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Planning the return to the workplace

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on 10 May 2020 that people who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged” to return to work, many employers are thinking about how that might work for their employees.

Here are some pointers to begin the process of bringing people back to the workplace:

Gather Information

  • Survey employees who are currently working
  • Ask other companies about their working practices and health and safety measures
  • Find out what the current procedures are for security and cleaning in your workplace
  • Visit the office premises to catalogue all possible risks (surfaces, stairwells, kitchen area etc)
  • Update yourself on the latest guidance and seek professional advice

Make Plans

  • Collate and analyse the data gathered
  • Create a plan for each set of employees with relevant actions required
  • Complete a risk assessment document (current advice is to share it with employees)
  • Create a policy and/or checklist for those returning to the office
  • How can you ensure the safety – both physical and psychological – of your employees?

Actions

  • Complete the actions from the risk assessment
  • Set dates for those who are returning to the office, perhaps in phases
  • Decide who will be responsible for the employees who return to the office
  • Share all information prepared with employees before they return

Communication

  • Throughout the whole process, regularly communicate with everybody including those on furlough, maternity leave, long term absence etc.
  • Create a place where you can share Frequently Asked Questions and keep it regularly updated
  • Design a way for people to share their questions and suggestions on an ongoing basis such as a forum, a designated email address, a suggestion box or an app.
  • Keep everyone updated in a variety of ways, such as leadership briefings, 1:1 calls, podcasts, virtual team gatherings etc
  • Respond to all questions asked
  • Signpost other support available (e.g. Cruse, Mind etc)
  • Keep yourself briefed with the latest advice from gov.uk which you can find here.

Ongoing Review

  • Evaluate the safety measures
  • Is the level of cleaning enough?
  • What is the feedback from your employees?
  • Are your risk assessment/policy/checklist still fit for purpose?
  • Think about what may have changed and what needs to be changed.

If you have any questions or enquiries about how you can create a plan for safely returning your employees to work please contact me on Claire.carsong@cognitivelaw.co.uk.

Claire Carson