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Working from home during Covid-19

How to create a ‘return to workplace’ plan

In May 2020 the UK government launched a roadmap and campaign advocating that office workers should return to the office. Yet we are now being advised to work from home ‘if we can’. Guidance for returning to work is now rather conflicting.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we believe that having a ‘return to workplace’ plan (for whenever reason it is needed – of course) is important. As remote working is the new normal, we’ve detailed some ideas about how to make your return to workplace plan inclusive for all.

Return to the workplace

As of 22 September, the government made a U-turn with its statement regarding returning to the office. Michael Gove made a statement that if it is possible to work from home, people should. This could leave you understandably confused about the right steps to take for your employees. The question is whether you should continue with your return to work plan or put it on hold.

At Kirkwood Wilson accountants in Ormskirk, we’re here to provide peace of mind during these worrying times and have some guidance for completing your return to workplace plan. Additionally, if you’re worried about the state your business is travelling in, we are always here to offer a friendly face and a helping hand with your business worries.

What your return to workplace plan should involve

As the health and safety risks from Covid-19 are primarily concerned with person-to-person contact in the office, there are a lot of considerations for employers regarding the virus entering the building and spreading to staff members.

At Kirkwood Wilson, we recommend that your return to workplace plan should involve the following:

  1. Risk assessments
  2. Consider your employees’ wants and needs
  3. Continuously update policies and practice.

Return to workplace plan – risk assessments

Risk assessments, risk assessments, risk assessments. The words on everyone’s lips when the UK gradually started lifting restrictions. You must consider health and safety measures aiming to mitigate risks and also reduce uncertainty amongst employees. Once the risk assessment has been completed, you must share it with members of your team to familiarise themselves with the measures you have put in place.

We recommend the following when carrying out your risk assessment and assigning preventative measures:

  • Cleaning protocols – Table cleaning procedures should be put in place, as well as consideration about the main touchpoint areas within the office.
  • Social distancing procedures – You could have markers on the floor detailing how the workforce travels around the office.
  • Hand sanitiser, hygiene stations – Hygiene and washing hands regularly are some of the most important things to stop the virus from spreading.
  • Protect your bubble – Minimise non-workers from entering the office environment.

Return to workplace plan – Consider your employees’ wants and needs

As many employees were told to shield due to health reasons when we first went into lockdown, as an employer it is important to consider your employees’ worries. If you have been continuing to work from home throughout the pandemic, it might be worthwhile including more flexible working.

We recommend considering the following:

  • Keep a record of your staff work patterns for 21 days
  • Consider how many people should be in the workplace at any given time
  • Adjust working hours and break times.

Return to workplace plan – Continuously update policies

When government guidelines change, it is important to familiarise yourself with new rules. As new measures are introduced for businesses and day-to-day life regularly, at times it can be overwhelming.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we’re here for you if you need professional business advice or a helping hand planning your finances.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our services, simply get in touch today and the team will be more than happy to help. Call us on 01704 546000 or contact us.

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