Businesses that involve more face-to-face contact are slowly getting ready to reopen in the safest way possible – with some non-essential locations looking to open as early as June 1.
Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment has encouraged businesses to start thinking about life after lockdown and preparing to put measures in place to reopen safely.
The recruitment firm is among hundreds of businesses locally whose staff have adapted to a new way of working.
Anne Corder said: "While we continue listen to and follow the Government’s advice on the easing of the lock down in a number of areas, there are many people across the region who are still anxious about what a return to the office will mean to them.
"It is fair to say that employers will have a number of criteria to adhere to, taking into account the social distancing measures as well as longer-term factors when it comes to protecting the health of their workforce.
"While there is much to consider, including many tasks which would have been taken for granted pre-pandemic, a good starting point would be to engage with staff and find out from them what their main concerns are about returning to work.
"Many of the measures will be practical, while others may need many people to re-think their working day."
Hairdressers and beauty practitioners are among those waiting for new rules to be put in place and are following government guidelines and preparing for the time when they can eventually reopen. This has included ensuring staff are fully up to date with health and safety training specifically in relation to coronavirus.
This training has included putting specific steps in place to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Some of these steps include: paying by card only (contactless is preferable), waiting outside until your appointment time, coming to your appointment by yourself, washing your hands constantly and, of course, if you or someone in your household has symptoms, stay at home.
As for stores, it's unclear what measures will be put in place, but it is highly unlikely that things will be back to normal straight away.
After it was confirmed that some Primark staff returned to the store to prepare for the opening, a spokesperson said: "Nothing matters more to us than the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers. That is why we will only re-open our stores in the UK once we are convinced that it is safe and right to do so.
"We are closely following all safety advice from government and will treat this as the minimum standard across all our stores."
The TUC is calling on the Government to introduce tough new measures to ensure that before lockdown restrictions are eased, all employers assess the risks of their staff returning to work outside the home.
The union body is demanding that every employer in the UK be required to carry out a specific Covid-19 risk assessment, developed in consultation with unions and workers.
These are among the considerations:
- How can staff safely adhere to the two-metre social distancing rule? This could include adequate spacing of desks, Perspex shields on workstations, not sharing laptops or other equipment, easy to follow floor marking or introducing a one-way system.
- Restricting and re-thinking access to staff areas like kitchens and toilets.
- Advising staff to bring in their own ready to eat food, cutlery, water bottles – and keep these with them at all times.
- Introducing a rule of no personal post being delivered to staff at the office.
- Agreeing flexible working instead of taking longer periods of time off, for example working from home or changing working hours to allow for childcare if children haven’t returned to school.
- Staggering work times to limit the number of people in the office at one time.
- Making sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and encourage everyone to do so regularly. Providing hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them.
- Keeping everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace and make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
- Ensuring managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected and needs to take the appropriate action.
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