May 7, 2020
Any company that manufacturers a product is faced with not only figuring out how to support a remote workforce but also maintaining the safety and sanitization of a physical space in which employees need to work. As more people are isolated at home, they are turning to online shopping, and the demand for products is only going to increase (check out Amazon‘s plans to hire 100,000 new workers for warehouses and delivery service in the U.S.).
Many of our customers have been looking for advice on how to keep their studios running during this pandemic. We have taken important safety measures to ensure our employees are healthy and our physical space is clean and sanitized in order to keep operational. Here are some tips and tricks that may help your studio stay afloat during this uncertain time:
1. Equip your team with the right supplies. Ensure CDC approved supplies and cleaning agents are consistently at your team’s disposal. We recommend providing additional gloves, hand sanitizers, standard cleaning supplies, and disinfectants. Bleach and water is a staple of disinfecting, and it’s an easy an inexpensive solution to make.
2. Perform routine environmental cleaning. Ask each employee to spend 10-15 minutes disinfecting common surfaces with cleaning agents during a mid-day break and at the end of each day. Follow the directions on the label so that commonly used surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, robots, cart handles) are wiped down before and after each use. Lights, cameras and lenses can all be wiped down with disinfectant as this is standard practice in rental houses.
3. Set up multiple shifts. Breaking up your staff into two teams working separate, non-overlapping shifts is a good way to keep products flowing through your studio while minimizing disruption. This will also allow staff members who rely on public transportation to travel during off-peak hours and minimize their exposure to community spread. During each shift, we recommend creating two teams (e.g. Team A and Team B) that take their breaks and meals at different times.
4. Enforce social distancing. Photography studios have many moving parts – people are doing everything from unloading boxes, to discussing product styling, to delivering products to a set. Adopting the recommended six feet minimum distance will keep your staff comfortable with coming to work and will help minimize the spread of infection between employees. Setting up guidelines for staff interaction and physically moving photo sets further apart are great steps to achieving this as well. Tools such as Teams, Slack, and FaceTime are great ways to collaborate while minimizing the need to be face–to–face. Non-employees should not be allowed to enter your studio deliveries will need to continue for the studio to keep working, but drivers should not be allowed past your dock.
5. Clean, close and seal off meeting places near your studio space. In the case of our studio in Chicago, we sealed off any places that are not necessary for production. There are two main factors driving this: less areas to disinfect and discouraging group meetings. Conference rooms, business offices and most other public have been designated off limits. Bathroom and our kitchen area are still open but are disinfected on the same schedule as above.
6. Arm your studio lead with a thermometer. One of our customers equipped its merchandise manager with an ear and forehead thermometer. She is on point to take the temperature of her employees twice per day. If an employee shows any sign of fever, he/she is immediately sent home.
7. Stay home if A) you feel sick or B) have a family member at home with COVID-19. Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their manager and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure. Minimizing community spread is everyone’s responsibility during this event, and employers should encourage staff to stay home if they are feeling sick or have known contact with someone who has been infected.
You may be in a position where the above measures are proving difficult, and your studio needs to be locked down. In that case, 1WorldSync is ready and available to support any of your intermediary photography needs in order to avoid a mounting product backlog. Let us know if you’d like to discuss!