Staying safe during the Covid-19 pandemic is of upmost importance, for individuals and businesses alike. As the lockdown is slowly being lifted across the UK, it is important to continue safe practice in the workplace, ensure that you as a business are staying compliant with the law and HSE guidance and are staying true to yourself as a business.

We can feel the whir of the economy igniting as industries begin production once more and we must encourage a few key things to make this succeed. Occupational health teams are here to help keep employees safe and assist companies as they introduce new measures, regulations and guidance for employees at work, and let’s face it, health at work has never been so important  

The unknown

Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. The sheer severity of the virus, how quick it would spread and the effect it would have on everyone’s daily lives.  This impact has also come at a cost to our economy, with full lockdown meaning that factories, offices and self-employed people simply could not operate their business.

So now more than ever it is important to make sure that your business is working safely and correctly to the guidance that been put in place.

As a business ourselves, Acorn have changed the way we work completely. We had nurses and technicians traveling all over the country, five days a week, seeing hundreds of different people every day. These people still require their health checks to keep them safe at work; this doesn’t just stop. So in order to comply, we have changed our entire structure and have implemented a whole new online system to allow us to electronically screen individuals for their health surveillance. We have ramped up our management referral process to emphasize the support our mental health specialists can provide and also have a triage system for those returning to the workplace after illness or time off.

Acorn are ensuring that we keep all of our staff, nurses and technicians safe and healthy so that we can focus on keeping your workforce strong. In order to protect everyone, we are introducing face to face medicals for essential screenings only and at a slow pace. As the lockdown is lifted and eased over the uk, companies are at risk of rushing back into their normal practice and missing vital steps to ensure the safety of their employees.

Ultimately this is all about adaption and compliance. How can your business adapt their ways of working in order to comply with the new guidelines? This is new for us all, but having gone through it ourselves, we can help.

Top 5 tips to returning to work safely

Employees

  • Firstly, do not go to work if you are ill. Temperatures, coughs, loss of taste/smell and sickness can all be signs of Coronavirus, so ensure that you are aware of your own health and stay home if you’re ill.
  • Keep an open mind. Coronavirus is worrying for us all but having an open mind around the new procedures in the workplace, be that hand washing stations, new uniforms or split breaks – these are only put in place to keep you and your colleagues safe.
  • Stick to the government rules outside of work. We know its tempting to go to that garden party where the whole street is and we all want to go to the beach on a sunny day, but the virus is still here and very capable of spreading and affecting those that are ‘fit and healthy’ as well as the vulnerable. Look after yourself and those close to you.
  • Keep talking – ask questions at work, speak to managers if you have concerns and keep an eye on those vulnerable friends that look like they are struggling. People have their own ways of dealing with change and stressful situations and sometimes all it takes is a conversation to really help someone.
  • Enjoy your job! Most people work at a certain company or have a specific occupation as they enjoy it. Don’t let these changes effect how you feel about work and how you do your job. The heart of a business is their workforce and that needs to be beating strong to get through this pandemic successfully.

Companies

  • Ensure new guidelines in the workplace are clear and simple. Try not to over complicate things and make sure that emails, posters, training and signage is precise, clear and understandable for everyone. 
  • Organisation of the new policies and procedures that you have enforced are crucial. Guidelines from the HSE are ever developing so keeping them up to date is important.
  • Stay compliant. The HSE have released many new guidelines around Covid-19 and occupational health care. Health surveillance absolutely should not be brushed aside for 6 months and ‘forgotten about until next year’. If your company is working again, your employees health could be at risk. It has never been more important to utilise your occupational health services and see how they can help.
  • Provide extra support to employees. We have seen a huge increase of referrals specifically related to anxiety and stress around Covid-19. It’s important to offer appropriate support to those who may need it most. Speak to your occupational health providers and see what specialists they have on board that can be of assistance.
  • Don’t lose your core values. In times like these it is very easy to lose who you are as a business. Over focusing on the risk assessments and forgetting about the wellbeing of your most crucial cog in the machine. If you had coffee meets on a Friday with the team, fire them back up. Start up some creative team-building sessions like an online quiz. As for face to face meetings, can these now be done safely outdoors in your local area?

Acorn Occupational Health are following all guidelines from the government and HSE, helping you stay safe and compliant, it’s your job to keep your keep your businesses core values alive.

For more information on the services Acorn are currently offering to stay Covid-19 compliant, please get in touch.