Being an early-stage startup in a highly competitive market, we know that we must rapidly expand our purification kit portfolio to support our first instrument product, which was launched this past November. However, doing so in an environment where our team was not safe to leave their homes and where the researchers we hoped to collaborate with could not go into their labs, was not something we planned for. Now, with our aggressive development plans, marketing programs and collaboration goals, like many other small companies, we are making every effort to accomplish all we can without compromising the safety of our employees, the Purigen team.
With our team’s safety as our primary concern, our initial response to the SIP was to immediately transition to a remote workforce. Whether we thought of ourselves as an essential business or not, we were not comfortable asking the team to come into the office without clear practices and policies that everyone agreed with.
During those first weeks of working from home we reviewed the guidelines from state and county officials and developed a plan for a phased return of essential team members to our laboratories. Following a deep cleaning of the office and laboratories, we reconfigured our workspaces to establish multiple isolated zones where laboratory work and manufacturing could take place. We assigned only a single person per zone at any given time. Certain doorways are now limited to emergency use only and every zone is stationed with cleaning supplies and masks are available just beyond the front entrance if needed.
With a re-configured workspace and a policy in place, we then had to determine how best to return our productivity to pre-SIP levels. First, we decided that all personnel who had no lab responsibilities would continue to work from home. Since we wanted to continue to limit the number of people in each zone to 1 for maximum safety, we also decided to institute a schedule with multiple shifts to provide the required amount of total lab time needed by our R&D and manufacturing teams. After lab work was completed onsite, as much data analysis as possible was to be conducted offsite (at home).
With this plan in place and the dedication of the Purigen team, we have restored our productivity levels to pre-SIP levels and are making progress on our project deliverables, as well as re-engaging with our collaborators. In addition, our process and procedures should minimize any chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus to others in our workplace in the unfortunate event where one of our team becomes infected. We are committed to moving forward in our new normal, safely, with our team coming first.