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Reopening of offices and other workplaces

1 July 2020

As the government continues to relax lockdown measures it’s important that we assess the use of our buildings to ensure that they are safe for employees and visitors to occupy.

Working from home

The health and safety of our employees and visitors is of the utmost importance. It’s vital that if you’re able to work from home, you continue to do so until the end of September at the earliest.

If you’re working from home you must not attend your usual workplace for any reason without permission from your line manager.

Safe reopening

We’re planning a 2-phase approach for the safe reopening of our offices and other workplaces.

Phase 1

Service department senior management teams have prioritised those services and buildings that need to be opened as a high priority, taking into account government guidance around which services should now be reopening. Property and health and safety officers are supporting service departments to undertake risk assessments for these sites identifying what control measures are required to control transmission of the COVID-19 virus from three identified transmission routes; employee to employee, public to employee and transmission from touchpoints.

Once these control measures are in place these buildings will reopen for the services identified as priority.

Please remember that although the building you previously worked in may be open for specific service delivery, it does not mean that the building is open for all to return.

Phase 2

Once the high priority services and buildings are reopened we can then move towards ensuring other buildings are safe to either reopen or expand the numbers of staff that have remained at their workplace throughout the lockdown period.

It’s important that this coordinated approach is followed. We need to eliminate the introduction of risk from staff accessing buildings in an uncontrolled way.

Your health and wellbeing

Please remember that all employees have access to a range of health and wellbeing support services including mental health first aiders, employee counsellors, an employee assistance programme and the Thrive wellbeing app.

Relaxing of social distancing rules

We’re setting up a working group to review the implications of changes to the social distancing rules from Saturday 4 July 2020. Until this review is completed and recommendations are agreed we will continue to adhere to the 2-metre social distancing rule.

Returning to the workplace

When you are required to return to the workplace you may find it different. Control measures will have been put in place to reduce the risk of contamination. You will see specific safety signage, sneeze screens, barriers to restricted areas, one way systems in place or areas that are designated as ‘one in one out’ areas.

You may also need to continue being flexible about how much time you spend in the office, with part of your working week still spent working from home. You’ll be advised to bring in your own cups and cutlery rather than share and you’ll be asked to wipe down touchable surfaces within staff kitchenettes.