We as Makerspace were particularly affected by the COVID crisis. In the middle of March our members were no longer allowed to enter Happylab from one day to the other and at that point we did not know how long the lockdown would last.
In the meantime, we were able to open the Happylab again, but under strict security requirements. Fablab helped us a lot both during the lockdown and in the current “new normal”:
Manufacturing services: Usually our members work on the machines themselves. At the beginning of the lockdown, we immediately switched to manufacturing services to at least allow the members to use the Happylab infrastructure to a limited extent. We simply configured Fabman usage fees for the individual machines. Our lab manager then carried out the orders and at the end assigned the activity log entry to the respective client. Thus, the costs were offset against the next bill without much bureaucratic effort.
Mandatory bookings: From the middle of April we were allowed to open to our members again. However, we had to make sure that there weren’t too many people in the lab at the same time. We were able to do this very elegantly with the new Fabman feature “Must be booked to be usable for members”. Due to the reservation obligation, we were able to distribute the use evenly throughout the day and avoid crowded waiting situations.
We have come through the crisis quite well so far and are very grateful that almost all of the members have remained loyal to us. I wish everyone to stay healthy and hope that we can avoid a second wave.