Since restrictions have gradually lifted, some businesses already started operating after lockdown, but others – especially those where possible to maintain home-working – have yet to take this step.
When the UK Government announced plans about realising restrictions and encouraged businesses to invite employees in the offices it highlighted that all workplaces should be “COVID-secure”. So how to make your workplace COVID-secure to restore the office environment?
At first, you need to figure out the control measures within your setting for COVID risk assessment.
The government mentioned that it expects all businesses with five or more employees to issue their COVID-19 risk assessment findings, so you should consider making this available and publish it, for example, on your website.
- Think about what part of work activity might cause transmission of the virus
- Identify who could be at risk
- Decide the likeliness if someone could be exposed
- Think through how to remove the activity or situation, or how to control the risk if this isn’t possible
- If you have less than five employees, you don’t have to make a risk assessment, but it might help if you do.
Risk management usually does not include the answers to all questions. That is why it is necessary to identify particularly vulnerable COVID-19 employees, for example, pregnant women and staff with other underlying health conditions.
Make sure you have taken all measures needed to make your vulnerable workers return to work safely.
You should study sector-specific guidance on creating a safe working environment during coronavirus to help your office become “COVID-19 secure”. You will find there useful starting points for assessing risk and deciding on how to control it.
COVID secure measures for offices:
- Implement digital health checks to make your workplace COVID-secure
- Evaluate office navigation to demonstrate to people how to easily navigate around the office safely. You should carry out, for example, one way systems to avoid people gathering in one spot.
- Implement desk management for social distancing
- Organise hygiene and cleanliness support. One of the most important things to minimise the spread of coronavirus is washing your hands regularly. Installing gel sanitiser stations around the workplace will help your employees and visitors feel safe. We recommend considering gel sanitiser stations that are fitted with a sensor to reduce the need for people to touch the surfaces.
Tip: After risk assessment, think about how you can adjust your workplace strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the office. You might need to change the office layout. Please consult our specialists on how to make your workplace COVID-secure.
Communication with employees
You need not only introduce changes to reduce the risks related to COVID-19 to your staff but make sure they understand them and comply accordingly. Talk to your employees and encourage them to ask questions and raise any concerns or ideas. While things seem to be returning to normal, the risk of infection is still very high which makes many people feel anxious.
Working from home
While the businesses are encouraging the employees to come back to the offices there is still a chance that they will have to come back to remote work any time due to uncertainty around infection spreading. In this case, you should be ready to help home workers to work safely and comfortably. You need to set up channels of communication and consider mental health and well-being needs.