Here to Help: Becoming COVID-secure – what does this mean?

Posted on Friday, 22nd May '20

Anthony Wolny by Anthony Wolny

The government has provided a list of guidelines to help companies make sure their workplaces are safe for employees to return to. They’re calling this being ‘COVID-secure’.

Encouraging businesses to translate the guidelines into the specific actions they need to take, the government is also asking them to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment.

In addition, ways to thoroughly inspect businesses to make sure they’ve set up their workspaces securely are being discussed, and this could include asking employees to report their bosses ‘whistleblower style’ if they have concerns.

So, what does COVID-secure mean for SMEs?

The Government’s guidelines suggest businesses should consider the following:

  • Staggered shift times – to avoid too many people in your workplace at one time, the guidelines encourage you to stagger all shift times. This could mean longer office opening hours and additional HR administration, but Staffology HR can help you to manage this through features like Timesheets and Rotas.
  • Working in ‘social bubbles’ – similarly, arranging for employees to work in a bubble consisting of fixed teams of the same people is another way to avoid employees having contact with lots of different people.
  • One-way office places – following the success of many supermarkets, creating a simple one-way system in the workplace is a recommendation to avoid unnecessary contact among employees. This will include staircases, break areas, and entrances to reduce the amount of people traffic moving around the building. Communication will be key in making sure the one-way system is taken seriously.
  • One in/one out lift policies – the guidelines recommended reducing the capacity of workplace lifts significantly and strictly only allowing employees in lifts on a one-in one-out basis once capacity is reached. Capacity is dependent on the size of your lifts.
  • Hotdesking ban – a sure-fire way to spread germs, hot-desking is to be banned in the COVID-secure workplace. Instead, employees will be given a fixed desk, two meters apart from any other desk and possibly with a cleanable divider (eg Perspex) attached.
  • Sanitation stations – including temperature monitoring equipment, hand sanitiser, desk cleaner, tissues and more, sanitiser stations should be made easily accessible around every workplace and employees encouraged to use these regularly. Scheduled reminders can be added to Staffology HR to encourage this.
  • Virtual meetings (even in offices) – to avoid full meeting rooms, and even the spread of germs in fairly empty ones, organisations are being encouraged to continue virtual meetings wherever possible. But by enabling you get the people data and tools you need anytime, anywhere and on any device, Staffology HR can enable this in your business.

To read the Government’s guidelines in full, click here.

Anthony Wolny, May 22nd, 2020

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