With lockdown easing and businesses beginning to reopen, it's natural to feel a little daunted about returning to site. With new social distancing rules in place, your working routine is bound to change. You’re likely to see changes to your office layout, your day-to-day schedule, how you’re expected to move around your workplace, and your own daily habits. We've created this infographic to explore some of the likely changes your employer will have made, as well as changes you may be expected to make to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.
What will your employer be doing to keep you safe?
Before you return to the office, your employer should have carried out a risk assessment and put a COVID-secure strategy in place. This may include:
- A one-way system - Previously seldom-used exists and entrances may be reinstated so you don’t encounter colleagues face-on when moving around buildings.
- Floor markings - Look out for new floor and wall signs showing you which direction to go, where to wait, or how far away to stand.
- Foot operated door openers - Plus any other devices that help you open doors without touching the handle with your hands.
- Hand sanitiser stations - You should be given easy access to hand washing facilities or sanitiser, especially at ‘high traffic’ areas.
- Air hand dryers may be removed - Expect to use disposable paper towels.
- Different refreshment and kitchen procedures - You may need to bring your own food and drinks.
- Flexible, or staggered working policies - Working from home, or taking advantage of flexible hours may be encouraged to limit crowding and cut the risk of entrances and corridors getting busy at the same time every day.
- Clear desk policies - You may have to remove personal items.
- Desk booking systems, or work bubbles/rotas - Prepare for a change in how often you come into the office, and how your desk is used.
- Temperature checks - Some workplaces may instigate temperature checking for staff and visitors before they enter the building.
What can you do to stay safe?
- Familiarise yourself with the new rules Take time to read any literature, posters and policies sent from your employer. New social distancing rules may seem complicated or tedious, but by following them, you will be helping to significantly reduce the risk of another devastating outbreak.
- Wash your hands regularly Be extra vigilant with handwashing — try to be conscious of what you’ve touched, and get into the habit of regularly using hand sanitiser or washing your hands to kill any germs you might have picked up inadvertently.
- Prepare lunch at home Office kitchens are hot-spots for germs because they’re used so often, by so many — so they may be temporarily closed. Avoid communal equipment by preparing your lunch at home and bringing it in.
- Bring your own mug and crockery Minimise your risk of touching contaminated crockery by bringing your own mug and cutlery, and taking it home with you, or putting it in the dishwasher to clean at the end of each day.
- Respect others’ space Remember the social distancing rules, and be mindful of others.
- Work from home more If you can, make use of your ability to work from home. By lightening the footfall in the office, social distancing becomes easier to implement.
- Make use of video conferencing, chat and phone systems Chances are you’ve become familiar with alternative methods of communicating with your team and clients during lockdown. This doesn’t have to stop. Make use of the tools available to keep reducing the risks over the coming months.
- Cycle or walk to work If you can, cycle or walk to work to avoid public transport and help prevent the roads from being clogged up with car traffic.
- Use equipment as advised Prepare to be asked to wear masks, gloves, or other equipment in certain situations where contact or close proximity is necessary.
- Develop a workstation hygiene routine Make a habit out of your new desk hygiene routine. The more you do it, the more it’ll become second nature. Disinfect your surface, your screen, chair arms, mouse and keyboard before and after every use. Don’t forget your personal items too.
- Go outside for your breaks Weather permitting, take your break outside to avoid crowding out social areas. Take a walk at lunch for some fresh air and to top up your activity levels, or suggest a walking meeting with your team to help with social distancing.
- Take care of your mental wellbeing These times are strange and difficult for many of us. You may feel unsettled, or stressed out by all the changes happening at work. If you’re struggling to cope, talk to a colleague or your manager. Recognise your own signs of stress and don’t be afraid to take a break.
- Be extra accommodating Remember that this is all new for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our lives, from finances to relationships. You may find it hard to be on top form with your work, and your colleagues might feel the same. Be extra accommodating with the people around you as we all ease through these changes together.
If you have any concerns, raise it with your manager or site contact. Measures have been put in place quickly and with the best intentions but sometimes things get overlooked!
Explore our entire collection of social distancing products here.