Covid-19 is primarily a health-related crisis. Social distancing and restrictive measures on movement, work and social contacts were put in place to stop the spread of what has proven to be a highly contagious and lethal virus. Extra measures have been placed to protect those most at risk, the clinically extremely vulnerable through “shielding”, in addition to ongoing strict self-isolation rules for those showing symptoms.
The continuation and “loosening” of these measures will ultimately drive and inform any subsequent recovery activity. The confidence in being safe and staying safe will impact on how a return into work is actioned.
The primary guidance is that for those people that can, are able to and have been working at home to continue to do so. Vulnerable people and those with a range of other conditions will continue to undertake strict shielding and isolation measures.
Strict distancing guidelines will be put in place in all workspaces and for all sectors. Including entry/exit points, one way flows in public areas/corridors, lifts and guidelines around meetings.
Those businesses that have had to be closed, primarily in the hospitality and leisure sectors, shall remain closed until otherwise told by government. In these circumstances an extension of the furlough scheme is a necessity.
Above all it is vital that a second wave of the virus is avoided.
Workplace Guidance documents are accessible here – “Working Safely Through Coronavirus”
ISSUES TO CONSIDER:
Decision making and planning around what levels of workforce do you need in/can you operate with? Is home working a long term viable option? What are the implications on office/workspace?
How do you tackle the levels of confidence in public transport and people’s commute? It shouldn’t feel like you are running the gauntlet it has to be overtly safe.
What liability will employers and business owners have following the undertaking of an effective risk assessment and implementation of guidelines?
Enforcement of guidelines and constant monitoring – changes cannot be a one off done at the start of a return to work but will they have to be managed on an ongoing basis?
Should there be dispensation for in work testing and access to health care?
There may be costs of buying in PPE/structural changes/office layout and other necessary actions to implement the guidelines - who should fund these? Does there need to be clearer definition of the role of building owners/landlords?
Shielded/vulnerable staff – how can they be effectively employed safely?
Let us know your thoughts on the above by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.