As the lockdown is slowly eased, millions of us will be returning to work for the first time in months. This won’t be a normal return to the office however, as the ongoing presence of coronavirus means that we’ll all need to adapt and do things a little differently. From where we sit to how we interact in communal areas and welcome visitors, a lot will look and feel different.
To protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in your workplace, it’s vital that everyone understands what they need to do differently and how any new processes and procedures will work. A back-to-work pack is an effective way to ensure that everyone has access to the right information, in a detailed manner, at the same time.
It’s not just about making sure everyone is clear on what they can and can’t do and understands the changes which have been made within the workplace. A back-to-work pack is tangible proof that you’re taking the threat seriously, acting responsibly and proactively safeguarding staff and visitors.
What needs to go in the pack?
You want to get everyone back to work safely and will have made changes to lots of familiar processes and procedures including:
- Where people sit and how they interact
- When people arrive and leave
- Where people access and exit the building
- Staggered break times and lunch times
- Limits on use of stairways and lifts
- Changes to how communal areas such as kitchens and toilets are accessed and used
- Virtual meetings instead of face-to-face meetings
- Cleaning procedures and frequency
- Reporting of ill health
- Quarantining in the event a staff member or anyone in their household falls ill
- Limits on equipment sharing
- Changes to start and end of shift procedures such as electronic clocking in
The need to social distance and extend hygiene procedures affects practically every aspect of the working environment. Things that once were second nature, such as walking over to a colleague to ask a question, crowding round the same screen and even which door you enter and exit by have been forced to change. That means that staff needs to re-learn processes which may have been embedded into their day-to-day lives for years.
If one person is unaware of a new safety protocol, such as disinfecting desk, chair, computer and seat before they start work and at the end of the day, or doesn’t realise that there are limits on the number of people permitted in the staff kitchen at any one time, everyone else is placed at risk.
Your back to work kit must therefore be comprehensive. It should be provided in electronic format to all employees before they are welcomed back to work to be sure everyone is aware of the dos and don’ts before entering the place of work and interacting with others. The pack should be continually updated to ensure that new processes and procedures remain accurate and enforceable.