Following the Prime Minister’s latest guidance, we have been looking into what this really means for those managing offices and other business premises. You may well be ahead of us on this, but we have been through the guidelines – “Working safely through Coronavirus” and have boiled it down to the points below.
While for the time being many employees will continue to work from home where possible, it seems likely that social distancing recommendations will remain in place even once lockdown is largely lifted. This means that offices and other workspaces, even if largely empty now, will need to be prepared for more workers to return and still observe social distancing. While most of these recommendations are non-statutory, failure to follow them does risk an Enforcement Notice from the Health & Safety Executive and, more importantly, the health of office workers. They boil down largely to common sense precautions and the government recognises that risk cannot be eliminated completely – hence these “sensible measures”.
This is purely our summary of the physical changes recommended:
- The erection of screens or barriers to separate workers from each other
- Reconfiguration of work stations such that workers are sat back to back or side by side rather than face to face.
- More storage for workers’ clothes / bags etc.
- Rearrangement of entrances / exits, break rooms, common area furniture, canteens etc to encourage distancing
- Provision of hand sanitiser at entrances / exits, in lifts, meeting rooms and wash rooms.
- Laying down of floor markings at entrances / exits, in lifts and around workstations, all indicating sensible distancing
- The erection of screens to protect reception staff.
- Putting up signage reminding workers of distancing / hygiene requirements.
All this is likely an unwelcome complication to your daily responsibilities, although with any luck will not prove too disruptive.
However, should you need our assistance, the Handy Squad remains open and at your service in order to help you carry out these cosmetic changes so your business can suffer as little disruption as possible.
Please let us know if we can be of help.