Preparing your Office for Work Post Covid-19 Lockdown 2020

Written by Linda Hunt & Keith Cooper of The Printroom Group

Let’s get back to working in our office safely.

This is one of the main focus points of businesses at the moment. Let us help you prepare your office for work post-lockdown.


The Government has set out guidelines with input from Public Health England, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to develop the best practices on the safest ways of working and getting the economy back on its feet.

We have been working with our clients, some of which include Atos UK&I, Mace Macro, and Oracle Corporation helping to implement a safe working environment with all social distancing protocols in place with a range of signage, stands and stations to ensure that all of their staff members can return to work as safely as possible.


Carry Out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.

All employers need to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with employees or Trade Unions. Employers are encouraged to publish the results on their website and/or in paper format.

Maintain 2 Meters Social Distancing where possible.

Employers are being encouraged to re-design workspaces to maintain social distancing. 2 metres or 1 metre+ distancing are your options and whatever you decide works for you, needs to be implemented for your employees and customers to work in a safe environment.

This can be done by staggering start and finish times of staff, creating wider walk-throughs, opening more exits and changing seating plans.

One Way Flow Systems.

It’s advised that the introduction of a one-way workflow system be introduced to offices. This would mean that employees enter through one way and only move around the Office in a one-way system exiting via an exit only door.

Arrow shaped floor stickers can be placed to show that the system is in place and let staff know what way to move around the Office.

Restrictions on access to certain parts of the Office should also be introduced, so store cupboards and other areas may only be used by dedicated staff. This can be enforced by using pull-up banners and other types of barriers.

High traffic areas like corridors and walkways should also be clearly marked to encourage social distancing.

Work Stations and Desks

Hot Desking should also be avoided. This also includes the sharing of equipment with staff using dedicated equipment wherever possible.

Removable vinyl “DO NOT SIT HERE” stickers are available from The Printroom along with cardboard A4 Strut cards with a simple bold “DO NOT SIT AT THIS DESK” message. Desks should also be moved apart wherever possible.

Desks should also be placed so that employees are either working back to back or side to side working.

Desk Screens 

Barriers and screens should be put up between desks to divide working spaces in offices, where possible. Barriers can be purchased from The Printroom and can be either heavy-duty or cost-effective cardboard engineered screens.

Meetings

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and maintain Social Distancing in meetings Zoom, Facetime or Microsoft Teams software should be used. Even if the people in the meetings are still in the same building. Only absolutely necessary participants should be physically in the same room. This should also be maintaining a two-meter distancing rule.

Are your IT systems Fit For Work?

If your employees have been using their own devices, they may need to be checked over so that they are virus-free and ready to be back in the Office. Has all your PAT testing been up to date? Have your computers had the latest updates and are they up-to-date with the latest anti-virus software?

Are your premises Clean and Hygienic?

Your Offices may have been empty for the last few months, or it they may have had a limited number of staff present. It may need a deep clean to get the workplace up to a functional area.

You may need to arrange cleaning throughout the workplace. Government guidelines are that offices should be cleaned more frequently with close attention being placed on high contact objects like door handles, bannisters, keyboards, photocopiers and office printers.

Signage should also be put up to encourage and remind staff to increase the frequency of washing their hands for 20 seconds or more. These signs should be all over the Office, not just in toilets and kitchens. All toilets should have hand soap and anti-bacterial gel available for all employees.

Employers should also display notices to let both employees and visitors that companies have followed this guidance. Hand sanitizer stations should be available for employees at various locations throughout the Office.

Ventilation Systems

With a reduced number of occupants in the Office, systems should be checked to make sure ventilation is at its highest, and they do not automatically reduce airflow. If you are unsure, you should seek advice from your Air Conditioning engineers.

Windows should be open, as well as doors to encourage as much ventilation as possible.

Waste should be removed as soon as possible, and belongings and clutter should be kept to a minimum. Coats and bags should be taken home at the end of shifts, and a clear desk policy should be implemented.

Don’t forget lifts – notices should state how many people in the lift at any one time and footprint stickers should be put on the floor to show people where to stand.


Social Distancing must be applied to eating areas and breakout rooms, not just workspaces. These are noted as one of the highest risk areas for passing on viruses.

Let one of our team members give you a free consultation regarding the preparation of getting your team back to the office. Email Linda Hunt directly at lhunt@printroom.co.uk

Further Guidance.

The government[1] and HSE website[3] both provide excellent, clear information for businesses trying to create a COVID-secure workplace and protect their staff and customers.

Your industry’s trade association may also be able to provide you with information relevant to your own sector. (For example, the Association of Convenience Stores [ACS] has produced specific guidance[7].)

To help prepare your business, and keep staff and customers safer, please see our range of social distancing products.

About the Authors

Keith Cooper, Managing Director

Keith has been with the Printroom for 37 years  and was originally employed as a Lithographic printer whom over the years has acquired a vast knowledge of the print trade across all sectors that has greatly benefitted not only small companies, but also blue chip. Keith works with our clients by bringing in processes and procedures, implementing  KPI systems, best practice and cost savings whilst taking into consideration H&S and HR at all times. This has been evident throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, offering guidance and assistance in line with the Government recommendations which has been positively received by our clients.

Linda Hunt, Sales Director

A career spanning more than 30 years within the print trade, Linda joined the Printroom in 2007, bringing with her an unrivalled wealth of knowledge and expertise and has been an invaluable group member within the Printroom’s growth and success story. Linda’s work ethos has ensured repeat business from our clients such as, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Atos UK&I and Brand Learning to name but a few and is looked upon as the coach and mentor of the Printroom.


Please note that this information was correct at the time of publication. We recommend checking the gov.uk to ensure the guidance you use is up to date.

References
1. GOV.UK, ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches [accessed May 29th, 2020]

2.Health and Safety Executive, ‘Managing risks and risk assessment at work’, https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm [accessed May 29th, 2020]

3. Health and Safety Executive, ‘Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus’, https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/assets/docs/talking-with-your-workers.pdf [accessed May 29th 2020]

4. GOV.UK, ‘COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings’, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings [accessed May 29th, 2020]

5. British Retail Consortium, ‘Pandemic flu planning in the food retail sector’, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85916/flu_food_planning_assumptions.pdf [accessed May 29th, 2020]

6. Koh, D (2020) – Occupational risks for COVID-19 infection, Occupational Medicine, 2020 Mar; 70(1): 3-5

7. COVID-19 – Coronavirus guidance, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), https://www.acs.org.uk/advice/covid-19-coronavirus [accessed June 4th, 2020].



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