Returning to the Workplace after Lockdown
Posted on 11th May 2020 at 17:39
The first phase of returning to the workplace after lockdown has been announced by the Government that will allow some workplaces to reopen. In the main, this will apply to manufacturing and construction as they have been unable to carry out their work from home. The advice for any companies who can still operate remotely is to continue to do so.
There are several considerations you need to assess when reopening your workplace.
We thought it might be useful to condense all the links in one place and you can, of course, contact us for any specific advice.
The key areas all businesses need to address are-
Social Distancing measures
• Do a workplace review as soon as possible.
• How can staff maintain a 2m physical distance between each other?
• How will you manage meetings, interviews, and other interactions?
• Consider the communal areas, e.g. kitchen, canteen, staffroom.
• Consider staggering work hours so reducing the numbers of staff in the building.
• Ideally, if you do not have an appointed health and safety person then arrange for someone to take on this role or speak to an independent Health and Safety company who can support you.
There is also more information here
Keeping the workplace clean
• Review your cleaning processes
• You must provide hand sanitiser.
• Deep clean the premises before you reopen.
• Daily cleaning is also essential – phones/keyboards and surfaces.
You can find more information here
Protective clothing and masks
Depending on your business, you may want to consider face masks, gloves, and protective clothing.
You will need to ensure staff are briefed and trained in their correct usage to ensure they are effective.
More details here
Staff should be encouraged to travel to work via bike, walk or car. Car sharing will not be an option due to social distancing.
Staff Mental health & wellbeing
Many staff will feel anxiety and concern and may have already been suffering mental health issues during the lockdown. Do consider the feelings of your staff and work with them to overcome fears and anxieties.
Find more information here to support the mental health and wellbeing of your staff
All staff returning to work should have a one to one meeting with their manager.
Start with your managers and brief them. They can then meet with their staff.
Each staff member should have a meeting with their line manager and ensure the staff are briefed on your safety measures, changes in company procedures and expectations during this time.
Have a written document that is given to all staff to ensure everyone is aware of what changes have been made and that procedures and policies are clear.
A full detailed article on all the above topics can be found here on the CIPD website
Short term working/Redundancy
When the government furlough scheme ends (currently set for 30 June) your business may still not need to bring all its existing workforce back. In this case, you have essentially three options:
• Agree reduced working hours with some or all staff
• Furlough staff for a further period, at your own expense
• Consider redundancies.
Contact us if you need further advice on this.
The changes to lockdown are going to be slow, and we may also find changes may be made at short notice so be ready to react. Being organised and prepared is critical. Ensure you receive any updates as they happen. Communicate well with your teams and make sure they are well informed.
Be accommodating to staff as much as possible who have issues, e.g. disability, caring responsibilities, difficulty in travelling to work. Not everyone will be in the position to return to work and may need some adjustments to their duties or hours. Being a considerate employer will stand you in good stead with your employees.
Extension to Furlough Scheme
On the 12th May the Government announced a further extension to the Furlough Scheme.
The BBC News website shared ' Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500. But he said the government will ask companies to "start sharing" the cost of the scheme from August. A quarter of the workforce, some 7.5 million people, are now covered by the scheme, which has cost £14bn a month. The chancellor said that from August, the scheme would continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers currently using the scheme will then be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time. Mr Sunak will attempt slowly to reduce the cost to the taxpayer of the subsidy scheme, but full details are still to be worked out.'
We will update when we know more.
If you need advice, just contact us- we are here to help.
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