The following is from Jonathan Andersson, a coliving consultant living and working at K9 Coliving in Stockholm. He and his Coronavirus Task Force team (shout out to Marica Leone) have provided us the K9 Guidelines and sent along some extra insights in a video recording that we have transcribed below:
Jonathan Andersson shares with us how K9 has been handling the onset of coronavirus. K9 formed a Task Force to put together guidelines in response to the coronavirus. These guidelines included instructions on:
- Self-isolating if ill
- Keeping up with household communications
- Social distancing
- Washing hands
- A community-led cleaning schedule
- A suggested no-guest policy
- Cancellation of K9 external events
- Mindfulness around travel and interaction
- Notes on maintaining good mental health
One challenge that K9 has encountered is being able to enforce these guidelines. Community members have responded to the threat of the virus in very different ways: some being careful, and some being relaxed (e.g. spending time in communal areas while ill). One member of the Task Force in particular has been helpful in strongly promoting the guidelines to others. Over time, through discussion and growing knowledge of the seriousness of the situation, community members have begun to adhere to the guidelines more. Jonathan emphasised how he felt that communicating and being open and transparent enables others to understand where you’re coming from. He commented that perhaps not making time for the community to give feedback on the guidelines when they were first issued may have limited the buy-in that the community had in adhering to them.
In order to support people who are ill a buddy system has been set up. Community members record if they are ill and when their symptoms started, and other community members support them through bringing them food, and making trips to the pharmacy/grocery store on their behalf.The community hasn’t encountered any issues yet as to residents being unable to pay their rent. Although, some people who were due to move in have delayed the move-in date due to the added complications of living in a coliving community during this time. Jonathan acknowledged that further instances of this may happen, and that people getting laid off may result in residents being unable to pay their rent too – this is a possible future challenge that K9 may have to handle.
COVID-19 K9 Guidelines
In order to prevent the risk of getting infected and to infect people outside K9, there are a number of guidelines we should all try to follow.
Please, be responsible and understand what these mean. Keep in mind that we live together with 50+ people and, therefore, the risk of getting infected and spreading the infection outside is higher for us compared to people who live alone or with a few roommates. We all have the responsibility of containing this infection as much as we can, inside and outside K9.
If you decide to stay at K9, you should:
● Be ready for long periods of self-isolation (a minimum of 2 weeks and up to several months, especially if someone of us will test positive for the virus)
○ Please, understand what this means for you (for example if yo u are a parent)
○ If you need to self-isolate, you should be entitled to your salary, whether or not you can carry out your work from home. You can speak with your HR department or manager to find out more.
● Keep yourself updated about the house (e.g. check Slack regularly, at least #announcements)
● Make yourself reachable (e.g. through Slack, Facebook, mobile phone etc.)
○ If you are not engaged in social media, consider making an effort for these basic communications or at least let the community know how they can reach you)
● Be prepared to work from home
○ Every day before coming home, bring your laptop (and/or anything else you need) with you at home because you may not be able to go to the office the next day (everyone should do this even if they are not living at K9)
● Know that K9 events with external people are canceled
● Limit your guests to the house AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
○ K9 is not accessible to guests that have been in outbreak areas (so far these are: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and the state of Tyrol in Austria, but this list will most likely be extended to new countries soon)
○ You are responsible to gather this information about your guests and to reinforce this guideline
● Limit your non-essential travels (within and outside Sweden)
● Wash your hands properly and regularly:
○ As soon as you arrive at K9
○ Don’t wash your hands in the kitchen
○ Before you touch anything in the kitchen, you wash your hands in your room and dry them with your personal towel ○ Kitchen towels are used only for drying clean kitchen utensils
○ We advise you to have your own hand towel and kitchen towel
● Stock-up enough food and essential items (e.g. soap, shampoo, toilet paper) for two weeks
○ Even before COVID-19, Swedish authorities generally recommended keeping enough food for two weeks at home as a way of being prepared for different kinds of emergency
○ Remember that in case of self-isolation we can still receive deliveries of food (food can be left out of the door by the delivery guy so we don’t get in contact with him/her)
● We advise every floor to make routines to clean surfaces that many people use (e.g. door handles)● Make sure the community has your emergency contact details
● Make an effort to limit physical contact. This includes:
○ Shaking hands
It’s everyone’s own decision but please remember that if you keep being in physical contact with several people you are a higher risk of spreading the disease inside and outside K9. Each one of us is responsible for containing the spreading as much as possible. We represent a risk for people outside K9.
● Be wise about your social interactions outside K9 (e.g. night clubs, public transportation during rush hours, high density people activities). Not only because you increase your risk (and the house risk) of getting the infection, but especially because you risk to spread it around. Since you live at K9, your chance of getting infected is higher than other people, and as a consequence you represent a risk for other people outside K9.
● Interviews will only take place online (e.g. Skype or similar)
● New residents should sign their contract on the day of moving in since we cannot guarantee until that day that they could move in for 3 reasons:
1. The house may be quarantined (and we cannot foresee whether and when that may happen)
2. The potential new resident may need to self-isolate prior entrance date
3. The potential new resident may come from a country/region with a new outbreak
WHAT HAPPEN IF WE NEED TO SELF-ISOLATE OR IF SOMEONE IS POSITIVE TO COVID-19?
● We will follow medical advice (they will let us know if the whole house needs to isolate and for how long, and you should be ready to do so)
● If you have a place where you can self-isolate outside the house (e.g. a friend’s apartment) you could consider that and make sure to prepare everything ASAP
● Will be informed of the above points
● There are guidelines for people living in the same accommodation as the patient. We will follow these or similar governmental guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan -novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for- patients-undergoing-testing/advice-sheet-for-people-who-live-in-the-same-accommodation-as- the-patient
● Don’t forget your mental health
● If you decide to leave K9, remember that going without social contact for an extended time can be tough, especially if you’re also feeling ill or anxious. Think early on about how you’ll mitigate that, perhaps by arranging phone or video calls with friends , spending time on a relaxing hobby, or ensuring you have some treats in the house like coffee, tea and chocolate (from the Local Sweden)
● If you decide to stay at K9, seek support in each other. We are a community and we are here together, now even more.The support team (Marica, Hanna, Suhas, Hugo)We are no experts but we will do our best to help during this time. Please reach out if questions.