Are you reopening the workplace on 19 July?
Following the announcement by Boris Johnson on Monday 12 July concerning the final relaxation of rules from 19 July onwards. Many employers are wondering if they should reopen the workplace and if this will be the time to ask people to attend the workplace again.
The government has been cautious in their message. The government will no longer ask people to work from home, but they did advise that employers should plan a safe return to the workplace. With cases on the rise in the UK and not stopping anytime soon, employers have a duty of care to look after their employees.
We would recommend that employers conduct a risk assessment before employees return to the workplace. This allows you to assess the potential risks and deal with those risks by introducing safety measures. In almost all circumstances, these would include:
- Frequent cleaning of the workplace, particularly areas with high footfall or usage
- Supply of extra handwashing facilities and/or sanitising units
- Where possible, keeping screens in place between staff and customers/service users
- Ensure people work in a well-ventilated room
- Allow people to work on a Hybrid basis (part from home, part from the office) to ensure that the workplace is not at full capacity.
- Face masks are optional, but as an employer, you could request staff to keep wearing masks for the protection of their colleagues. You may be able to make it mandatory, but only if it is a reasonable response to a high risk identified through the risk assessment (for example, people meeting in small spaces).
From 19 July, you can enforce people to work from the workplace. After nearly 16 months of working from home, it is expected that some people will be anxious about returning to the workplace. We recommend that you provide clear communication to all staff on how you have made the workplace a safe environment and speak to employees individually who are anxious. Listen to their concerns and deal with them appropriately and in a reasonable way.
We can help
If you need any help with managing staff back into the workplace, do speak to one of our consultants by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.