From the beginning of August, the British Government said they are going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.”
Since then there has been much debate around the benefits of long-term home working vs a return to the office. Companies across London have invested in remote working technology and their employees are fully equipped to work productively from home. However, for many long-term home working is proving to have a negative impact on their physical and mental wellbeing:
- Not having physical interaction with others is known to be a key contributor to poor mental wellbeing
- A lack of routine can lead to negatively impact productivity
- Being stuck indoors for many people may mean not having access to nature and not getting the daily exercise they would normally get, even if this is just walking to access public transport
- Working from home can often lead to not being able to switch off and working longer hours
- Long term working from home is also showing to have a negative impact on the economy and can hamper client / supplier relationships.
The decision to reopen workspaces is not to be taken lightly, employers now have a duty of care to meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and employee concerns must be addressed.
A recent survey carried out by a leading company found that although 45% of UK office workers are already back in the office, only 1/3 feel comfortable being back at work and 48% have some concerns about COVID risks.
Since the pandemic hit, we have been supporting clients across our operating area with welcoming their employees back to the workplace and have practiced what we preach by the reopening of our offices to support this. We have found since lockdown was released that the key to a successful return is creating a safe, meticulously clean space in which people are secure in the knowledge that everything is being done to keep them safe and secure.
Here are our working steps for creating a studiously clean work environment with happy, engaged and productive employees:
- Communicate your risk assessments, outbreak processes and pandemic preparedness plans giving employees an opportunity to feedback and voice any concerns
- Carry out personalised risk assessments with all of your team members so reasonable adjustments can be put in place to protect vulnerable persons
- Make an Employee Assistance Programme available for your people, giving them access to professional support for their mental wellbeing
- Introduce one-way flow traffic systems and a desk booking system for phased returns
- Prop open internal doors
- Provide hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes next to touchpoints and on each desk
- Clearly communicate maximum room occupancies, social distancing guidelines and directional flows using signage and posters
- Train your cleaning teams on enhanced sanitisation and transmission prevention
- Introduce an enhanced day cleaning regime focusing on touchpoints and hygiene areas and invest in a regular disinfectant deep cleaning using electrostatic sprayers and certified disinfectant
- Invest in an electrostatic handheld machine for disinfecting touchpoints efficiently and effectively
- Share photos and videos with teams who are working remotely so they can see the measures in place (you can watch a video we sent to a client here so she could share with her staff)
If you need support with making and maintaining a COVID secure workplace, please do get in touch.