With an increased focus on social distancing and cleanliness in recent times, the environments nd how we work has changed. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, we have come to learn how easy it can be for illness to spread in our everyday environments – so putting in place new measures designed to make the workplace a safer environment is vital.

As a leading provider of workplace solutions, the team here at Active have created a guide on how you can make your work environment safe. We're going to take you through the measures that will make the office a safe place to work, as well as inform you of where you can find the help you need.

What Workplace Solutions Are Required?

It can be easy to assume that putting in place new measures may prove costly and time-consuming; the truth is that most workplaces can be adapted easily, costing relatively little in the process. By putting in place measures now, the business can strive to get back to operating at a 'pre-lockdown' workrate as soon as possible.

As part of their guidance on making offices safe following the COVID-19 virus, the Government's guidelines instruct businesses to follow these workplace solutions:

Carry out a risk assessment. Before restarting work, businesses should carry out a risk assessment on their workplaces in line with the current HSE guidance. They should also consult with workers (or if applicable, trade unions) and share the results with the workforce (and in a public forum, such as on its website).

Help people to work from home. If the business has remote workers or cannot make room for everyone due to the new guidelines, it will need workplace solutions to help people work from home. This can be achieved by discussing their home working arrangement, ensuring they have the right equipment, including them in all necessary communications and looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.

Managing the transmission risk. If the social distancing proves impossible, businesses must do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • Considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as brief as possible.
  • Making use of screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible.
  • Staggering arrival and departure times.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using a 'partnering' or 'fixed teams' method.

Develop procedures for cleaning, hygiene and handwashing. The frequency of cleanliness in the office should be increased by:

  • Encouraging people to follow up-to-date guidance on handwashing and hygiene.
  • Providing hand sanitiser around the workplace (aside from in washrooms).
  • Perform frequent cleaning and disinfection of objects and surfaces (especially if they're touched regularly).
  • Enhance cleaning for busy areas.
  • Set clear use and cleaning guidelines for toilets.
  • Provide hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.

Maintain social distancing guidelines where possible. Where possible, the current social distancing guidelines must be upheld. This can be done by:

  • Putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of the guidelines.
  • Avoid the sharing of workstations.
  • Use floor tape (or paint) to mark areas to help people keep the right distance.
  • Arrange one-way traffic through the workplace where possible.
  • See visitors by appointment only, if possible.

How Active Can Help To Make Your Workplace Safe

As we're able to lend our workplace solutions to any type or size of office, we are well-placed to offer all the guidance and practical help you need.Here's how we can help your business to return to work safely:

Homeworking Surveys

As a phased return to work is the best way to comply with the government's guidelines, employers must decide on the best balance between office and home working – both in the short and longer-term. Therefore, information is required to make these informed decisions – this is where an Active workplace solution can help.

Our e-surveys make sure you are compliant with any remote, home or office working guidance; providing all the return to work recommendations and reporting you need.

Homeworker Furniture

With the phased return requiring physical distancing, staggered travel, reduced building occupancy (amongst other considerations), many employees will likely need (or wish to) continue to work from home for the foreseeable future; either on a full or part-time basis.

We can identify the requirements and deliver the product to your employee's home address within a two-day window.

Office Design and Planning

As physical distancing, route and queuing signage, information/warning notices and sanitising stations are all part of the guidelines, the office will need space to cater for all of these.

Our team will re-plan your existing workplace and provide a safe environment to incorporate all government social distancing guidelines.

Decontamination of the office

We work with our service partners at BIO Decon Group to offer the proven SteraMist solution to our clients. This is a hydrogen peroxide-based mist treatment and is fully transportable and can disinfect and decontaminate both the air and all the surfaces in any workplace.

The process causes no disruption to the workplace layout nor requires desks to be moved out of the way or contents to be packed – it can be used to quickly cleanse the office and its surfaces outside of working hours to minimise disruption.

Move Management and Relocation

To comply with the social distancing guidelines, it could mean that people, equipment and furniture may have to be moved out (or back, for those returning to the office). Once the office is subjected to a risk assessment and a new layout design is approved, our experienced move managers can undertake the repositioning of furniture and equipment, as well as install screens and signage to ensure distancing is maintained. Our team is available to assist with a home-to-office return, office-to-home and any office reconfiguration projects.

Furniture Storage Solutions

As you'll be making changes to the layout of the office, there could well be a surplus of furniture that will not be in use. If no storage space is available, you can choose to throw away furniture, give it away – or have it securely stored for when social distancing becomes less of a requirement in (hopefully) the near future.

We can provide temporary or long-term storage solutions at a secure site, with a two-day release policy.

Adaption To The New Layout

With physical distancing, it may be necessary to make adaptations to the current working environment. This could take the form of a temporary construction to achieve a one-way system or something more substantial, such as the modification of the reception or café area.

Our workplace solutions are covered by SIX office fit out and refurbishment teams so you can feel safe in the knowledge that whatever needs implementing in your office, we are well-placed to make the changes.

Planned and Reactive Deep Cleans

As a regime of deep, interval and reactive cleaning is an effective part of the return to work, we can offer all the services you need to ensure that your office remains free of harmful bacteria.

An antibacterial deep clean will go further and deeper than a regular program and leaves each surface sanitised and germ-free. Interval cleaning can be used to target specific areas for additional attention (such as those that are constantly in use) and reactive cleaning can address specific cleaning hotspots (such as specific work areas and storage/locker spaces for people who may have reported illness symptoms).

Our full-range of cleaning services can be used as part of a tailored plan over a set term or to support existing cleaning programs.

Building and Fabric Maintenance

As many buildings were quickly cleared as a result of the lockdown, it could be the case that they haven't had maintenance to ensure it's kept in top condition. To avoid any issues, we can offer bespoke facilities management services which include M6:E for planned preventative and reactive maintenance, fabric packages and an out-of-hours helpdesk.

Peace of Mind

Finally, choosing Active Workplace Solutions will provide not only provide you and your workforce with the peace of mind in knowing that they're working in a safe environment, but it will also give confidence to any visitors, contractors and partners you deal with. Even if, as per the guidelines, you won't be physically meeting anyone within the office, having measures in place (and promoting them) will continue to give you that 'professional outlook' that is simply vital in the strive to win business.

For More Information Or To Make An Enquiry,Please Don't Hesitate To Get In Touch

The Active team work hard to design visually brilliant and practical office workspaces; making the best use out of the available space. If you are interested in any of the professional office interiors services that are available from the Active team, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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