As the government eases lockdown, more businesses are able to reopen and get back to providing their products and services. This is fantastic news, but with it comes the employers’ responsibility to implement a number of key steps to keep their staff and customers safe.
If this sounds a daunting task – don’t worry, it really needn’t be. At Macpro Design & Print Ltd. we are working with businesses like yours to help get their workplaces ready to operate again; and we would love to share our knowledge and experience with you today.
Even if the majority of your team continue to work from home for the time being, it pays to get ahead and start planning how you’ll prepare your business to adjust to the new ‘normal’ way of life.
We’ve created this handy guide to give you a practical and affordable plan of some things you’ll need to do to create a safe work environment. We cover signage and protective products, so that you can feel confident you’re taking effective steps to safeguard staff and customers.
Whilst this guide specifically looks at those businesses operating in an office environment, we work with a range of companies in different industries including: health, beauty, retail and hospitality.
Along with our health and safety range we are still regularly producing business stationery, marketing material, brochures, books and banners.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions or need any help, we are always happy to assist. Call us on 01727 850771 or email email@example.com
Carry out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment
Before staff can start returning to the workplace, it’s vital you carry out a specific COVID-19 risk assessment to establish what work activities or situations could cause the transmission of the virus. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect your employees and any other people who enter your site.
There is a whole host of things to think about, especially as each business and premises are different. A good place to start is by taking a detailed walk through your workplace, adopting both your employees’ and visitors’ perspective.
Begin with point of arrival to your premises and list the movements of a typical day right through to exiting the building. Consider all aspects of the journey with social distancing and hygiene in mind. Think about how you operate and note down any pinch-points, risks and concerns as they come up. This will allow you to formulate an actionable plan, highlighting changes that will need to be made, situations to address and what needs to be implemented to create a safe working space.
For more information you can visit the government website:
Managing risks and risk assessment at work: www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm
Guidance to help carry out a risk assessment: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
Creating a Safe Environment
Now that you know what you need to address, the next step is to take action and make sure your business is COVID-secure. Your key objective is to facilitate good hygiene and social distancing practices in the workplace, ensuring all safeguarding issues have been recognised and responded to, whilst maintaining a comfortable working environment.
Don’t forget keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for Coronavirus to spread and is a critical part of making your workplace a safe place. If you require a cleaning company we can recommend Minster Cleaning Services.
If your premises have been closed Covid-19 will no longer be present, a spring clean is recommended. Thereafter, an effective well-managed regular cleaning regime is essential, with particular attention paid to touch points, desks, washrooms and kitchens.
Signage and Communication
Government advice suggests that signage is a good aid in communicating hygiene and social distancing messaging. As you move around your premises there are various forms of health and safety signage that can be displayed, with a range of solutions, depending on your requirements or budget.
Here’s how you can decide what signs you’ll need and where to position them:
Look back on any notes and your Covid19 risk assessment, starting from point of arrival to your premises, think about what you immediately want to tell staff / customers / visitors / deliveries. Is there anything you want to communicate before anyone walks through the door? For example:
- “Open for Business”.
- New opening hours.
- New ways of operating.
- Any immediate changes to the workplace that people need to know about.
- Portable signage such as A-Frames with a poster are a popular and flexible solution as they can easily be updated with new information when required.
- Decals are great for utilising window space.
- PVC banners with eyelets are perfect for outdoor spaces.
We can help you with all of these! Get in touch today for a no obligation quote. Call 01727 850771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Setting the Tone
The entrance to your building provides the perfect opportunity to re-adjust mindset and highlight that there are new practices to follow. What actions do you want staff / visitors to take and how you are going to relay that to them? Remember to use simple but clear messaging.
For example: “We are operating a social distancing policy, please take note of the signs, thank you”.
This signals the requirement for their participation and reassures people that safety measures have been put in place. Roller banners work well for this. Square and rectangle floor stickers are also a good choice as they are particularly noticeable and immediately visible upon entering the building.
