It’s the topic of conversation for all business owners who closed their doors due to the pandemic of Covid-19 in March, how are we going to return to work and what will the return look like?
We work with many different sectors of business throughout the UK, I would say that we have had approx. 50% of our business’s that still operated over recent weeks. These have ranged from the GP practices through to the companies who provide support to the food chain or online services. We have learnt even more about what our clients do and the impact they have on the economy.
Many of our clients are worried about what the future may hold for them and their employees. They are being forced to look at how their business operates, how efficient they are, and their financial position. We have seen some great successes of business’s who were not previously online, putting themselves online everything from local gyms, butchers, small clothing stores, bakeries and restaurants. Unfortunately, not all business’s have been able to do this, due to what they do, make or sell.
To say it has been a difficult time for many of our clients, closing their business’s hopefully for the short term, is an understatement.
So, let’s look forward together, the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, is setting out the roadmap to bring the UK out of lockdown.
Information provided; “For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.
“This will help minimise the number of social contacts across the country and therefore keep transmissions as low as possible. All those who work are contributing taxes that help pay for the healthcare provision on which the UK relies.
“People who are able to work at home make it possible for people who have to attend work places in person to do so while minimising the risk of overcrowding on transport and in public places.
“All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.
These are the first steps however, many company’s are not ready for the return, they have not prepared the workplace to accommodate the new norm.
In addition to this, we have heard people calling their employer this morning, to say they are ready to return however, there is no work for them to be able to do at this time. These employees need to remain on Furlough, until you have the work available for them to undertake or until the furlough scheme comes to an end. We are hoping there is a further update to this shortly from the government.
Finally, for those employers needing their employees to return to work, we need to consider can people actually return to work due to their health or childcare. Without the support of nursery’s, or childcare providers or grandparents being available to support, employees may not be able to return.
We need to develop the new norm. Most certainly, we will have a short-term new norm. Considering how businesses will reopen, this will depend on many aspects.
Areas for consideration prior to reopening, will include;
- How many employees will you need to re-open?
- How long will it take to bring all employees back?
- How will you choose who to bring back?
- Which employee’s skill set will benefit the business most to return at which point?
- How many people will have breaks together?
- Do you need a shift system?
- Will employees agree to a new shift system?
- How will social distance be applied in the workplace?
- What PPE will be required?
- Who will need to wear PPE?
- How often will the PPE be replaced?
- Smoking shelters, will they be open to use?
- Extra cleaning needed?
- Travelling to work
- What arrangements will be made for employees;
- Entering the building
- Use of equipment
- Canteen facilities
- Use of kitchen facilities
- Toilet facilities
- Touch points, opening of doors
The business needs to take responsibility to do what they need to do, to protect their employees and ensure the work place is a safe place to attend.
We are supporting Company’s in the discussions around the reopening of their business’s please get in touch if you would like any support in this area.