Home Working and Risk Assessment
I'm sure no one has missed the a general call that where possible employees should try to work from home, but in reality this may not be as easy to do. Our advice at this time is to undertake a risk assessment of your employees. For example identify any employees that are in the high risk categories and follow the advice where possible. For employees that are fit, well and healthy that do not have dependants or their dependants are not showing signs of the virus, you could explain that for the time being, employees are to continue to work as normal whilst the situation is kept under review. Implement home working if at all possible.
If you do choose to have your employees working from home,as a precaution, you may wish to speak to your insurers and IT/Internet providers first. Insurers may want to know about home working if this is not already covered under your insurance, and you will need to get all employees that work from home to sign for any company property given to them but also to ask them to undertake a risk assessment of the environment they will be working form. We would also suggest, you introduce some form of workflow monitoring and calling in process.
Also, for the last 12 months or more, cyber security has been on the minds of many business owner. If you are going to have working from home, please speak to you IT/Internet provider to ensure your networks can cope and will not be subject to risk of virus or malware infection.
High Risk Employees
High risk employees will be advised over the coming days to be sent home and refrain from work for 12 weeks. If you can look at safe home working, then now would be a good time to consider how this could work for your business.
Temperature and Cough
Whole households have now been advised to self-isolate themselves for 14 days, should they or someone within the household show signs of a consistent dry cough or high temperature (+37.8). In these circumstances the employee will receive either Company or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) depending on their contractual rights. Please remind your employees, that whilst they may be concerned parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, are to stay away from the homes of their loved ones if they do not live with them.
There are other suggestions you may want to consider. Splitting your teams and have them working in different locations, parts of the office or adopting new working patterns could be an option. Other employees may be unhappy about coming to work, although may not be required to self-isolate, these employees could take paid annual leave or unpaid time off, as long as it is approved by you in advance.