With lockdown restrictions being eased around the UK at the moment, people are beginning to think about going back to the office once again and employers are now starting to reopen workplaces. But it isn’t going to be as it was and staff will have to prepare themselves for a new way of working in the future.
If companies have more than five employees, they are legally required to carry out a risk assessment, with elected staff representatives consulted. Measures that are already being seen in shops and factories will be seen in offices, as well, such as staggered shift times, one-way systems and screens or barriers separating people.
Hand sanitiser stations will be a regular feature throughout offices and handwashing rates will increase, with touch points (such as desk phones, doors and so on) will be cleaned more regularly, as well.
From July 4th, the social distancing guidelines will be changed from 2m to 1m with risk mitigation where 2m isn’t viable – which you may hear referred to as ‘1m-plus’.
So staff members will have to stay 2m apart wherever possible but, if this cannot be achieved, measures like protective screens, face masks and turning people away from each other should be taken.
Engineering consultant Aruphas found that a 1m-plus rule could see many offices around the country return to 100 per cent capacity, compared to less than a third when following a 2m rule, the Guardian reports.
The Confederation of British Industry noted that the majority of British offices would adhere to a 2m social distancing rule and only those where workers could avoid making use of public transport to get to the office would gradually return, and then only if people can’t work from home.
Transport is still one of the biggest obstacles to a general return to work, with the news source noting that current advice is to avoid public transport where possible. In London, capacity is running at just 15-20 per cent of normal levels, so a mass return won’t be workable for some time.
Returning to the office too soon could have an impact on mental health, however, with new research from Bupa Health Clinics finding that 65 per cent of people are worried about going back to the workplace, with one in seven admitting that they’re stressed about their return
One of the biggest worries among Brits was social distancing in offices, with many people concerned that people would come into work when they have colds.
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