25/03/2020 – Covid-19 and Lockdown – As we see the world halt and enter a mass lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 it’s natural that there will be anxiety around business and fear of what the future may hold. It’s important to remember that we are all in this together, everyone across the UK, in fact the world.
It’s difficult times and we need to ensure that we can plan for the future as best we can, that will start by looking after yourself and your business right now!
The instructions delivered from the Government on 23rd March 2020 was to remain at home and only travel if absolutely necessary. If your employees can work from home, then you should be making provisions for this.
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
The government has put some of the following measures in place:
- Closing Non-Essential Shops and Public Spaces
- Stopping Public Gatherings – preventing gatherings of more than 2 people unless they are from the same household
There is an exception where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.
We appreciate that there hasn’t been a long time to prepare for this change and so here’s some steps you need to consider, to ensure your employees H&S are looked after:
- How will your employees work from home?
Do they already have the equipment to work from home or will you need to supply equipment? They’ll need everything to allow them to successfully complete their role – Things like laptop, desk and chair, WiFi etc.
- Do they have access to systems and documents they’ll need to carry out their role?
You’ll need to consider security & GDPR, documents, phone calls shared drives and ensure that they can access them away from the office.
- How you will look after their wellbeing and H&S?
Things such as communication channels, catch ups, using technology to help keep in contact. Try virtual coffee breaks at a set time, virtual games/quizzes etc to keep morale up and some sort of channel people can access to talk about their concerns/mental well being.
Trust is a massive issue when working from home. Try to make work more about outputs and work completed rather than about hours sat at laptops/computers as this is very difficult to manage and incredibly stressful for employees, particularly with those that have children/dogs/pets/caring responsibilities for others – often these staff may find it easier to work when the kids are napping for example so may get more done by working irregular hours (where it’s appropriate).How will you empower your teams to work remotely? Trust is an essential element in any business and maintaining this virtually for some can be a challenge. Celebrate successes, avoid micromanagement, communicate regularly and reassure your employees of their valued contributions.
The government guidance has been pretty clear that the best option for all, if possible, is to work from home.
If your business must remain open as it’s not possible to work from home, then you must apply the social distancing measures such as keeping the 2 metres apart rule at all times, increased hygiene in the office, wash your hands more often and encourage employees to do so also, at regular intervals.
Keeping safe and protecting those around us is THE most important action we should be following. It can seem daunting introducing these measures and managing them, but we are here to help. We will be posting useful documents, advice and guidance in our Facebook group, so feel free to join to keep up to date. For individual advice or support please get in touch at; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading: 25/03/2020 – Covid-19 and Lockdown
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