Preparing to get back to work

Careful preparation is necessary to inspire confidence, ensure safety and take care of mental health & wellbeing.

The Covid-19 crisis in unprecedented and as such, no one is entirely clear how long restrictions will need to govern daily behaviour.
The Government is taking steps, however small, for the economy to prepare to enter the 1st stage of the recovery phase.
It is vital that employers and employees feel confident that the workplace remains a safe environment. Business owners and their senior management teams need to start drafting a ‘Return to Work’ strategy. There will almost certainly need to be both physical and logistical changes across all sectors including within retail, services, office and factor / warehouse organisations. The information on this page is by no means exhaustive and is designed to help you to begin to consider what adjustments you may need within your own places of work. For example: 

New guidance launched to help get Brits safely back to work

The Government has published guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. 
Support from Business Organisations and Trade Associations

Health & Safety

Health & safety considerations if you are looking to open your business after the lockdown period. 

Sector guidance

 

 

Employment law

Katie Hodson, Employment Law & HR Associate at SAS Daniels LLP, advises employers on the top 5 considerations they need to be aware of when looking at a return to the workplace


The Government is following scientific advice and urging everyone – employers and employees – to maintain a safe distance of 2 metres between work colleagues. 

 If you feel as though your personal 2 metre space is being invaded, it’s OK to move away or ask someone else to move away.

Travel updates during Covid 19

Employers: Areas for consideration: 

  • Prepare pre-Back to Work briefing – educate new way of working / address mental health issues
  • Prepare Welcome Back Handbook / posters – explaining new workplace rules / adapting to new way of working
  • Provision of Support staff 
  • Workplace ambassadors – responsible for task / ownership of area’s cleanliness
  • Good ventilation – fresh air / poor air conditioning / air filtration systems
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitising regimes
  • Flexible working hours – spread the curve away from 9 – 5 – introducing staggered arrival / departure times
  • Home working – create shift system between teams / set days – reducing risk on public transport and establishing 2 metre distance between workspaces 
  • Visitor screening
  • Temperature station
  • Testing station – if relevant
  • Cloakroom / storage facility
  • Signage / floor stickers
  • Provision of a quiet / isolation / sick room
  • Colour coded areas / routes
  • Designated work station – distancing / disinfectant wipes / hand sanitizers
  • Designated work station equipment – sanitised / wipes at start and end of the shift / working day
  • Reduce hot-desking
  • 2 metre markings around workstations / shared areas / reception & visitor areas
  • Meeting rooms – remove chairs to meet social distancing rules
  • Meeting rooms – one way entrance and exit e.g clockwise

Employees: The steps taken by your employer

  • Pre-Back to Work briefing – to educate new way of working 
  • Welcome Back Handbook / posters – explaining new workplace rules / adapting to new way of working
  • Signed agreements – agreeing to conforming to new workplace rules
  • Ensure you understand the steps your employer has taken to provide for your safety and wellbeing
    • Clearly signed entrance & exit routes
    • Cleanliness of reception / shared / open areas
    • Visitor screening
    • Temperature station
    • Testing station – if relevant
    • Cloakroom / storage facility
    • Signage / floor stickers
    • One way systems
    • Hand sanitiser stations on entry and throughout the workplace / at all touch points
    • PPE – face masks
    • Toilets – cleanliness
    • Social distancing – 2 meters
    • Restaurant / break-out areas – employees designated cutlery & crockery
    • Work station – distancing / disinfectant wipes / hand sanitizers
    • Work station equipment – sanitised / wipes at start and end of the day
    • Work station – seated side-by-side with colleagues / avoid facing colleagues
    • Paperless office where practicable
    • Personal hygiene standards
    • Meeting rooms – remove chairs to meet social distancing rules
    • Meeting rooms – one way entrance and exit e.g clockwise