Tags – A Guide To A Phased Return To Work Plan

After weeks of lockdown, as the UK prepares to reopen the economy, businesses are developing plans for safely bringing employees returning safely to work.

For many, it may be a good idea to allow employees back in stages.

The goal? To slowly introduce people back into the workforce whilst keeping transmissions low.

Consequently, a phased return to work plan is ideal for employees who have been shielding, placed on furlough, and those who are suffering with mental health or feel anxiety towards returning to work post-covid.

This guide will help you make a plan to restart operations and protect employees.

1. Assess The Risks

To ensure your business is covid secure, assess all risks before employees return and determine what challenges may occur.

For instance, consider the government’s 3 risk levels; low, medium and high.

According to each level, you can offer the relevant controls required to mitigate each risk.

2. Prepare The Workplace

All employers should make the transition back to work as easy as possible and develop clear standards.

Factors include:

  • Promote hygiene; like washing hands regularly and discourage physical forms of contact
  • Increased cleaning demand; take extra care to keep surfaces clean – which may mean hiring extra cleaning staff.
  • Implement new engineering controls; for example introducing physical barriers between employees and the public to reduce face-to-face contact

3. Facilitate Social Distancing

When considering a phased return to work after lockdown, it’s important to facilitate social distancing where possible.

To do so, consider:

  • Encourage remote working to reduce the number of employees in the workplace
  • Review the layout of the workplace and spread stations
  • Implement a one way system in the building
  • Create time slots for each department to take breaks to minimise crowds.

4. Prioritise Flexibility

If you’re considering a phased return to work plan, you’ll need to prioritise flexibility.

Whether you’re thinking of phases in terms of hours, tasks and duties, there needs to be a set plan in place to help their transition back to work.

Not to mention, including when you’re aiming for the employee to return to normal working patterns.

To put differently, identify what your employee needs.

For example:

  • Adjust work schedules; employees may have children to care for or eldery family members who need additional support. So, keep in mind expanded responsibilities for now.
  • Stagger shifts; in line with social distancing, staggered shifts allows you to minimise the number of employees present in the workplace
  • Vulnerable employees; identify those who are high risk and if it’s absolutely essential for them to return

5. Ensure Health and Safety Responsibilities

As much as we all want to return to working life before Covid 19, it’s essential sick employees stay home to fully recover and prevent spreading the virus.

For this reason, you should create a culture whereby sick employees are supported and encouraged to not come into work.

Secondly, given the current situation, employers should administer COVID-19 tests before allowing employees to enter the premises – it may be more practical to screen temperatures instead.

Finishing Thoughts

Inevitably, it will take time for things to return back to how they were.

Meanwhile, employers must practice open communication and ensure employees understand new regulations.

All things considered, implementing a responsible, phased return to work after lockdown policy is the first step on the road to recovery. 

To learn more, get in touch today.

In the meantime, please check our HR Consultancy Birmingham Service.