Preparing businesses returning to work

25th June 2020

After a strange and unprecedented few months in lockdown, the Government is easing us back into returning to normal life; but life, as we know it, will not return to normal for the foreseeable future.

The return to work can be quite intimidating, especially after a long period of being told to stay home. We understand that there will be new complexities that arise, so we are here to help you with this transition and make your return to work as smooth as possible. In this article we will lay out considerations for the decision makers in your business, the four key stages to consider before opening your office back to your staff, and what you should be monitoring once you are back open. Here at Haymans Group we can help with a large part of these actions, to make the load easier for you to handle.

Safety Measures:

Employee Safety

Employee safety can be managed with social distancing, sanitisation facilities and signage, limiting the number of employees on site at one time, and carrying out risk assessments. The Government have outlined that the responsibility of undertaking a proper risk assessment lies with the employer, due to the employer knowing more about the specifics of the job entailment.

It is important that your employees can spot the symptoms of COVID-19 and they know to self-isolate and quarantine themselves for 14 days immediately if they develop symptoms. If you have employees that visit clients from other companies/locations, then ensure they wear adequate face protection; this is to ensure both your employees and customers are protected. Below are some points from the latest Government guidelines on COVID-19 (source):

You should always:

– stay 2 meters apart from other employees and customers

– put up signs to remind people to social distance

–  keep the number of people on site to a minimum

–  wash your hands and clothes after helping someone in an emergency

–  make sure employees wear face covering safely although there’s no legal requirement to wear it

–  make sure you have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe (for example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security)

Where you cannot stay 2 meters apart, you should:

– only work together up to 15 minutes at a time

– wash hands and clean surfaces regularly

– use screens and barriers to separate people where possible

– work side by side or back-to-back rather than face-to-face

– have fixed teams to minimise exposure

If you can implement a one-way system to ensure colleagues are not coming in direct contact with one another then do so, limit interactions between employees as much as possible by keeping them at least two metres apart. You may wish to rearrange your office to accommodate a more socially distanced environment. Perhaps stagger start/finish times if employees are relying on public transport to get to the office in order to miss peak commuting times. Hot-desking should no longer be in place, unless it is vital. If so, make sure each desk/equipment is sanitised thoroughly between uses. Our fantastic cleaning team can aid you with this through offering more regular cleans, deep cleans and specialist waste removal. 

Customer Safety

Disease outbreak is an extremely serious situation, and we understand that the health and safety of you, your family, your employees and your customers are of extreme importance.

Customer safety is paramount. If you have clients, or customers, visiting your business you must ensure there are sufficient social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Where possible you should ensure they are separated by a minimum of one metre; use signs and floor markings to demonstrate where exactly your customers should stand. If you have a foyer, or reception your clients use then please stagger appointment times so no more than two people are in an enclosed space. Where possible, seat them back to back.

You may wish to increase your security presence as well, to ensure there is adequate reassurance your customers are being kept safe. We have a team of security guards that are available for your needs who will be fully equipped with PPE for both their own, and your protection. 

Planning to reopen

Moving on to our strategy for reopening businesses across the U.K. We have devised four simple steps to manage your employees return to work in a safe and organised manner, keep reading to find out:

PEEL: Four considerations before reopening your business:

Plan

Evaluate

Execute

Look

Plan: 

– Is it necessary for your employees to return to work, or can they continue to successfully work from home?

– If yes, check the Government guidelines and understand what exactly can be done. Ensure you have a strategy in place to keep employees at least 1 metre apart (check latest guidelines here)

– Plan how you will be distributing your colleagues in the office, consider staggering work hours, break times etc. to ensure there are not too many people congregated in one place at one time

– Consider the possibility of your vulnerable colleagues continuing to work from home in order to protect their health

– Consider employees slowly returning to work (e.g. one or two days a week).

Evaluate:

– Once you have decided who is coming back in to the office, evaluate the best practises to ensure all employees are as safe as possible (see here)

– Conduct the relevant risk assessments for your return to work and ensure all possibilities are covered

– Issue any communications to your employees and ensure they are kept up to date with current information

– Evaluate what processes will need to be in place (one way systems etc.)

– Consider what extra supplies you will need (e.g. PPE, sanitiser, etc.).

Execute:

– Implement new strategies so your employees are protected (these are the ones established in the Evaluate stage) 

– Install sanitisation points

– Make sure your signage is clear surrounding the regulations of handwashing, general hygiene and social distancing

– Introduce your colleagues back to work in a safe environment, keep them informed of what is happening and what your new procedures are.

Look:

– Keep an eye on the situation, continue to monitor the Government guidelines

– Discuss wellbeing with employees and encourage them to discuss their feelings on being back in the office

– Educate your employees on the symptoms of COVID-19 and ensure they know the signs to look for.

We hope these steps are beneficial to you and can aid you in reopening your business safely! If you would like to enquire about any of our building management services, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We can supply and manage the following services for your business:Cleaning and disinfection services

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Specialist Cleaning Services

– Day to Day cleaning services

– Specialist Waste Removal

– Deep Cleans 

Security Services

– Front of House

– Mobile Security

– Key Holding

– Alarm Response

– Vacant Property Security & Checks

– Leisure & Entertainment Security

Commercial Painting

– Indoor & Outdoor Painting

– General Painting Maintenance

Gas, Plumbing, Heating

– Installation

Service & Maintenance

– Emergency Repairs 

Electrical Maintenance and Repairs

– Installation

– Maintenance

– Emergency & Repairs

Mechanical and Electricity Maintenance 

– Maintenance Support

– Planned preventative maintenance 

– Reactive call-out & repair service 

– 24/7 Customer response centre 

– Generator and UPS systems 

– Statutory maintenance, testing and certification 

– Ventilation, extract and air systems 

– Boiler maintenance 

– Fire Alarms 

– Energy 

– Air conditioning systems 

– Cooling systems 

– Emergency lighting systems

To enquire about our services for your business, please call us on:

+44 (0) 117 380 5520 or email us at info@haymansgroup.com

Resources: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening [accessed 19.06.2020]

Preparing businesses returning to work