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Posted: August 18, 2020
As the government urges people across the country to return to their place of work ‘if they can’*, what will employees expect when they go back? And what does this mean for business owners? Signum FM’s managing director, Jill Wood, explains
It comes as little surprise that after the turbulent events of 2020 so far, many employees are feeling nervous about going back into the workplace.
According to a study by Bupa, as many as 65 percent of people in the UK are anxious about returning, citing social distancing, the potential spread of infection while commuting and the office not being clean enough as their main concerns.**
But, with the Prime Minister stating that people should go back to work ‘if they can’, the move towards returning to the workplace is already well underway for many businesses.
However, after spending most of the year working from home or on furlough, the process requires a major mindshift and, of course, people are looking towards their employers for reassurance and support.
So what will employees expect when they do head back to work? And what responsibility do employers have when it comes to minimising risk?
As with all health and safety risks, employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees and other people on site.
Prior to employees returning, a full risk assessment should be carried out and, where required, adjustments made to the workplace and workforce.
This will allow business owners – whatever the size or sector of their organisation – to address any areas of risk and provide staff with the peace of mind that their health and safety is being taken seriously.
For example, employees will expect social distancing measures to be in place. Workstations or working areas should be spaced out, clearly marked and screens or barriers put in place where required.
Surfaces will need to be cleaned more frequently and employers will need to consider access to shared facilities – such as kitchen areas and toilets – to name just a few.
Of course, the scale of adjustments required depends entirely on the size and sector of the organisation but, regardless, employee wellbeing and compliance with health and safety requirements is always essential.
At Signum Facilities Management, we are working with a range of different organisations to help them identify risks and ensure their businesses are Covid secure.
From schools to manufacturing plants – every customer we work with has very different requirements, but one shared goal – to keep their workforce healthy and safe.
And we are no different ourselves. As a small business, we have put in place a number of strict measures to keep our own workforce comfortable and confident that they are safe, while out and about.
People are looking towards their employers for reassurance that their health and safety is being taken seriously during these challenging times – and as employers, it’s our duty to deliver.