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COVID-19: Returning to Work After Lockdown

As the lockdown restrictions start to ease and businesses start the transition of getting employees back to work, employers have a duty of care to identify and manage risks to ensure the workplace is safe to return to.

Government guidelines are clear, employees should be encouraged to continue working from home for the foreseeable future. Where this is not possible businesses have a responsibility to implement the measures necessary to keep the workforce safe.

How to manage the return to work: Planning and Preparation

Deep Cleaning and Ongoing Cleanliness

If your premises was closed during lockdown it is advised that you conduct a comprehensive deep-clean before allowing employees to return to work. It is also essential that you revise and update all cleaning strategies to ensure high standards of hygiene and cleanliness is maintained and managed going forward. To achieve this you might want to consider investing in additional cleaning services, new janitorial and waste management equipment

Enhanced Hygiene Procedures

As your workforce gets back to work you should encourage enhanced hygiene practices to help keep employees safe and minimise the spread of infection. This can be achieved by reminding staff to frequently wash their hands, regularly wipe down their work workstations and refrain from physical contact with colleagues and visitors. Business can help enforce this by installing social distancing signage, matting and supplying easy access hand washing facilities throughout your premises.

Continue with Social Distancing

Lockdown restrictions might be easing but everyone is still being advised to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible. From a business perspective this might involve reorganising seating plans, enforcing staggered work patterns, prohibiting use of communal areas or restricting off-site meetings and visits.

Where social distancing guidelines cannot be enforced, businesses have a responsibility to implement protective measures needed to keep your workforce safe. This can be achieved by installing a range of social distancing products including protective screens and barriers, pedestrian control products, floor markers, mats and hygiene stations.

Commute to Work

As the transition back to work begins the Government is asking everyone to avoid using public transport. Instead they are recommending walking, cycling or driving where possible. Businesses can help support these alternative solutions by ensuring your workforce have access to facilities including lockers, changing room equipment, bike shelters and bike storage. Such conveniences will help make these alternative transport options more appealing to staff.

Provide Additional PPE

Depending on your business, you might need to consider providing your employees with additional PPE equipment such as masks and gloves.

Whilst the Government is currently discouraging businesses, outside clinical settings, from depending on PPE in individual working environments, you might need to go against these guidelines in some instances  i.e. public-facing operations.

Discover more about how CSI can help you reopen your workplace safely by viewing our complete range of social distancing products.