We were asked today how to manage employees as they return to work from Lockdown. As this might apply to a lot of employers, we thought we’d make it the subject of a blog.
You’ll already have done the things that the Government’s advising you to do to create a COVID safe workplace. You’ll have completed your COVID 19 risk assessments, you’ll have put up the signs reminding people to wash their hand and you’ve likely bought hand sanitiser. But there are some practical things to think about how people behave at work.
Our ten tips to manage employees as they return to work from Lockdown
- Touching colleagues. It should go without saying but some returning workers will need reminding what your policy on touching. What’s your policy on whether your employees should shake hands with visitors. The more informal supportive slap on the shoulder or the high fives when someone signs a big deal are no longer welcome.
- Facemasks at work. At the time of writing it’s not always necessary to wear a mask all day. But it will depend on your workplace and your risk assessment. But each worker should at least have a mask on their person in case it’s needed.
- Sharing a telephone or headset. Phones are hotspots that your risk assessments should address. Your employees shouldn’t share headsets or handsets. Make sure there are suitable wipes available to help people regularly sanitise these to keep them clean.
- Sharing pens and other items. Sharing things like staplers, scissors and pens without sanitising them is a thing of the past. Pens are a particular issue as some people put these in their mouths out of habit. Think about the local rules you want to introduce. You don’t have to buy everyone a stapler, but if you don’t you need to instruct people when they should be sanitising them. Where pens are concerned it may be easiest to ban sharing pens and make sure that everyone has a sufficient supply for their needs.
- Standing too close to colleagues. It isn’t just touching co-workers which has to stop post lockdown it’s also standing too close to them. How will you remind people that they must try to maintain at least a one metre space between themselves and others? You’ll have looked at this generally in your risk assessment but it’s useful thinking about practical things. If you have a small kitchen, maybe you restrict access to one person at a time? Possibly the same with toilet areas?
- Switches. Controls for lighting, heating, air-con systems or electrical sockets can all become hotspots for virus transmission. These should be included in regular cleaning schedules. But putting in place rules about not changing temperature settings on air con or switching lights on and off other than at the start and end of the day may be necessary
- Making tea for others. Pre-lockdown, anyone making themselves a cup of tea not offering to make one for their colleagues wasn’t a team player. The “new normal” has turned this on its head. Avoid the problem by telling people that they should only make their own refreshments.
- Gathering outside work. Many workers like to get together outside of work for a few drinks but as the pandemic continues you may be concerned about this. But you can’t dictate to employees what they do outside of work. What you can do is ask them to do is to try to avoid doing this. Reminding them that they have a responsibility to team colleagues and the business to protect one another as best they can.
If you need help with how to manage employees as they return to work from Lockdown give us a call on 01706 565332 or use the contact form and we’ll come back to you straight away.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.