There’s a lot to digest but we’ll highlight the key points and what steps you need to take to ensure you’re ready for the next phase.
The UK government has produced guidance to help companies reopen as safely as possible. These eight workplace-specific guides detail the measures you need to have in place to minimise the risk of infection spreading. You may operate in a number of different types of workplace, so make sure you familiarise yourself with all relevant guides.
Common to all businesses is the requirement to undertake a Coronavirus-specific risk assessment before your employees return to work. Ensure that this is done in collaboration with all departments in your organisation for a holistic solution. Get in touch if you need help with policy writing. The requirements for social distancing and PPE may present some practical health and safety difficulties for you.
The new guidance specifies that vulnerable workers be put in the “safest possible roles” if they can’t work from home. If this requires a change of role, you need to follow standard HR procedures and consult with any affected employee. Your workforce has rights which are protected by their employment contracts, health and safety legislation and the Equality Act. It is essential to consider these before you introduce any changes to remuneration or working hours.
Though the focus is shifting to a return to work, some employees may still be working from home, and it’s important that you don’t lose sight of their needs. Regular communication is key to addressing any issues before they escalate and the time and effort involved are well worth it.
Balancing the pressure to get back to business whilst keeping your employees safe is not easy. But don’t forget, you have a duty of care to your employees and employment law obligations.