office workers social distancing covid 19

Returning to work – a new landscape

Many companies are contemplating how to make the move from national lockdown to ‘back to the new normal’ work processes. For some, normal as it was will not resume and there will be a period of adjustment where employers will be redefining what the workplace means as they, along with their employees, get used to whatever the new normal will be. It is widely accepted that whilst most businesses have operated efficiently during lockdown, if it is safe to do so, it’s time to begin a phased return to work.

Businesses large and small are therefore planning to bring some or all of their employees back to work and are following government guidelines on how to prepare the workplace for this. Employees returning to work will be understandably anxious and worried so it is vital you put their minds at rest and assure them that all measures possible have been taken to safeguard them whilst they’re at work. There are many things to consider when preparing for this uncharted territory, read on for our advice and information on how we can help.

Trust your suppliers

Your trusted suppliers will be your best friends during this time. If you have built up a solid relationship with them over the years, you will be the first to know what their service offering is and how they have diversified to ensure they can supply exactly what you need during these unusual trading times. They will be the ones to rely on when you need to source key products in large quantities and you will be able to count on them to give you honest advice on the availability of high demand products and the best market price as these can change daily. They are only a phone call away so it’s always worth touching base with them and asking for their assistance. You will be amazed at how resourceful they are!  

Get cleaning!

If you haven’t already, now is the optimum time to have your office or premises steamed and deep cleaned. Office deep cleaning is recommended to be carried out at least twice per year as it will remove any dust, bacteria and fungi that has been lurking in forgotten corners and inaccessible areas that haven’t seen a vacuum cleaner in months. You can also take it one step further and have the cleaners sanitise it using antiviral detergents to kill germs and disinfect all of the high touch points. Antibacterial door handles can also be placed on the doors to reduce contamination and an antibacterial surface lacquer can be applied to the hard surfaces to complete your rigorous hygiene schedule. This will ensure that the workplace is as clean as it possibly can be and ready for your people to come back to work safely.

Who’s in?

Following government regulations, you will be required to calculate how many people you will be able to fit in your workspace without compromising coronavirus health and safety protocols. A thorough risk assessment will need to be carried out in order to identify any risks or hazards and a programme put in place to help employees stay safe, protected and as productive as possible with new procedures and guidelines put in place if necessary. For example, hand washing and/or hand sanitising stations will need to be available at all times at the entry and exit points to ensure that the correct sanitisation and hygiene controls are in place. Meeting rooms will need to be reviewed in terms of their layout, ventilation, seating arrangements and whether you introduce protective screensAs the summer is approaching you might also want to consider utilising outdoor space for quick catch ups or you can continue with video conference meetings to limit contact with multiple coworkers.

Time to move?

A change to the layout of your office or workplace will be an inevitable part of putting new safety practices in place. A redesign of the office space will no doubt entail moving desks around to allow employees to work at a safe distance from each other. For added peace of mind, you can also consider creating clear demarcations by installing glass partitions.  Or if it’s not possible to change your office layout, protective screens and sneeze screens will provide an effective solution to protect employees and customers and are quick and easy to install.