At Childs Farm we are committed to maintaining a safe workplace and to meeting our duty of care to our staff. We are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely, following Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance at all times, as we navigate the situation.
All our staff have been working from home from the beginning of lockdown – a situation that they have responded to excellently, and whilst it comes with challenges, the spirit and camaraderie of our team has shone through. As a business we are communicating regularly with staff on the pandemic and its impact on our business. We are also ensuring we closely monitor the health and wellbeing of all staff.
As lockdown starts to lift, we have offered staff the opportunity to return to the office should they wish to – some staff do not have a dedicated home-working space which can make remote work difficult, and we are conscious of the potential of feeling isolated for some who live alone. No one is being asked to return to the office and the guidance remains that, where possible, people should continue to work from home – it is down to individual choice with a focus on improving mental wellbeing where required.
The health and safety of our employees is our top priority, so a thorough and robust COVID-19 risk assessment was conducted by our HR Director. As part of the risk assessment, the following actions were taken in order to identify hazards:
- Full assessment of the office environment, noting things that might pose a risk
- Talked to leadership and staff to learn from their experiences and any concerns
- Talked to the office cleaning contractors to understand any changes to their cleaning activities and how this might impact staff
- Audited whether we have any individuals in the business who would fall under the ‘high risk’ category
- Consulted the HSE advice
- Noted what was already being done to control the risks, and recorded further actions
The findings and the actions of the risk assessment were recorded in a ‘Returning to the Office’ guidance document, which has been shared with all staff on the intranet. This will be reviewed whenever there are significant changes such as new work equipment, more employees returning to the office, a change to work activities, or new government guidance.
Anyone wishing to return to the office has been / will be taken through a training session on the guidance with our HR Director, to ensure they feel comfortable with the procedures and precautionary measures that have been put in place.
There will be a maximum number of people allowed in the office at any one time to ensure social distancing can still be adhered to, and as a minimum we are taking the following steps:
- Increased cleaning and santisation of surfaces and high touch points (door handles, counter tops, other common areas)
- Distribution of hand sanitiser dispensers – at entry / exit points, in communal areas and by shared equipment such as the printer
- Increased handwashing and paper towels provided
- Biodegradable anti-bacterial wipes provided for desks and kitchen areas
- Assigned desks – back to back working, not directly face to face, and no sharing of computer equipment
- Headsets to avoid use of phones – not shared
- Posters displayed, reminding individuals of social distancing, hand washing and using sanitiser
- No in-person meetings. All meetings will continue to be conducted via Teams, regardless of where people are
- No external visitors unless by exception and arrangements made to ensure the health and safety of all concerned
- Personal deliveries to the office restricted
- Continuing to protect the vulnerable
Any individual coming into the office must sign a ‘COVID-19 Health Declaration’ to confirm they have not had any symptoms or been in contact with anyone with symptoms in the last 14 days. If their situation changes, they will self-isolate and return to working from home for 14 days. Finally, there is clear COVID-19 health support information on our intranet which details the company’s approach to sickness and what individuals should do if they are concerned.