As Wales’ lockdown restrictions begin to ease, some employees will soon start to trickle back into the workplace. As we publish this post, the Welsh Government’s advice still stipulates that all staff who can work from home should continue to do so: “Workers are only allowed to return to the work place if it is not reasonably practicable for them to work from home” (source; original emphasis; last updated 2nd June 2020). However, our neighbour England has eased the rules further: those who need access to the workplace are now permitted to return to offices, provided they observe regulations (such as maintaining a one metre distance from others). We can assume that Wales may soon do the same.
Employers, too, have a list of regulations to observe. In England, businesses welcoming more than five staff members back to physical workplaces must complete a full written risk assessment, and must consult their employees via staff representatives.
There are also lots of physical changes which workplaces need to implement if they plan to welcome staff back into their premises. This includes updated approaches to hygiene and cleaning, as well as some structural “redesigning”. We’ve shared the key COVID-19 workplace cleaning and hygiene measures below.
COVID-19 office cleaning & adjustments
If your business premises is reopening, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure your workplace is compliant with COVID-19 guidelines, and to keep your staff as safe as possible. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a more comprehensive list of cleaning measures to help your workplace get COVID-compliant.
If possible, your workplace should implement separate entrances and exits. This will reduce congestion as people enter and leave, and ensure social distancing can be achieved.
Staggered arrival times
Arrange for your employees to arrive at staggered intervals to aid social distancing. This will help ensure people are using entrances, bathrooms and other facilities at different times.
Hand sanitiser stations
Set up hand sanitiser stations at key locations in your building, including at the entrance and near “high touch” facilities (i.e. next to bathrooms and photocopiers, etc.). Provide individual hand sanitisers at each workstation to ensure hand hygiene is as effective as possible.
Screens and barriers
Protect staff with customer facing roles, or staff who have a large number of interactions with other employees (i.e. receptionists), by setting up screens and barriers.
Cleaning touch points
Implement a very regular cleaning schedule for frequent touch points including door handles, printers, sinks and other bathroom surfaces. These touch points should be cleaned multiple times per day.
If possible, reduce the movement of staff within your premises. This will reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. You may ‘zone’ your teams, restricting all admin staff to the first floor, for example – or ask that employees only use their workstations and do not make use of any other spaces in the premises.
The fewer surfaces that staff come into contact with, the lower the chance of transmission. You may choose to prop doors open to reduce touching door handles, set up automatic soap dispensers or ask staff to use their personal phones instead of office telephones.
Make sure your staff are fully aware of all COVID-19 cleaning updates and new workplace regulations. Send regular updates via email and display posters with guidance prominently in the office. Encouraging regular hand-washing and use of sanitiser is especially important.
More information on Wales’ lockdown rules
If you would like to learn more about Wales’ lockdown rules and how they affect workplaces, then here are some links to resources on the Welsh Government website, which are regularly updated:
- Coronavirus (COVID 19): closure of businesses and premises
- Taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – general information
Is your premises reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown eases? The Abbey Cleaning Service can help deliver optimum hygiene and cleaning at your workplace. Contact us today for more information about our experienced commercial cleaning service in Cardiff and the South Wales area. Get in touch today on 029 2067 9323.