Returning to the office after lockdown & furlough….

Many of our candidates are currently in permanent employment and have been working from home or furloughed during lockdown. Given some of the lockdown measures have now been eased, in an effort to get the economy going again, employees have been advised to return to the workplace, only if it is not possible for them to work from home.

The government are providing guidance for employers to make workplaces ‘Covid secure’ and to ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible. However, there are still a lot of grey areas that are needing to be ironed out, such as what happens with childcare for those being asked to return to work but are not ‘key workers’.

Therefore, we thought it would be useful to summarise the key points on what employers are being advised, so that employees know what to expect and can engage more confidently with their employers on the steps being put in place to maximise their safety when they return to work.

Work from home where at all possible – you should only be returning to the office if it is essential for you to do so. (Please see our remote working guide on our blog page)

Employers should perform a Covid-19 risk assessment, implement new working practices as a result, and check these will work for larger groups of people, ideally before employees return to work

Maintain 2 metres social distancing wherever possible

Where social distancing is not possible, employers need to manage virus transmission risk through a number of appropriate ways, such as, the use of barriers, by changing shift patterns, staggering start and finish times, introducing one-way systems, removing hot-desking, and minimising the numbers of people working together/attending f-to-f meetings.

Employers need to put processes in place to improve cleaning measures.

People are being advised to avoid public transport where possible. Speak to your employer about access to car parking space and changing facilities if coming to work on a bike.

Ultimately, coming out of lockdown will be a massive adjustment for employers and employees, and there are many questions still to be answered. The most important thing is to have a clear, open dialogue between both parties so that concerns can be raised, and there is flexibility on both sides in order to manage some of the likely issues e.g. commuting, working schedules, etc.