A Business Owner’s Guide to Returning to the Workplace
Posted on 15th October 2021 at 09:00
We’re sure you’re as pleased as we are that the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually nearing its end. As more and more business owners and their employees return to their normal workplaces, we thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips on how to make it a smooth and stress-free transition.
Carry out a risk assessment
Risk assessments should be carried out regularly anyway, as they ensure that hazards are removed in order for your commercial premises to remain a safe place to work. Your risk assessment should cover all areas of the building and look out for potential hazards, such as:
Uneven surfaces and unsafe stairways
Cables and loose carpets that could cause people to trip
Furniture that prohibits easy movement around the space
Electrical equipment that’s faulty or needs replacing
Any form of fire hazard
In the process, hazards connected to coronavirus and general health should be incorporated into your risk assessment. For instance, ensure that every work area has suitable ventilation and air flow, plus you should increase the volume and intensity of cleaning and sanitisation that takes place each week.
Train your staff in safe conduct
Before the pandemic, countless business owners and employees would go to work even though they were feeling a bit under the weather. A slight temperature, cough, sniffle, headache and even nausea were often ignored, as individuals didn’t want to fall behind on their workload.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re responsible for our own health and can also protect that of others. Every member of staff should be told to not come into the workplace if they’re showing any kind of symptoms. If they feel that they don’t need to take a sick day, they can instead work from home until they feel completely better.
Mental health support in the workplace
The last 18+ months have been extremely difficult for everyone, with some people feeling the pressure more than others. Many workers have experienced stress, depression and loneliness due to self-isolation, social distancing and not being able to spend as much time with friends and family as normal.
Though most restrictions were lifted a few months ago, many people still feel very uncertain about carrying out what used to be everyday tasks such as popping to the shop or getting on the bus. As a result, some of your employees may be suffering from low mood or social anxiety, so make sure to support everyone’s mental health and do everything you can to offer reassurance. For instance:
Make hybrid working a long-term system so that staff can work from home on certain days or as part of a rota system.
Remember that not everyone is ready to shake hands or make other physical contact yet, so respect their wishes and don’t make a big deal out of it.
Many people have seen their finances negatively affected. For example, they may now be walking to work instead of spending money on petrol, or bringing homemade sandwiches instead of joining everyone for a team lunch out of the office. You may not be in a position to increase their wages, but make sure to be sympathetic of their new circumstances.
Rather than always meeting in person, offer communication in a variety of ways. Email, phone call, Zoom chat, Teams instant messenger, WhatsApp and project management apps like Slack and Monday can all be used to prevent unnecessary gatherings.
We're here to help
Our biggest tip is to always ask us for advice when you need it, as we’re business advisors as well as accountants and tax specialists. For more information, call our Yorkshire office on 01482 235575, our London office on 0207 885 0605, or fill in the contact form below.
Tagged as: Self-employment
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