Fortus return to work plan... Do you have one?

22 September 2020

Like all businesses, during this pandemic we’ve put the team’s health and safety first in everything we’ve done.

In the last few weeks, our focus has not only been looking after their wellbeing whilst working at home, but on making sure we begin to plan for the future. This process started as we always do with consulting all our team members on their views and concerns on returning to work and offices via a survey and in conversations with managers and leaders.

Some results of our survey were:

83% of our people said they currently felt able to do their job working at home just as well as they could if they were back at the office.

41% of our people said they had concerns about returning to the office.

Main concerns cited were:

  • Taking unnecessary risks.
  • Implementing social distancing.
  • People may not have symptoms and could spread the virus.
  • Visitors coming into the office.
  • Sharing and hygiene of the offices / shared areas / facilities

63% said they wanted the wearing of PPE to be optional and not mandatory.

We’ve made sure that we’ve written and communicated a clear ‘return to work’ plan that not only keeps our teams as safe as possible, but one that ensures they continue to have choices and a voice, as we shift into the next phase of relaxing lock down.

I thought I’d share our process and the plan, to help business owners out there when they are creating their own return to work plans.

Return to Work steps taken:

  • Survey completed by all team members and results reviewed.
  • Office review and risk assessment completed.
  • To ensure social distancing:
    – Clear marking of desks available to use.
    – One way systems (where applicable).
    – Allocation of holding areas.
    – Relevant signage.
  • Relevant sanitising and cleaning supplies have been purchased and put within all location for all individuals to use.
  • Deep cleaning now and continually throughout return to work.
  • An office rota system / phasing for teams of days in the office to ensure social distancing is possible on all days.
  • Guidelines drawn up on how we will operate and circulated to all team members.

Key guidelines we’ve issued:

  • Attending an office is voluntary and no team or individuals will be mandated to attend an office if they feel uncomfortable in doing so.
  • Meetings to continue online via technology wherever possible. Offices will not host any external people for meetings.
  • Following the results of the survey, the wearing of PPE will be optional.
  • As well as regular cleaning centrally and because of desks having to be used by different people on different days, a degree of personal accountability will be implemented. Individuals are also responsible for wiping down any work area at the start / end of the day.
  • No sharing of equipment will occur including keyboards, mice, pens, etc. When this is impractical, such as the use of printers, relevant steps should be taken by individuals including wiping down the equipment and washing hands.
  • Facilities such as toilets and kitchens will remain open but again it is their responsibility to wipe these down before and after use.
  • Air-conditioning will remain off and windows utilised for ventilation.

Future plans

  • We will continue to monitor all individuals, their wellbeing, thoughts and concerns.
  • We will continue to monitor government guidelines in respect of COVID-19 including specific advice around the office environment.
  • Any changes will be communicated to every individual.
  • Review of our ‘Agile Working’.

We understand that every individuals’ circumstances are different and that every person will have a choice whether to begin to work back in an office again. Health and safety of individuals remains paramount.

I’m sure like everything right now, our return to work plan and guidelines will need to flex and change throughout the coming months to ensure we continue to look after both our people and our clients in the safest way possible.

If you’d like to discuss any parts of Fortus’ Return to Work plan, then contact Alexandra Marriott or telephone 01604 273782.