Here at Riduna Park, we’ve been chatting to many of our residents, and to other companies around the region, who are busy getting ready to resume office life.
What should employers consider as part of the ‘new normal’?
We take a look at how workplaces can be Covid compliant.
First thing’s first – it’s vital that all staff and employers understand and identify the risks associated with the virus.
It’s important to be reiterating those risks as part of your workplace culture within the ‘new normal’.
Placing signs around your workplace to prompt handwashing and remind people about the risks can be a simple approach to this.
A formal written risk assessment isn’t strictly essential unless you have over five employees, according to government information, but you may find it useful to write down how your company is recognising risks and what those risks are likely to be in relation to your business.
The current rule insists that a 2 metre distance must be observed at every opportunity – this being even more important in the case of ‘indoor’ working with colleagues and customers.
Remember distancing applies to all parts of your workplace – so that includes entrances and exits, food-service areas, storage and changing facilities.
Look to reduce the amount of time staff are expected to spend time closer to a customer or colleague.
Stagger work arrival and departure times where possible.
Use markings to encourage a more considered flow around the workspace.
Use screens around where workstations, place desks appropriately further apart, and look to have staff working in a way that they are side-on rather than face to face.
We’ve been advised since the start of the outbreak about the importance of frequent hand-washing. This continues to be the case.
Encourage frequent hand washing with signs and make sanitisers available throughout the workplace.
Where possible, find ways to limit the use of touching door handles. New technologies have been created by some companies to make doors ‘touch free’ in a low-cost way.
Do make sure all staff are responsible for regularly cleaning their workstations – taking phones, computers etc into consideration.
Encourage staff to bring in their own food and take it home.
Discourage use of shared items like microwaves, kettles – and perhaps even crockery and cutlery too. Contract a cleaner to deep clean your workspace frequently.
Encourage constant feedback among staff and customers about what measures could be improved or are aiding them in feeling safe. This must include staying in touch with staff who are still furloughed or isolating.
Finally, do make sure your customers and suppliers know what you are doing to stay Covid compliant.
If you’ve been in stores, pharmacies or even car showrooms in recent weeks, you’ll know that all businesses are seeking to operate with physical additions which might, just a few months ago, have seemed somewhat unusual or indeed ‘alien’, to us all.
Some of the specific modifications and introductions which you might want to consider for your workplace, include:
– Privacy screens around each member of staff, ensuring limited scope for infection of others
– Floor mats or markings making the 2 metre rule very apparent in front of reception desks or cashier points
– Plastic desktop guards / screens around each individual workspace
– Hand sanitiser stations
– Signage – both internal and external – reminding staff and visitors of your covid compliance and the necessary protocols on entering the building
– PPE bins, encouraging safe disposal of things like gloves and masks
– Temperature scanners to immediately flag anyone appearing to be showing covid symptoms
– Contactless payment devices
– Touch-free door opening solutions