Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces

Published: 30 Jun 2020
Last updated: 19 May 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for the creative industries, in particular for providers and users of creative studios in Scotland, in safer working during the coronavirus pandemic.

5 page PDF

35.6 kB

5 page PDF

35.6 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces

5 page PDF

35.6 kB


The guidance applies to creative production and activities in range of different types of studios. It uses the terms ‘studio providers’ and ‘studio users’ but we recognise that there are a number of different models to which this guidance is relevant, for example:

  • single business renting a number of rooms with a single main access point
  • shared workspace in which creative activities are undertaken by a variety of non-resident workers
  • shared workspace in which many people rent desks for a settled period
  • community-operated workspaces such as makerspaces
  • individual studio spaces with shared communal kitchen and toilet facilities
  • individual studio spaces with no shared entrance/exit and kitchen/toilet facilities, but which may be visited by clients and/or collaborators
  • business providing spaces on a flexible or fixed term basis
  • recording studios

This guidance does not cover:

We want to have strong creative studios and shared workplaces to support the creative industries. Creative studios and shared workspaces should therefore use this guidance to look forward and engage with trade union representatives early in their plans to develop workplace specific plans for a managed transition away from current restrictions, allowing sufficient time for that joint work. While those plans should be fully developed, with measures put in place and tested where possible, they should only be implemented where and when reopening is permitted in your local area according to the Strategic Framework. 

Decisions for creative studios and shared workplaces on whether to reopen to the public when it is permitted for them to do so and the activities that can be undertaken within them are for individual organisations to take, including consideration of cost implications.

We are keen to build confidence and create the right environment for supporting safer work as we continue to live with COVID-19.

We have worked with organisations, industry bodies and trade unions from the creative studios and shared workplaces sector to ensure that this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. We welcome the work that organisations have already done to plan ahead  for safe workplaces aimed at ensuring the safety of staff, workers and the public is at the centre of operational plans for re-opening the sector. As each workplace is different, it is for individual businesses to work with trade union or workforce representatives to determine how best to apply this guidance in their circumstances.

To stay safe, to protect others and to save lives organisers, workers and audiences should all remember the FACTS:

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two-metre social distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms  

Key priority areas for all organisations:

  • 2 metres physical distancing and ensuring you maintain safe capacities in workspaces.
  • good ventilation
  • the wearing of face coverings
  • effective hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning regimes
  • appropriate risk assessment
  • supporting staff to self-isolate
  • supporting working from home and flexible working where possible

This guide is underpinned by a spirit of collaborative working between businesses and organisations and their workforce. Throughout, the terms businesses, organisations and trade union or workforce representatives are used in that context, recognising that businesses and organisations have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by workers. Businesses and organisations cannot decide who the workforce representative will be.


This guide is one of a set of guidance about how to work safely in different types of workplaces. This guidance is relevant to businesses, organisations and practitioners who provide and work in art and other creative studios, as well as other shared work spaces.

It sets out our expectations of what businesses and organisations of all sizes and sub-sectors need to consider as part of their planning for restart. The guidance emphasises in particular the importance of undertaking a robust and ongoing risk based assessment with full input from trade union or workforce representatives, and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review so that workplaces continue to feel, and be, safe. The key areas which you need to consider are outlined in each of the sections of this document. Businesses and organisations must be proactive in ensuring that COVID-19 policies are effectively monitored and managed. This document does not constitute legal advice.

Engagement with your local authority will be of vital importance to enabling your activity to restart. Each local authority may have different structures and requirements, but early discussion with Licensing, Public Safety, Environmental Health and Culture teams is advised to acquire relevant permissions and understanding of local priorities. 

The remainder of this guidance sets out our minimum expectations across key areas that businesses, organisations and practitioners should consider as part of their planning for a restart and ongoing production while minimising the transmission of the virus:

  • assessing risk - involving the workforce in a risk-based approach to a safer workplace
  • workforce planning - supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not
  • operational guide for studio providers - changing the studio environment to keep everyone safe
  • operational guide for studio users - working together safely
  • training and compliance

The co-regulators for health and safety at work, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Local Authority Environmental Health  services, are constantly applying their experience to ensure people at work are protected, utilising the powers at their disposal under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE is treating COVID-19 as a workplace health issue with regard to the protection of workers from infection. Both regulators can and will use the Health and Safety Work Act to ensure physical distancing in the workplace in relation to workers.

Where regulators identify employers who are not taking action to comply with the  relevant public health guidance to control COVID-19 health risks to workers, both regulators will consider a range of actions to improve the control of workplace risks including provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices. These actions will be taken under existing health and safety law (HSWA).

Fair work

This guidance is based on the principles set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making and our long established commitment to fair work. Organisations including the Institute of Directors (IoD), SCDI, STUC, COSLA and SCVO have signed a fair work statement underlining the collaborative approach needed between employers, unions and workers to ensure workplaces can operate safely.

If you would like to suggest ways we can improve the guidance please contact



First published: 30 Jun 2020 Last updated: 19 May 2021 -