Invaluable options for your building’s entrance:
- Hand sanitising should be encouraged for all who enter and exit the building. A hand sanitising station is a worthwhile investment and a long-term business solution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- A sneeze shield is a great way to provide additional protection for face-to-face interactions in places like a reception area. We offer a low-cost, temporary, lightweight solution which can be printed with your own branding or motivational messaging.
Specific Instruction Signage
Usual signage will include health advice posters to help your staff / visitors to practice good hygiene, promoting regular hand-washing with soap and water. Signage can also include correct hand-washing techniques and etiquette such as avoiding touching their face and to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. It’s also a good idea to provide a list of symptoms to be aware of should someone feel unwell. We have a good range of designs available with standard health and safety guidance.
Remember to place signage in logical places within proximity to the risk. For example, hand-washing reminders in food prep areas, by sinks / hand basins and so forth.
You may find you need more specific signs, which we can happily create for you. Information or instructions you may want to refer to can include:
- Highlighting pinch points and how to prevent them.
- Maximum occupancy: Create social distancing zones limiting the number of people in designated areas, lifts, kitchens etc.
- Don’t forget reminders in designated outdoor areas for example smoking / vaping areas.
Space and Systems
Current guidance is that people still maintain 2m social distancing where possible. Here are some ideas to help maintain this:
- Review the layout of your office: How can extra space be created?
- Can meeting rooms be used for additional work space?
- Place desks further apart to reduce people clustering together.
- Work side-by-side or back-to-back rather than face-to-face.
Where people cannot be 2m apart, it’s important to manage risk transmission. If space is limited, consider using desk dividers or screens to create a physical barrier between people. We offer clear screen roller banners as a solution to this.
- Setting up a one-way system can help keep traffic and congestion to a minimum in your office.
- Clear and prominent way-finding signage will help point staff in the right direction.
- You may need to consider creating physical barriers to support your one-way system. This can be as simple as a well-positioned chair with a reminder notice, or a printed strut card. It’s okay to be creative here!
- Strut cards are also great to use on desks as reminders of important messaging.
We’re very happy to help with any advice about your signage or strut cards, or anything else you have read about in our guide!
Take the Guess Work out of Social Distancing
While signage should remind employees of the importance of social distancing, it can be tricky for people to gauge the exact distance. It’s so much easier when it’s clearly marked on the floor!
Circular floor decals are a great way to help people keep the correct distance apart. Using floor tape to mark out safe working areas also helps with social distancing.
Which floor decal should I choose?
When it comes to floor decals we find that no one solution fits all. It depends on the surface the decal is being applied to and how it’s to be used. We’re happy to help you with this. Give us a shout and we can go through this in more detail with you.
Call us on 01727 850771 or email email@example.com
Ensure your Messaging is Seen!
When placing your signage, personal hygiene stickers or posters, make sure that they are actually seen by considering the eye-line of your staff and visitors. Are the signs easy to spot and read? Is anything likely to obscure them?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
This is a crucial step not to be missed! Creating change in the workplace can be challenging; to make the transition easier, ensure that communications with your employees are on-point and up-to-date. Staff need to feel safe and know that you have put measures in place to reduce risks.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Speak to staff about the changes being made in the business and to the usual working practices. Consider providing written information in the form of leaflets or policy booklets.
- Take time to check that staff understand the new practices, whether they feel reassured by them and that they are happy to participate.
- Provide training on new ways of working.
- Ensure everyone stays up to date by regularly visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Be sure to circulate any new information.
- Print off and display the “COVID-19 Secure in 2020” notice to show you have made your workplace COVID secure. All businesses with 50+ employees are expected to do this, as well as publishing the results on their website. This is also good practice for smaller companies as it creates reassurance for staff and visitors, demonstrating that you have taken steps to make your workplace safer. Download the notice here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb97021d3bf7f5d43765cbf/staying-covid-19-secure-accessible.pdf
Keep it Human
When planning your employees’ return to the workplace, we think it’s very important to consider the human impact and to think about well-being and mental health. Hopefully the measures you put in place will alleviate some concerns staff have about coming back, but there may still be some anxiety about returning to work.
