The way we work has changed. But something that remains constant is the need to provide the best workplace experience. In the age of COVID-19, however, that experience has changed from serving coffees and turning the heating up to something much more meaningful. Nowadays, the right workplace experience is focussed on health, well being wellbeing and an environment designed to let our staff and learners work to their fullest potential.
So how have we adapted to prioritise safety in these unprecedented times?
1. We rethought our workspaces
Safe and healthy workspaces are key to an overall safe and healthy workplace and learning environment. That’s why one of the first major changes the company made was the reconfiguration of classrooms, offices, corridors, canteens and workshops to enable both our staff and our learners to adequately distance from one another. A few examples of this include 2-metre-distanced tables and floor markings,; limiting the number of staff and learners in a given room at any time, and creating a one-way system within our office corridors. We also ensured that both our staff and learners were well equipped to keep their workspace clean, keeping things such as antiviral wipes/sprays and hand-sanitising stations within every room. In the times where items must be shared between multiple people, whether that is equipment in the workshops or telephones, mice and keyboards in the offices: gloves and disinfectant aerosol sprays were have also been made available.
There are other practical concerns within workspaces that we have addressed. For example, both Public Health England and WHO have found that ventilation is a vital tool for reducing airborne transmission of the virus. While it is simply not feasible for the company to completely overhaul its ventilation system, we were We have been mindful of this Public Health England and the World Health Organisation’s guidance, who have found that ventilation is a vital tool for reducing airborne transmission of the virus, by making use of open windows and doors to increase outdoor airflow. To ensure that both our staff and learners are safe from this risk, mask wearing was made mandatory. The evidence is clear now, masks work (I’d maybe offer a link to Public Health England or something to back this up with evidence – silly, I know, but it would be a good idea). Here at Lomax we went beyond just encouraging staff to wear masks but making sure that makes are available and being worn by everyone who comes through our gates.
2. We introduced mandatory COVID-19 Health Forms
One thing that is as important as social distancing and personal hygiene is keeping a record of the well being of our visitors, learners and staff. We ensured this through the introduction of ‘COVID-19 Health forms’, which allow us to check every person who enters our gates for symptoms, their temperature and their vulnerability status. If you are visiting one of our sites soon, please help us out in advance by filling out our Covid-19 Health Form.
Taking this data-driven approach has allowed us an insight into how the pandemic is affecting different groups of people, to ensure that the company policy of nobody showing symptoms of the virus is entering the site and acts as a comfort blanket for many members of staff, alleviating some anxiety that working through these times can bring.
3. We brought in Staff Briefings
We consider ourselves successful in how we have adapted to the pandemic. And arguably this success boils down to one factor: communication. What better way to ensure healthy communication between all staff members than to have them all sit in one room and discuss regular discussion and feedback together (socially distanced, of course)?
As important as implementing safety measures is making sure staff are fully aware of them and know how to follow them. That’s why we introduced regular briefings led by our appointed COVID Marshall. The briefings allow staff to feel well informed of any change in policy or staff behaviour requirement and are how we implemented mandatory mask-wearing & social distancing rules!
When introducing new safety measures in such an uncertain time, it is of high importance that everyone in the workplace feels encouraged to voice their opinion. We have had members of staff suggest changes in measures or concerns they felt about other staff or learner behaviours. We value staff & learner voices to ensure that our workplace continues to be a healthy one.