Following the easing of rules post lockdown during COVID-19, plans are now being put in place for the re-opening of some workplaces in the coming weeks and months.

A new group has been set up to look at what is required to get some employees back into their working places as safely as possible, ensuring that the relevant rules over distancing etc are followed. 

The group has been tasked with looking at four main areas of work that are essential to consider before employees can return. These are:

  1. Working from home and in offices
  2. Buildings and vehicles
  3. Health, safety and cleaning
  4. Frontline services

Regular communications for employees on the progress of the group will keep everyone up to date on what is happening in addition to line managers providing updates for their teams also.

The Scottish Government published its four phases approach that outlines what they expect to see happen as the country moves forward. Working from home will continue to be the new normal for many in the immediate future (currently around 3200 employees who are doing so).

In places that are re-opened, new arrangements will be put in place for everyone’s safety. These include:

  • Full risk assessments being carried out across all properties that intend to re-open
  • New signage at entrances and throughout buildings reminding employees about social distancing
  • Hand sanitisers and screens installed with potentially new equipment and furniture brought in

There are also a whole range of other issues that have to be considered for a safe working environment including: potential of working shifts and rotas; appropriate personal protective equipment where required; continuation of working from home for a substantial number of employees among many others.

No building will reopen until every aspect of safety has been addressed.  For those working out with buildings, similar safety arrangements also require to be put in place.

This work is running in parallel to the work being done to re-open schools.

While many services have continued to be delivered by employees (often in different ways) it is clear that COVID-19 has presented new and different ways to deliver services and this will be reflected in how we return to new working arrangements.