The Key Points for Employers Getting Back to Work
As more companies get back to work following the lockdown, it is important for them to consider the key points before doing this. The following are some of the issues contained in the latest government advice.
The Hygiene of the Workplace
One of the most crucial areas to look at is the cleaning and hygiene of the workplace and the equipment used there. This can be achieved in a number of different ways. For example, it is recommended that businesses use signs and posters to advise employees of the importance of good hand washing techniques.
They also need to provide designated hand washing areas with running water, together with paper towels and soap for workers’ use. Hand sanitiser needs to be available for employees to use away from the washroom facilities. This is especially important in areas where people arrive or deliveries are received.
Part of the employer’s responsibilities also include keeping surfaces clean. To do this well, many businesses will need to start increasing the frequency of their cleaning routine and also cleaning surfaces that they might not normally bother with.
It is worth remembering that the equipment needs to be cleaned too. Any object that is touched by different people needs to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. In the construction industry, this means paying special attention to shared tools and anything like a fixed access ladder, required for use by many workers.
Are the Employees Happy to Return?
With millions of Britain’s workers still on furlough, getting them back to work safely and happily is one of the biggest concerns right now. Before doing this, employers need to remember that there needs to be dialogue that lets the workers point out any concerns they have.
The decision to go back to work has to be mutually agreed between the different parties. Employees are likely to have concerns about areas such as getting there on public transport, working hours and the safety measures in place.
A staggered return to work is recommended, as this allows the business to implement measures to protect their workers as the numbers increase. They should then look to introduce different shift patterns, to keep the workplace as clear as possible.
There has been a lot of discussion around the effects that the pandemic and lockdown have had on people’s mental health. Therefore, it is also a good idea to provide some sort of psychological support, or at least be aware of the resources that employees can use if needed.
Is It Safe?
The overall advice is to consider how safe it is to get back to work now. The furlough scheme will continue until the end of October, so there is still a degree of leeway for keeping people at home until it is safe for them to return.
As part of this, companies have been asked to consider how essential an immediate return to work is. While the authorities appear keen for the country to return to normal, they have also asked employers to take care not to ask people to go back to work too soon.