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How To Plan A Safe Return To The Workplace


From adhering to new regulations and maintaining contact with their teams from afar, to pivoting their usual services to maintain an income, many businesses across the country have had to think about things in the last 12 months they had never considered preparing for.

On Easter Monday, the Prime Minister announced that the UK’s roadmap out of restrictions was still going ahead and on schedule, so as offices and workspaces begin to open again, businesses will be putting all their efforts into getting back up and running as soon as possible. However, the transition of returning to work will be different for everyone.

Changing workplaces

It’s a fact that no single workplace will operate in the same way as before Coronavirus became part of our lives, and every employee will have a different approach to the future of their working life. This means that, combined with the pressures that have become a normal part of life in the last 12 months, businesses will have to put increased focus on the management of their processes to continue adhering to regulations and also meet the needs of their people.

Unify’s largest customer with over 100 commercial office buildings, Bruntwood, has averaged around 25% of their usual footfall through the various phases of the pandemic. From April 12th, as restrictions loosen, some companies will start to return colleagues to their buildings, and this – we anticipate – will steadily increase as time goes on.

Keeping colleagues safe

However, many customers have told us that they worry about getting their Covid-19 risk assessments wrong or are nervous about how they keep their colleagues safe. For businesses that wish to reopen in April and beyond, but that don’t have sufficient internal resources available to ensure they meet Covid-secure obligations, we’ve launched a Return to the Workplace toolkit which will make this as smooth and simple a time as possible for business owners who want to devise an action plan and reopen their buildings and offices.

Return to the Workplace Guide

Via our free to download guide, we’re offering advice to businesses on how to plan their Covid-19 communications and share them with staff, suppliers and customers. We’re providing information on how to introduce cleaning schedules to maintain outstanding hygiene standards, and sharing help for companies who wish to assess and manage any potential risks to future closure presented by poor maintenance of their facilities.

It can help you identify any areas for concern within your space which can then be maintained and cleaned sufficiently to protect users. It details how to identify bottlenecks of footfall, significant touch points and areas where social distancing planning is required, and helps you consider whether you can operate hot desking or fixed desk policy would work best.

We help readers to analyse and understand their existing cleaning specification and identify any gaps that could be filled with tailored, Covid-specific cleaning routines to help protect the people using the space. Finally, we also advise landlords and building operators on how to demonstrate the value of an amplified cleaning schedule to customers paying a service charge.

Our recent webinar ‘Preparing to Reopen your Office’ offers additional support to businesses concerned about reopening with practical advice on how to communicate with staff, landlord responsibilities and what help the HSE can offer.

So far, we have supported over 30 customers back into their offices, varying from simply reinstating previous cleaning regimes that were suspended when offices closed, through to implementing deep cleaning and fogging of spaces for clients who’ve had confirmed Covid cases in their buildings. Being able to provide reassurance to clients, customers and employees that they are re-entering a safe, hygienic space will be a crucial part of the remobilising of the economy and society, and we are committed to helping our existing and potential customers to put plans in place to do just that.

Using our team’s many years of expertise in cleaning and facilities management, we can take care of a building and its workspaces while business owners focus on what really matters – creating a thriving future after such adversity.