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21
Oct 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Returning To The Office: Top 10 Things Employers Need to Know - Part 2

Following on from our previous blog post 'Returning To The Office: Top 10 Things Employers Need to Know - Part 1' the below are the last 5 things and employer needs to know in preparation or the return of employees to the office.

6. Cleaning & Hygiene

Consider how you will keep the office clean which will include surface cleaning and maintaining good hygiene practices. For example, this may include:

    • Implementing a 'clear desk' policy
    • Asking staff to wipe down their desk after use
    • Asking staff to use hand sanitiser regularly 
    • Encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene

7. Ventilation

Your risk assessment might identify that it is appropriate to open more windows and doors than usual, and it may also be appropriate to consider improvements to mechanical ventilation / air conditioning. The HSE provides further guidance on this.

If you are opening windows and doors ensure you take into consideration  fire safety, and the potential impact on the confidentiality of sensitive conversations.

8. Guidance for those who develop COVID-19 symptoms or are identified as a close contact

You will need to ensure that staff are clear on the process should they develop COVID-19 symptoms in office or otherwise, and also if they are identified as a close contact.

9. Commuting

As part of your risk assessment, you should consider the risks posed by COVID-19 throughout all aspects of your business activity – this will include your employees' commute.

10. Other issues

Ensure you bear in mind other health and safety issues, for example fire safety and manual handling, and how you can manage these within a COVID-19 context. Depending on the measures you take, you will also need to consider whether additional protections are needed for those more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to medical conditions or pregnancy.

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Returning To The Office: Top 10 Things Employers Need to Know - Part 1

Annual Leave Post Covid

Posted in Coronavirus, Health & Safety, News

7
Oct 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Returning To The Office: Top 10 Things Employers Need to Know - Part 1

With the continued relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions across the UK, employers are finally on course for returning their employees to the office in some shape or form. Although restrictions are easing employers must still ensure they are adhering to the relevant government guidance in terms of re-opening and the attendance of employees in the workplace. Returning employees to the workplace will be based on the completion of COVID-19 risk assessments. Once employers have identified risks they must implement control measures to remove or control those risks. These risks and control measures will determine an employers approach on a range of issues which we've covered examples of below. 

1. Social Distancing

While it is not currently a legal requirement for employers to ensure social distancing on their premises, the government encourages this. Social distancing can be considered an appropriate control measure in light of your COVID-19 risk assessment as employers may want to think about:

  • Implementing a one-way system in the office
  • Limiting numbers in the office 
  • Staggering staff start and finish times
  • Reconfiguring desks, using protective screens and a desk booking system
  • Limiting the number of people in certain areas e.g. canteens, toilets, meeting rooms and lifts

2. Vaccination

Currently vaccinations are only mandatory for registered care home works. Making vaccination compulsory in your business could lead to potential difficulties, including potential discrimination issues. Businesses however may wish to have their employees disclose their vaccination status prior to returning to the office in order to consider additional health and safety measures to protect your workforce. However, it is important to note that this raises data protection issues, and whether it is justified will depend on individual circumstances.

3. Testing

In line with government guidance, employers should encourage their staff to self-test regularly for COVID-19 to ensure their safety.

4. Office Equipment

As part of your control measures, will any restrictions be applied or alternative measures put in place for office equipment such as photocopiers, fridges, microwaves, water coolers or communal cutlery / crockery?

5. Face coverings

Employers must ensure they are aware of where the legal requirement to wear face coverings still exists - In Scotland it isstill  a legal requirement to wear face coverings in the workplace in certain situations whereas in England and Wales, it is not currently a legal requirement to wear face coverings in the workplace. It is important to note that although face coverings are no longer required, the government's guidance encourages mask wearing therefore you may consider it an appropriate control measure in light of your COVID-19 risk assessment.

Check back next week for 'Returning To The Office: Top 10 Things Employers Need to Know - Part 2' which will list the final 5 things employers must know in relation to returning to the office.

Posted in Coronavirus, Health & Safety, News

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