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Returning to work

Cobalt HR have produced some useful advice on returning to normal working.

In terms of returning to work, employers will need to take a number of factors into account:

1. A risk assessment is the starting point, as that should identify all the risks and what can be done to mitigate them, eg. personal protective equipment, training. The risk assessment would identify which roles could and couldn’t work from home.

2. Other tips include deep cleaning the offices, so people feel less concerned about returning. Protect the 2m rule. Have hand sanitiser available for staff’s use. Vary starting and finishing times.

3. Regular dialogue so you know what your staff’s concerns are. That way, you can address their concerns to put their mind at ease.

4. The big question is flexible working. Can people continue to work from home to do their job? In which case, you could extend home working, but make sure you have a robust policy. It is a different thing working from home ongoing, compared to in a crisis situation as we have been in. That’s why you need a policy. If they can’t work from home, then the above approach would count and you would have to give them a date to return to work. If you can be more flexible, you could have a phased approach.

5. If you have staff who refuse to return to work, then you are facing a dismissal situation. My approach would tend to be to give people notice, so they can get their head around it.

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