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Health & Safety ,Returning to workplace & Covid 19

what are practices doing?

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We are a small practice with 4 staff including myself. We have been working from home, mostly, unless some clients are dropping off records or we need to pick up client records or files.

I now want to get back everyone back to the office from 1 July 2020, but I suppose I have to carry out a risk assessment and have a policy in place  regarding social distancing, cleaning routines, etc etc

I did a quick search on the web for a local business that can help us with this and the company came back to me with a quote of over £1750+VAT

What steps are small firms taking? Any recommendations of firms charging a reasonable fee?

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated


Replies (11)

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By tom123
05th Jun 2020 14:43

Can you not find a risk assessment to modify? It is supposed to be a live document pertaining to your circs.

Social distance in the office. Spread out desks. No sharing of cups, hole punches etc.

Cleaning during the day.

Hand gel on each desk.

Meetings via Zoom.

No visitors without appointment.

Probably covers most of it

Thanks (3)
Replying to tom123:
paddle steamer
05th Jun 2020 16:17

Include placing of signs ( mats re distance on floors/signs on walls), hand sanitiser at entrance to premises, paper towel dispensers in kitchens/bathrooms and wall mounted dispensers re soap in each.

I would also look at how individual members of staff travel too/from work and whether any members of staff are either more vulnerable (age/health) or live with someone vulnerable.

Best practice is also to let staff see overall office risk assessments and invite any with particular concerns to raise them so that individual risk assessments can , if requested, be undertaken.

You also want reporting protocols / recording systems that the measures needed have/have not been put in place and are being adhered to.

Also systems re mail handling, where it is to be placed on arrival and during opening, when distributed after arrival etc

Anything shared, printers/copiers/fridges/kettles/cupboard doors/office doors etc need special consideration.

In effect consider likely travel routes in office, pinch points, narrow areas, possible paths/methods of spread of virus, danger areas and address these.

We will be unlikely to even consider reopening our office until the schools go back in August (Scotland) so right now are dealing with sourcing supplies/ making alterations to office etc, the written assessments/protocols will then follow in due course when everything else is in place.

(We are doing it all ourselves, it is in process akin to auditing/documenting internal controls and risk areas, just not dealing with money and other assets)

Thanks (1)
By mrme89
05th Jun 2020 15:38

Only let a select number of staff in at one time on a rota basis. It would also give everyone a good work / life balance.

Thanks (2)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Jun 2020 16:02

In my office (just one plus one) we are staying remote until the virus is long gone. Current infection rates are too much for my liking.

We have a shared toilet and even with the whole office moved around so the filing cabinets are in the middle, and desks pushed against the wall you cant get through the door without going within about 1.5 Meters of each other.

Moreover if we both got it at once we would be deeply fudged from a business point of view. The couple of clients I know who have had it, have been suffering for several weeks.

How you you cope if everyone got it?

Thanks (2)
By kevinringer
09th Jun 2020 13:07

"Employers should make all efforts to help people to work from home where they can."

If your employees are currently working from home they should continue to do so until the above guidance changes or it is no longer reasonably practical to work from home.

Thanks (2)
By SteveHa
09th Jun 2020 13:42

I'm vulnerable and travel by train, so I have no intention of going back until I absolutely have to (though my hand may be forced around mid July by other circumstances - such as handing my job over. I'm hoping to be moving to pastures new on 1 August).

Thanks (1)
By Cheshire
09th Jun 2020 13:56

Im sorry, have I been asleep? (Probable) But even past the 1 July is the message not the same as before 'work at home, unless you cannot'.

Why are you pushing for everyone to be back in?

Just as a sort of aside, you can do all you want with hosing down the kettle etc, but just think of what those staff, who dont wash their hands after they have been to the loo, are touching. Bet most of you know someone like this (ewww).

Thanks (1)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
09th Jun 2020 17:29

Even trickier where your office is not self contained or worse, in a large business centre. Ther you rely heavily on the landlord/operator's own approach to things, you can have your office as clean as you like but your staff still have to breathe air from the central aircon, pass through common areas etc.

And if the govt is dissuading you from bringing staff in, it questions the need for an office longer term, and maybe a smaller, cheaper one will do. I'm considering giving notice, and would not be surprised if others are too. I think the staff will prefer not having to commute and even a pay rise if their productivity increases.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
paddle steamer
09th Jun 2020 17:50

It looks like it may, in part , be a trend.

We expect to lose office tenants who just do not renew with us and retail/ leisure/ catering tenants will depart due maybe more to business failure. We think small workshops/studios, larger workshops and big sheds ought to be okay (maybe even an increase in demand). Currently there is only limited third party feedback re the current impacts on the more prime parts of the property market (we are secondary/tertiary) but it is likely the impacts will trickle downward through the tiers.

So, like Del Boy, this time next year we will be.....back as developers, converting some of our offices to residential. (Or at least will have a few progressing within planning)

So much for my sleepy last 5-6 years to retirement, I could finish how I started in the 1990s, building flats out of everything we could get our hands on; yippee ki yay, back in the saddle again (but with less debt).

Thanks (1)
By mbee1
10th Jun 2020 09:31

Why so quick in wanting to move back. The Governments position is clear "continue working from home if you can...".

We've not even considered going back yet.

Thanks (1)
By mbee1
10th Jun 2020 09:31

Why so quick in wanting to move back. The Governments position is clear "continue working from home if you can...".

We've not even considered going back yet.

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