May 23, 2024

Reopening Offices After Lockdown – Steps to Follow

In the UK, the signs are promising that we can gradually get back to work in offices around the country, after months of lockdown. As such, Tide explores the government’s current guidelines for protecting office workers, giving advice on the steps to follow in order to properly manage the risk as you look to reopen offices after lockdown.

Sarah Young, VP of Member Engagement at Tide, explains:

“If you are asking yourself if you should reopen your office on August 1st, it probably comes down to a question of risk versus reward and an assessment of how well your business has functioned with remote working. What has the impact been on colleagues, operations, and financial performance when everyone works from home? Are you able to minimise risks for colleagues who need to be office-based?

“For now, it seems that a possible middle-ground is to partially reopen, perhaps by using a rota system. By reducing the number of colleagues in the office, it will be easier to manage the 1m plus distance more effectively between colleagues, creating a more comfortable environment and reduce the chance of infection. It is also important to plan for future disruption now, so that you can effectively ride out a secondary wave of coronavirus”.

When it comes to managing risk as you reopen offices, the following should be considered:


1. Risk assessments are vital

    • Identify risks and then develop plans to mitigate them
    • Plans might include an increase in hand washing and surface cleaning, aiming for social distancing (one-way systems, stagger start and finish times, etc.), avoiding face-to-face working, avoiding raised voices, keeping a record of visitors, and so on


2.  Consider the mental health as well as the physical wellbeing of your employees 

    • This is a weird time, so it’s worth considering how your colleagues are feeling, and potentially offering additional support or adjustments for people who need a little time or space to help them return


3. Raise awareness about key issues so colleagues understand their role in protecting health and safety

    • You and your colleagues are not expected to comply with social distancing guidelines in the event of an emergency, or if someone needed first aid.


4. Create and communicate your plans for self-isolating in case of exposure

    • Your plan should account for the disruption caused by different degrees of quarantine. Outbreaks of coronavirus could see individuals or teams needing to isolate at short notice for at least 7 days at a time


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