Little did anyone know that when the UK first went into lockdown and individuals were forced to started working from home or apply for the furlough scheme in March 2020 that we would still be in much the same position a year later.
While companies in certain industries have found it helpful to have their employees work from home on a daily basis, many companies are part of a range of industries that actively require the presence of employees on-site to function correctly.
The latter selection of companies will no doubt be aware that as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be delivered to people up and down the country, there will soon be a point where infection levels will have dropped sufficiently, and vaccination levels will be at 100% – and when that happens they need to be ready for the influx of workers back to the office. But how do you help them prepare for their return?
Identify Staff Who Are ‘At Risk’
There may be people in your workforce who have conditions that make it impossible to return to the office at the same time as others. These people could include pregnant women, asthma sufferers, individuals with a poor immune system and others. Make sure you identify these people and speak to them, and allow them to continue working from home until it is safe for them to return.
While your employees may have received the vaccine, it is likely that the government directives in relation to face masks, social-distancing and hand-washing will remain for some time to come. For these reasons, it is important for you, as an employer, to make sure that items such as masks and hand sanitiser are made available in multiple locations.
Be Aware Of The Psychological Impact
It is vitally important that you recognise that many of your staff will have found themselves suffering mentally during lockdown – especially if they were forced to spend most of it on their own without physical contact with others. It may take your employees are few days to get used to working in an office again, and not to judge them too harshly if they seem a tad more stressed than usual. This can be aided by having a ‘return to work’ one-on-one briefing to see how they are faring.
Prepare For Certain Employees Not Wishing To Return
While some people have been going out of their minds over the past 12 months desperate to get out of the house and back to work, there are some for whom working from home has been a blessing. This can include parents who enjoyed not needing to pay for daily childcare during the pandemic, or simply those who have had time to reflect and realise they want something different out of life. It is important to be prepared to learn that some staff will not wish to return, regardless of how much they enjoyed the job prior.
Ensure That You Update Your HACCP Risk Assessments
It is quite likely that the government order for businesses to close caught many companies by surprise last year, and therefore did not have time to update their HACCP documentation. Before your staff return, you should have identified any critical control points and have a normal operating procedure in place to deal with any such issues.
Stagger The Breaks
Whenever possible, any potential spread of coronavirus can be stopped in its tracks by limiting how many people are able to spend together on breaks. This may seem cruel at first, but by limiting group numbers, you can limit the risk.
In the past, it is likely that certain tools and stationary items will have been shared from person to person. Make sure that all staff members have a full complement of tools necessary for their job so that they don’t have to borrow them from others.
Even though it is 2021, some companies still rely on paperwork and physical letters for mailing. By ensuring that these older methods are replaced by electronic equivalents such as internal and external emails, you can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Arcade Office have been designing, fitting and renovating offices across the country for many years, working with clients to create areas that promote productivity, comfort and an enjoyable work experience. From office partitions to building works and project management, we’re here to help you realise your perfect office. Why not contact us today?