Cerevance helped by COEL to make their work space safe

Cerevance, the cutting-edge pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge Science Park recently reached out to COEL, commercial fit out and design company based in Cambridge and Oxford for advice and help in facilitating their employees return to the workplace.

Having just received $45 million series B funding round from amongst others: Bill Gates, GV (previously Google Ventures) and Foresite Capital, the team at Cerevance were understandably keen to continue their pioneering research in identifying novel therapeutic targets for central nervous systems.

COEL designed a strategy which met the Government’s safeguarding guidelines and at the same time prioritised the Cerevance team’s working requirements. A one-way system was installed in the office with clear, visable signage for staff to understand exactly the direction they need to go from the minute they enter the office and as they move around the workplace throughout the day. A new configuration of the desks was drawn up which allowed each employee to have their own workstation. Some desks were taken out and space in the board room was utilised to accommodate 7 of the desks previously in the main communal area. Desk and floor standing screens have been used to segregate certain areas and minimise infection. Clever positioning of carpet tiles to highlight social distancing is also underway. This is a service COEL are increasingly being required to apply as they help companies meet the Government requirements without compromising on their workplace design.

Todd Lowings, Facilities Manager at Cerevance commented on these essential changes to the workplace: “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 What’s App 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. COEL were incredibly reactionary in the advice they gave us as to what measures needed to be taken and the help they gave us in applying the new ideal. 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.”



With over 30 years’ experience in design and fit-out, COEL delivers innovative workplace solutions.

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