Whatever, your situation the government has produced guidelines on how to make this safer for you, your staff and visitors in light of Covid-19. That’s because, employers, they say have “a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.”
Here are their main suggestions (in order of importance):
Other actions employers can take to safeguard the health and safety of employees in the office include cutting short the time your employees spend with each other, or a client.
This could also mean reducing the number of individuals an employee is in contact with during working hours. Employers can achieve this by putting a ban on physical meetings altogether, for instance, or at least having ‘online only’ team meetings where staff dial in using software such as Zoom or Teams etc.
You could also stagger working times so that although a total number of staff are in the office, it is not all at the one time. Perhaps employees who have a ‘lark’ body clock could come in earlier at 8am and leave at 5pm and those with more of an ‘owl’ outlook could work later into the evening.
In-office working could be changed too so that instead of working opposite each other ie face-to-face, desks are moved so that employees are back to back. Or they can even work side to side, provided distancing measures are in place.
Essentially, the government states that no employee should be forced to work in an environment which is ‘unsafe.’
Screens. In addition to social distancing measures there are other ways of attempting to keep office employees safe from Covid-19. This includes erecting screens. You have no doubt seen these in shops and other retail establishments at pay points. These can also be erected in offices – particularly large layouts with many desks.
Desks. For some time now there have been calls for larger desks. The coronavirus pandemic has brought this even further. A large desk obviously increases distancing between individuals far more than a small cubicle-style version.
Bike racks. Commuting via public transport can prove particularly risky, due to the difficulty of social distancing. Not to mention the sheer number of people it’s possible to come in contact with. For this reason, the government is asking employers to consider fitting bike racks to encourage staff to cycle to work.
Signage. It’s not strictly furniture, but it is a new physical addition to the office. And it does have an effect on the physical movement of employees. Signage (link to page) shouldn’t just be for entry and exit areas to ensure staff stay distanced. It’s also for directional purposes ie to avoid staff coming into contact when moving around the office.
Meanwhile, large employers are obliged to carry out a risk assessment (link to page). But this doesn’t mean they can then rest on their laurels. The measures they have taken must then be reviewed on an ongoing and regular basis.
At Metric Office Furniture and Interiors we have been producing design and space solutions for offices for more than 50 years now.
In light of the need for office staff to maintain social distance during the Covid-19 scare, we are manufacturing a range of signage for employers to choose from. You can see this on our special ‘graphics’ page on our website www.metric-office.co.uk. To get in touch call us on 01784 456 850. You can also drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org