Returning to Work: How to Make Your Workplace COVID-Secure


Darren HockleyMD of DeltaNet International

Friday, August 21, 2020

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has disrupted the entire globe, and as life begins to return to some kind of normal, businesses are going to be looking to ensure their workplaces are COVID-secure.

Article 3 Minutes
Returning to Work: How to Make Your Workplace COVID-Secure

According to the CIPD, more than two-fifths of UK workers are anxious about returning to the workplace following the pandemic - a trend we’ve seen repeated across the world ever since lockdown began to ease this summer.

Whether it’s going to happen sooner or later for your business, teams around the world are beginning to consider what their return to ‘normality’ will look like – and it’s safe to say that, for many, this will involve returning to the office in some form.

In order to ease this transition, business leaders must focus on the welfare of their employees, that is, on their safety and mental health. This can be achieved by ensuring offices and workstations are hygienic and COVID-secure, and by empowering members of staff with information about health and safety best practices.

It’s up to organizational leaders to carry out effective risk assessments that take into consideration any risks staff members may encounter upon their return to work (including but not limited to the coronavirus risk) and to implement control measures to minimize these risks.

With added pressure to take extra precautions right now, below is a checklist to help businesses prepare to reopen safely:

Preventing the spread of infection

High on everyone’s agenda at the minute, it’s going to be important for business leaders to take the risk of infection seriously. Implementing measures to prevent the spread of infection will be important both physically (to keep employees out of harm’s way) and mentally (to avoid increasing anxiety levels) for members of staff.

Scheduling regular deep-cleans, providing staff with personal protective equipment and sanitation stations where appropriate, and observing social distancing guidelines will go a long way to help maintain strong hygiene levels and to keep anxiety about infection at bay.

Staff members should also know who to talk to if they feel anxious or unclear about the return to work. It might be worth organizing one-on-one or group meetings before the re-open to allow employees to share any feelings or concerns they have about their welfare.

Water and electrics

If your organization has been working from home since lockdown began, it's likely your water and electrical appliances could do with a check.

All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use and should therefore be inspected at regular intervals, e.g. with periodic inspection and testing by a qualified engineer. Now is a good opportunity to ensure your testing is up to date/code and that all electrical and portable appliances are still fit for use before you reopen.

Water safety is an often-forgotten focus of health and safety but neglecting it can be deadly. Offices that went into lockdown earlier this year are likely to have left water systems unused for months (think air-con, hot and cold tanks, or on-site showers). Still water is the perfect breeding ground for Legionella bacteria, so don’t forget to inspect, maintain, and regularly service all water management systems your employees come into contact with.

Fire safety

Your workplace will likely have installed a new layout to comply with coronavirus safety rules, so it’s important not to forget the impact this might have on fire safety, as it will change the evacuation procedures.

Make sure all staff are aware of any new fire safety arrangements and consider staging a socially distanced fire drill for added precaution.

Darren Hockley

Darren Hockley is the Managing Director of eLearning provider DeltaNet International. The company specializes in the development of engaging compliance and health and safety eLearning courses designed to mitigate risks and improve employee performance.


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