Posted on 14/07/20

With the Covid-19 alert level reducing and the government encouraging businesses to start returning to the workplace, we’ve made a few changes at The Business Village to help make the space safer for our tenants and visitors.

A comprehensive risk assessment has been carried out, based on up to date government advice. We’ll continue to monitor this advice as it evolves to revise our procedures for the safety and protection of everyone working in our buildings.

Some of the main changes are listed below, but please get in touch if you would like to see the full risk assessment.

Hand washing

Gel sanitiser dispensers have been placed in communal corridors where it’s difficult to wash your hands and there is a supply of anti-bacterial sanitiser at the reception areas.

Soap, water, paper hand towels (or hand free dryers) are available in communal toilet and kitchen facilities so that official guidance for regular hand washing can be followed.

Cleaning

Surfaces which are touched regularly (eg. door handles, light switches and push plates) will be cleaned and disinfected frequently. We’ll also be propping some doors open during the day so that surfaces do not need to be touched (although fire safety means that these doors will have to be closed overnight).

Each person is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas in the communal kitchen areas (eg. wiping down handles before and after use). Tea towels have been removed from the kitchens as they are touched multiple times by multiple users (we recommend that any business with shared kitchen facilities does the same).

To protect everybody’s safety, tenants will be responsible for cleaning their own units for the foreseeable future, leaving their bagged rubbish outside the door for collection each evening.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing is vital for reducing infection and the government guidelines still recommend that people remain a safe distance apart. We’ve therefore introduced the following measures:

  • Perspex barrier at the main reception desk.
  • Blocking off the middle sinks and urinals in communal facilities.
  • Maximum 1 person at a time in communal kitchens.
  • Keeping left when walking in communal corridors to avoid bumping into people.
  • Holding conference calls rather than having face to face meetings.

 

Unfortunately, we will be keeping The Bistro closed until further notice.

However, the meeting rooms will still be open albeit with limited availability and a reduction in numbers to allow for physical distancing. Video and projection facilities are available so that teams can use Zoom and complement the face to face meetings which take place.

Mental health and wellbeing

Establishing and adapting to new ways of working can be very stressful and this comes on top of the fear and uncertainty from a worldwide pandemic.

We’re therefore keen to promote mental wellbeing and will continue to have regular communication with our staff team and tenants to provide support where needed.

Help to create your own return to work plan

The Business Village is responsible for looking after the overall building and communal spaces, but individual businesses will still need to carry out a risk assessment to cover their own units and employees.

This will be different for each business, so if you’re wondering where to start check this Working Safely Tool from the government which helps businesses based in England to identify the most relevant guidance for their specific sector.

 

Other useful support includes:

  • Our dedicated page How we’re dealing with Covid-19 crisis which summarises the official guidance for businesses and is updated as new information emerges.
  • An online workplace guide from the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).
  • Returning safely resources from IOSH (the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health).

 

Businesses may also wish to consider incorporating some of the following ideas into their return to work plans:

  • Enabling some employees to continue working from home so that not everybody is in the office at the same time.
  • Staggering working days so that employees do not arrive together.
  • Creating more space between desks to allow for physical distancing.
  • Avoiding hot desking so that people do not have to share desks or computers.
  • Locating hand sanitisers around the work place.
  • Making anti-bacterial wipes available so that employees can clean desks and keyboards before and after use.
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas such as door handles.

 

Summary

We’re always happy to listen to feedback from our tenants at The Business Village, so please get in touch if there’s something you would like to clarify before returning to your workplace.

In summary, we’re regularly cleaning and disinfecting communal areas and have introduced hand sanitiser and physical distancing measures for everybody’s safety.

Private areas are the responsibility of each tenant and should be risk assessed to identify any issues and address new ways of working. Please get in touch if you would like to see The Business Village’s risk assessment in full or would like a template to get you started.

 

Contact Kevin Steel ksteel@barnsleyBIC.co.uk or click https://www.barnsleybic.co.uk/