The Government's recent announcement that face masks will be made compulsory in English shops should come as a reminder that, despite the lifting of the lockdown measures, the danger of COVID-19 hasn't gone away.
Social distancing measures are likely to remain a fact of life for the foreseeable future, and businesses will have to adapt or perish-
Let's take a look at a few of the creative ways in which businesses have been tackling these challenges.
A risk assessment should be conducted in close collaboration with unions, and directly with your staff. Moreover, it should be informed by the advice of the Health and Safety Executive. This will ensure transparency and demonstrate trustworthiness. For much the same reasons, the results of your risk assessment should be made public, along with any measures you're going to take to mitigate the risk.
Social distancing remains among the most powerful means of battling the virus. Desks can be rearranged, tables can be spread apart, and one-way systems can be devised. In cases where staff cannot be kept two metres apart, employers might use other strategies, such as screens, facemasks, or staggering working times. Incidentally, staggering will also prevent your staff from being unnecessarily exposed to rush-hour on public transport.
Anti-contagion measures like hand washing remain critical. Hand sanitizer should be made available around your workplace, as well as in washrooms. Surfaces that are touched regularly, like door handles and desks, should be cleaned just as regularly. Perhaps just as important as hand washing is hand drying, as pathogens can be transmitted much more easily via wet surfaces.
The habits of your workforce will determine the extent to which these measures are taken. By fostering a culture where everyone is vigilant against the threat of contagion, you'll set your business up to be safer in the long run.
Different businesses face different challenges. Shops and restaurants, for example, might put into place measures which change the behaviour of their customers. This might include signage and tape on the floor that illustrates just how far two metres actually is. Printing firms like instantprint have taken the initiative here, producing signage that gets the message across effectively and consistently. Specific coronavirus signage provides information such as safe distances, one-way system directions and limiting shop numbers or where to queue.
Working from Home
Working from home might no longer be mandatory, but it can still be a highly effective means of limiting contagion. A reduction of staff in a workplace means fewer opportunities for the virus to spread.
Working from home does, however, have its downsides. Some workers might feel a sense of isolation, which, among other things, might limit productivity. A lack of equipment might also hinder attempts at remote working. Those asked to work from home can be consulted regularly, with an ongoing conversation taking place. Optimising the situation may require extensive tweaking, and that is only possible through dialogue.