold our health and safety guidelines.  It’s OK to say “I need some space,” or “I’m just going to move a few feet from you.”  If this is uncomfortable for you or if any issues arise, please see Andrew or Lore.

How will I know if someone who is sick has been at Innovation Works? Will there be contact tracing measures in place?
Yes, we will be contact tracing by having everyone who enters Innovation Works check in and out. Along with the check-in, we will ask questions upon entry, including a symptoms check. Anyone who reports having experienced COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter the building. We will rely on any co-tenant member or guest who contracts COVID-19 to report to the health unit who will instruct on best practices. 

Do I have to follow the policies if I’ve already been sick and have since recovered?
Yes. All policies are in place for everyone at all times. Even if you yourself are not capable of catching COVID-19, you are still capable of passing it on to others.

What level of responsibility will Pillar staff have in monitoring and observing protocols?
Pillar staff will be expected to follow all COVID-19 protocols and lead by example. Like any other co-tenant members, we expect Pillar staff to help remind people to follow the protocols if they see someone not following the rules, and we expect Pillar staff to be receptive to similar feedback.

What if I don’t feel comfortable or someone is not following the rules? How will you deal with issues that arise?
Pillar and Innovation Works staff will be observing and monitoring protocol. If you feel uncomfortable approaching others in a kind way to remind others of those protocols, please notify Lore or Andrew, we’re happy to step in if needed.

What is your outbreak policy in the event that someone tests positive for COVID-19?

  • In the event of an outbreak, we will close the building for 24 hours to allow for deep cleaning. This deep cleaning will include fogging the building, as well as cleaning with an antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal cleaning solution that is proven to kill other human coronaviruses. You will be notified of this closure via email, as well as signage on all doors of the building.
  • When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the public health unit will begin case tracing in order to determine who may have come into close contact with the infected individual. We will work closely with the health unit to assist them in this process (this is where out sign in/out logs will be useful).
  • The Health Unit will identify who came into contact with the person who is infected and will notify 1) anyone who should be tested for COVID-19, and 2) anyone who should stay home and self-isolate.
  • We will open the building after 24 hours unless we are advised otherwise by the health unit. Those who were not contacted by the health unit will be able to enter the building again after the 24 hours have passed. We ask those who were contacted to stay home and follow the health unit’s instructions.
  • When the building is re-opened after an outbreak, we will always revert back to Return Stage B protocols, regardless of the stage of opening at the time of the outbreak.

Will you inform us if someone contracts COVID19 at Innovation Works?
Yes.  We will continue to work with the public health unit and adhere to all protocols laid out, including communication to our co-tenant members and the public. 

What about my rent?
For the months of May, June and July, we have surveyed all co-tenant members and asked what you are able to pay (full rent, 25% of rent or other). We have been monitoring government subsidies and at this point feel they would not apply. Even so, we have and will honour your request for reductions when indicated. We want to be here when you are ready to return and understand everyone’s circumstance is different.   

How will emergency protocols be impacted in the case of a fire alarm, tornado warning, etc.?
Normal protocol will apply. To leave the building in the case of fire, we ask that you follow directional signage and exit through the back exit. For tornados, we would  manage with the reduced capacities in lower levels. 

How will Innovation Works alert co-tenant members, staff and the public if we have to amend or reverse protocols?
We will be in continuous communication with you during the coming weeks, much like we have been. There will be a COVID-19 page accessible from the homepage of the Innovation Works website with all of the health and safety protocols and new operational procedures that we will keep up to date. Special communications will be clearly labelled in the subject line via email.


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