With schools and Parliament having returned following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has also been pushing for office staff to return to work. Surveys suggest that only 34% of office workers have gone back to work in Britain compared to 68% elsewhere in Europe.
It is understandable that there is a reluctance to get office staff back into the workplace. There are risks involved in returning and most companies have harnessed the power of technology to successfully allow employees to work from home in a way that hasn’t affected business. However, there are benefits to bringing employees back, the most important of these being the mental health of your staff.
Some surveys have suggested that up to 80% of people working from home feel that it has negatively impacted their mental health. Bringing people back to work safely will allow them to get back a bit of the ‘normal’ that they have missed. Things like routine, being able to take a break from their computers and socially distanced interaction with colleagues can really boost a person’s mental health.
So how do we do it safely?
The Government has released guidance for all workplaces with advice on how to make your workplace Covid secure and keep everyone safe.
The main things to consider are:
- Enhanced cleaning regimes
- Increased airflow
- Signage and stickers reminding people of the importance of hand hygiene and maintaining a social distance
- Screens to create physical barriers between people
- Having people working side-by-side rather than face-to-face
- Managing occupancy levels
- Respecting and understanding social distancing and other measures in place through good communication and training
- Following one-way systems
- Adhering to clear desk policies to ensure workstations can be cleaned
Having discussions with your employees and ensuring good communication about their return to work will help everyone to feel involved and secure in the knowledge that on their return they will be safe.
A flexible approach is the best option as it is likely that a combination of office and home working is here to stay for most office premises. Embracing the new normal is a learning curve for us all!
If you need any help making your office Covid secure, please call ProAktive.
By Rachel Cuff CMIOSH – Risk Consultant