Advice for Office Based Businesses Reopening Safely Post Lockdown
Many small businesses have been given the green light to reopen, so long as they make sure they are COVID19 secure. Specific information can vary from sector to sector, but much of the important steps remain the same.
Here is some general advice for office-based businesses which are reopening to their workers on how ensure they are COVID19 secure.
Create a safe working environment
It is of the utmost importance that you keep your employees safe in their workplace. Measures include:
- Review office layout to allow people to work further apart from each other
- Provide training and educational materials for cleanliness and best hygiene practices
- Put in place cleaning protocols and measures for the workplace and make sure staff are aware of them, such as providing hand sanitizer around the workplace, frequent cleaning of shared surfaces etc.
- Encourage staff to stay at home if they feel unwell
- Avoid hotdesking. Where this is not possible (such as call centres) clean work stations between occupiers
- Frequently clean regularly touched objects (such as door handles) and surfaces.
Manage social distancing in the workplace
It is important to management transmission risk in the workplace should someone enter the building who is not aware they have the virus. These include:
- Understanding if an activity (such as a meeting) must take place or if it can be a call instead
- Keep times of activities as short as possible
- Manage occupancy levels to help enable social distancing
- Use screens or barriers to separate workspaces
- Try back to back or side to side working
- Stagger arrival and departure times
- Arrange one way traffic throughout the office and communal areas
Restrict incoming deliveries
Research has shown that the virus can live on surfaces for sometime after becoming contaminated. With delivery people touching many surfaces and parcels during their rounds, handling of incoming deliveries must be considered.
Limit the number of incoming deliveries to essentials, such as office supplies. Restrict other deliveries such as worker personal packages.
For important deliveries, find ways to remove direct person to person passing of items. Instead, use drop off points.
Check your office's ventilation
Having good ventilation is important in keeping staff safe.
- Check whether your ventilation systems need servicing or adjusting
- Where possible, open windows and doors frequently to allow fresh ventilation
Understand your industry-specific guidance for post COVID19 lockdown
Your industry sector association will have provided guidance to help with this process and this is the best place when reopening your business. They should provide many additional details to incorporate into your plan and to keep your staff (and maybe customers) safe.