If the signage seems sterile, don’t be afraid to bring in your brand personality or think of ways to show staff you care. It doesn’t have to be expensive; just a little thought can make a big difference. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for colleagues still working from home. A nice gesture is a personalised card. We are always happy to discuss further ideas with you.
Creating a Happy and Productive Team
While you are focussed on getting staff back to work, we thought it might be a good idea to introduce you to our friends over at Longshaw Consulting Group: Madeline and Guy Longshaw.
They have been working hard to help organisations manage people well through lockdown and recovery. The results are that people, managers and teams are more engaged, confident, productive and motivated.
They offer a range of workshops covering various topics, as well as providing free resources with all the ‘people aspects” of Recovery and Reboot.
We think you’ll find this extremely helpful and have added more information in the resource section at the end of this guide.
We are Here to Help…
We hope this all helps spark your thinking, but please do give us a call if you would like some assistance in working out your best options based on budget, quantity and your specific requirements. If you prefer, we can arrange a “Zoom” chat at a time that suits you (other call platforms available). Call us on 01727 850771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Standard H & S Range of Products include:
- A-Frames with Poster (poster paper or waterproof poster available).
- Window Decal – Vinyl stickers cut to shape
- Window Cling – Non-Adhesive material that sticks to windows using static.
- PVC Outdoor Banner (with Eyelets) – Very durable and easy to clean.
- Indoor Roller Banner – Classic or clear option available. Portable and can be used as a barrier if required.
- Wall Stickers – Wipeable with disinfectant. Can be cut to shape.
- Hand Sanitising Station – Option to be branded.
- Hand Washing Signs / Social Distancing Signs / Posters: Various pre-made designs available, with the option of various sizes and substrates depending on requirements (includes laminated, correx, foamex, vinyl).
- Anti-Slip Floor Stickers and Social Distance Floor Stickers – Can be used on smooth surfaces such as laminate or tile. We supply either circular or rectangular stickers as standard, but if you would like a different shape please call so we can discuss further.
- Strut Cards – Display on desks or counter tops. You may want to add a QR code to direct the reader to a landing page where more information can be found. Choose between card or a wipeable surface option.
- Desk Divider – A low-cost, lightweight option. Fully portable and can be printed with your company branding or motivational messaging.
- Budget Sneeze Guard – Ideal for customer facing areas. A low-cost, temporary, lightweight option. Fully portable and can be printed with your company branding or motivational messaging.
Need a solution not mentioned above? Feel free to ask us – we may be able to help!
Call us on 01727 850771 or email email@example.com
Design and H & S Wording
To help keep costs down, and to tick another thing off your list, we have a well-stocked library of template artwork with correct graphics and health & safety wording for your printed materials. If you would like artwork colour matched to fit your branding, or would like to add your logo, we can do this at no extra cost (subject to requirements). If you would like to get more creative and go for a bespoke option, we do offer a design service, too.
- Training and Workshops for Employees, Managers and Teams: Short, sharp inspiring training interventions and virtual workshops from Longshaw Consulting Group. Follow here for a list of their free and paid resources.
- Quick Guide: 5 steps to working safely: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/5-steps-to-working-safely
- Comprehensive guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb97e7686650c278d4496ea/working-safely-during-covid-19-offices-contact-centres-240520.pdf
- Coronavirus Resource Centre: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk
For the past twenty years we have been helping businesses like yours shine by getting your message into the hands of your ideal customer. We can also assist you while you make your workplace H & S ready after COVID-19 lockdown. How? By providing a range of flexible design and print solutions to SMEs based in and around St Albans, Hertfordshire.
Looking to get COVID secure or attract more customers and increase your sales? Have a friendly chat with us today and we’ll help you achieve your goals, on time and within budget!