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As some of our travel industry candidates are slowly being asked to return to their place of work after being away for almost three months, some are enthusiastic but also understandably anxious about returning.  Mainly because of the health risks posed by Covid, and in particular their commute to work.  

Firstly, bear in mind that you do not need to feel peer pressure to return when there is no need.   Currently the Government has said that you do NOT have to return to the workplace if it is possible for you to do your job from home.  However if this is not the case, then your travel employer will need to listen and address your concerns. They need to offer flexibility and introduce new working patterns. 

Candidates should consider:

  • how they can travel to and from work safely – mode and timings – can your employer offer extra car parking spaces to avoid public transport?   Or can you work different hours temporarily to avoid peak time travel?
  • is there a phased return of the workforce, for example are some staff returning before others?
  • explore how health and safety is being reviewed and managed by your employer.  They must have planned adjustments to the workplace, for example:
    • additional hand washing facilities and Sanitizer/Antibacterial wipes everywhere
    • staggering start and finish times to avoid overcrowding
    • floor markings to help people keep 2 metres apart, and a one-way system for narrow corridors
    • Avoid hot-desking if possible but if not, shared equipment needs to be cleaned and sanitised between different employees/shifts. 
    • Ideally insist on meetings taking place outside where possible.
    • Use of high-touch items and equipment, like printers or whiteboards, should be restricted.
    • Work areas and equipment should be cleaned regularly, as should objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles and keyboards, making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements.
    • Workspaces and rubbish should be cleared, and you will need to remove your belongings and take them with you at the end of the day.

An interesting read in the Times today where it states that the 2 metres apart distance may not be sufficient in an office/call centre environment because of the quality of the air. 

For guidelines, check out:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/returning-to-the-workplace

A thought to leave you with: One thing Corona Virus has taught us is that everything around us is so temporary.  We live in a world of change. 

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