As businesses plan a return to the workplace, we would be urging that, in addition to meeting Government guidelines, that business ensure they meet three key tests before bringing people back to the workplace.
Employers need to start planning for what is likely to be staged return to the workplace, most likely over a prolonged period of time. The guiding principle should be how to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your people. Three key tests before bringing their people back to the workplace:
- Is it essential?
If people can continue to work from home they must continue to do that for the foreseeable future. If they cannot work from home, is their work deemed essential or could the business continue to use the Government’s Job Retention Scheme for longer, giving them the time needed to put safety measures and clear employee guidance and consultation in place?
- Is it sufficiently safe?
Employers have a duty of care to identify and manage risks to ensure that the workplace is sufficiently safe to return to. Employers should take their time with gradual returns to work to test health and safety measures in practice and ensure they can work with larger numbers before encouraging more of their workforce back.
- Is it mutually agreed?
It’s vital that there is a clear dialogue between employers and their people so concerns, such as commuting by public transport, can be raised and individuals needs and worries taken into account. There will need to be flexibility on both sides to accommodate different working times or schedules as ways of managing some of these issues.
As well as following the latest Government guidance and legal obligations regarding health and safety, using our returning to the workplace we use a planner which helps employers assess their readiness to meet these three key tests.