Back to Work Guidelines
Much has been said and written in recent weeks about the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and what it means for getting Britain back in business safely and effectively.
Appropriate levels of social distancing, who can and cannot interact in the workplace, new cleaning routines, guidelines on building maintenance checks to ensure health and safety compliance and the death knell striking on everyone’s hotel and cruise favourite buffets…they’ve all had streams of column inches and a myriad of social media posts dedicated to them.
But when it comes to straight forward clear advice, I decided to focus on two household names I respect personally and are considered world leaders in their relative domains…Hilton Hotels and The Governor of New York.
The guidance each has laid out on using their premises safely in the post-Pandemic peak is easy to implement, practical, reasonable, and appears, at this early stage, to be effective.
Office-Based Work Guidelines for Employers and Employees (https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/OfficesSummaryGuidelines.pdf) is a document drawn up by the Governor of New York, home of one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the virus with tens of thousands of fatalities.
It combines, in an easy to follow format, mandatory elements and recommended best practice to ensure people’s return to work is as smooth and confidence-inspiring as possible.
Practical measures, such as directional arrows on floors, reducing hot-desking at workstations and the closure of communal amenities which are high-touch areas, all make eminent sense and are transferable into any workplace environment.
Naturally, we applaud the paragraph which states: ‘Maintain adequate supply of face coverings, masks and other required PPE should a worker need a replacement, or should a visitor be in need.’ Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is what we do – and we want its provision and use to be second nature to employees in all types of business, not just in the public and retail sectors.
Likewise, the emphasis placed on regular rigorous cleaning of equipment – in addition to the essential 20 second rule on handwashing – is something we wholeheartedly support as a matter of good practice in keeping levels of any kind of virus, not just COVID-19, to a minimum.
We are proud that one of our products has proved highly effective in the cleansing of confined indoor areas.
X-Mist is a canister that is set in the middle of a room and sprays a light mist covering the entire room with an active cleansing agent. This “easy to use” broad-spectrum germicide is formulated specifically for deodorising and sanitising all types of space from hospitals, clinics and hotel rooms to vehicles and aircraft.
We are seeing increasing numbers of clients from offices, gyms, hotels and pubs contacting us for supplies of X-mist to sanitise their environments to ensure they are as clean and safe as possible for people to return to work and socialising under the ‘new normal’ arrangements.
As a regular hotel guest, I was keen to learn what venues were going to introduce when they reopened their doors to ease concerns about the potential spread of the virus.
Hilton appear not only to have paid extreme care and attention to the what the ‘new normal’ might look like, but they have prepared clear explanations to guests about what they have changed, and – importantly – why.
Take the guest room which, on arrival, will have the Hilton CleanStay room seal, placed on the door to show it has being thoroughly cleaned. The chain’s corporate communications team have published material explaining: ‘The room will have extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more. It will be de-cluttered, with items like pens and paper removed.’ Impressively, disinfecting wipes will be provided in every room for guest use. (We can only hope they do not become the new ‘must have’ takeaway from hotel visits now the mini toiletries are a thing of the past!)
Hilton Hotels has spelled out clearly what measures have been implemented to address guest health and safety concerns to allay any fears visitors have when they return to the hospitality sector (https://newsroom.hilton.com/corporate/news/hilton-adds-cleanstay-in-time-for-summer-travel)
Indeed, the New York Governor’s guidelines make reference to the importance of communication. Along with clear signage around the workplace, the memo recommends developing webpages, text and email groups, and social media campaigns to provide information to workers, customers, and visitors that include instructions, training, signage, and information.
During the full lockdown, it was easy to be kept informed of the developing situation with daily Government news briefings and eye-catching slogans reminding us to stay home and save lives.
These messages became gradually more and more blurred as sections of society were brought out of lockdown and restrictions were eased in phases with different interpretations offered according to your preferred media source, traditional or social, and your own fears or personal experiences of the coronavirus.
As responsible employers – and employees – it is crucial that clarity of message returns as we take our first steps from the relative safety of our isolating cocoons back into the workplace.
We will all be playing our part in reducing the risk if we take a look at these two documents and consider their very valid points as we go about our business.
* To discuss any of our products and how they can help you keep your workplace, employees and visitors safe, please contact us for initial advice.