In the wake of this year’s pandemic, many office spaces are reviewing their health and safety protocols. As more businesses reopen and bring their staff back into shared working spaces, there is a necessity to reevaluate risk assessments as well as the need to incorporate new measures into them so as protect employees from the risk of coronavirus contamination.
Additionally, many are taking the opportunity of a staggered or smaller workforce to review more significant safety issues within the workplace, some which may not have been addressed prior.
Firstly, the risk at the forefront of every office manager’s mind is reducing the spread of COVID-19. There are extensive guidelines supplied by the government on how to effectively prevent the risk of spreading the virus around an office and these should be considered when reviewing your risk assessments.
A fundamental addition to your office space should be sanitising stations. These should be placed in key areas, specifically those with high-staff density, such as communal rooms and waiting areas. Staff and visitors should be encouraged to use these regularly. Other measures can be taken, such as rearranging office furniture to accommodate social distancing.
After a hiatus, your staff members with first aid training may need a refresher course to ensure they remain confident to handle emergency situations within the office. Not only will it boost their confidence but it may also be essential as certifications may have expired during the lockdown period.
It is also important to review your first aid boxes and replenish missing items.
Reviewing fire safety measures is important and you should speak to your building manager to correlate any changes, such as fire safety points. Ensure your timber fire doors remain fully compliant and accessible. When staff return to the office, it is a good idea to test your fire alarm systems and ensure each employee is familiar with the emergency protocol.
The lockdown has had many effects on the population, including doubling the number of mental health cases around the country. As such, the mental wellbeing of your employees should be considered carefully. Consider adding extra checks and breaks to office schedules as these provide opportunities for relaxation and for employees to express their concerns should they have any.
If you suspect a staff member might be struggling, consider rotating their workload so as to prevent them from burning out.
Remote working has become a widely-discussed issue within the workplace and many offices testify the pros and cons. However, it does not need to be a mutually exclusive option and some offices allow staff to work from home for just a portion of the week.
If your workplace does allow remote working, however, you should consider the health and safety measures that are necessary for your business to take. Monitor your staff to ensure they are taking appropriate breaks and not working longer than necessary. As it is harder to monitor your staff at home, they can become stressed or burnt-out more easily.