How can we better redesign offices and premises in the wake of COVID-19?

Advice published from the World Health Organisation (WHO) specifies that those who can work from home should continue to do so for the foreseeable future to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and allow for easier social distancing for those who can’t work from home.

New guidance has been published from the Government to help get Britain back to work safely, but that’s going to be no easy task. Practical guidelines published in May 2020 to make workplaces as safe as possible and give people confidence to go back to work during coronavirus pandemic involve the re-design of office and retail spaces. Developed in consultation with 250 businesses, unions, industry leaders as well as devolved administrations, up to an extra £14 million has been made available for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment which shows the scale of the mammoth task involved.

Like you, we’ve been hard at work considering the design of our offices to make sure all staff who do come into work can safely socially distance and looked to Government guidance and our knowledge of cleaning to explore what offices and retail spaces need to take into account:

 

Working from home

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and all businesses with over 50 employees are expected to do so.

Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.


Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.

If your staff are working and observing social distancing right now, you can book APM Cleaning and Repair to come into your commercial premises to carry out a deep clean for added peace of mind.

All our work is guaranteed, just call us on 0191 273 4600 and a member of our team will be happy to help you.