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Staying safe from COVID-19 returning to work

As many people in the UK are returning to work, one question we often hear is – how do I stay safe from Coronavirus at work? Despite the number of coronavirus cases dropping, returning to work still poses a risk to your health and the health of those you live with. In today’s article we will provide you with our best practises to stay safe from coronavirus and reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Keeping safe returning to a place of work requires a level of planning and preparation from both yourself and your employer. Thankfully companies are taking proactive measures to ensure places of work are obeying social distancing measure to keep their workforce safe. However, it is not solely down to the employer to make sure these measures are followed. Co-operation from everyone in the workspace is required to ensure people are safe at work.

Should you go back to work?

The first step in assessing returning to work is whether you’re required to do so – If you can work from home it is still advised that you do so, however, some work cannot be completed at home. If this is the case for you then there are a few things consider before returning to work.

Firstly, if you are in a high-risk category such as suffer from respiratory illness it is still advised you stay at home. This is also true if you are in the high-risk age group of 70+. A full list of high-risk conditions can be found on the NHS coronavirus website where you can decide your level of risk returning to work.

Should you return for meetings?

Some people are able to work from home for the most part but would prefer to have important meetings to be carried out in person. This will come down to your company’s guidelines however it is largely advised against doing so, as you’re increasing your risk and others around you of spreading COVID-19. With tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams it is easier than ever to access meeting remotely.

By simply lowering any unnecessary exposure to other people you reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Returning for meetings can reduce the effectiveness of working from home so it is best to avoid it.

Social Distancing

A phrase that, before the Covid-19 pandemic, was never heard of has become a regular part of our vocabulary these days. Maintaining a 2-meter social distancing from other people simply lowers the likely hood of a person contracting a virus at one time. If your work requires you to return then it is very important to strictly obey social distancing measures.

Most workplaces are taping off 2-meter distances between workers which are easy to follow an abide. However, the issue can be in customer facing roles where you have to keep social distance with customers. It is important for your own safety to ensure customers to follow these measures. It might feel strange at first asking people to move away but ultimately it keeps everyone safer from spreading coronavirus – including you.

General Hygiene

Workplaces may or may not mandate the use of face masks and sanitising your work surface. However, there is no harm in wearing a facemask or bringing a bottle of sanitiser for your own protection. Sanitizing a workspace before and after use can be an effective way of reducing the spread of coronavirus in your workplace. Washing your hands has been spoken about a lot however keeping a habit of washing your hands at work again will reduce the potential of spread. Along with coughing and sneezing into your elbow instead of into your hands or into tissues.

Travelling to work

For those who need to take public transport to work this also can pose significant risks to spreading COVID-19. This is another thing to consider when thinking about returning to work, if you’re required to take busy public transport it would be advisable that you reconsider returning to work. However, if your work requires you do to so then make sure to follow the previous advice on hygiene and social distance.

Make sure to maintain 2m distance where possible and wear a face mask. As well, make use of contactless payments and online tickets where available. Avoid touching public surfaces such as hand rails to reduce the spread of germs. Another thing to consider is the use of disposable medical gloves – these combined with hand washing can go a long way in reducing your risk of contracting the virus.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms?

It is important to make sure if you’re experiencing any symptoms related to coronavirus that you leave work and/or call your employee to say you cannot come in. This may result in your workforce needing to heighten measures and send people to work from home to quarantine.

It is worth calling the non-emergency number: 111 and explaining your symptoms, they will advise you on getting tested for Coronavirus. The NHS website has instructions on how to get tested for coronavirus. This test can be vital information to provide your employer so they can decide on whether it is safe for the workplace to return.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful in surveying the risk of returning to work, if you have any questions get in contact with us on social media and we will do our best to help!

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