Making sure staff feel safe in the office is a priority for every business owner right now. But what measures can you take to reassure staff who will be entering customers’ homes?
Staff at Bluebell Fitted Furniture work in three areas: the warehouse, showroom and design department. When founders Mike and Alison Reuben made the decision to reopen, they had to implement safety measures for several different working environments.
“We had one designer who was a bit anxious about coming back. But after work on the first day, he actually wrote to us and said ‘I don’t know what I was concerned about. The processes and safeguarding you’ve put in place has 100 per cent reassured me. I’ve got no worries’,” Mike said.
Work with a health and safety expert
Before reopening, Mike and Alison booked a health and safety officer to come and advise them on social distancing measures.
They started by installing hand sanitiser points and putting arrows on the floor to make a one-way system around their factory in Altrincham. For their showroom in Sale, they put the same markings on the wall and floor.
“When the factory guys came back, they were very pleased to see that there was hand sanitisation. Everything we could do, we did,” Alison said.
“We’ve got some sneeze guards in the area where we all work as a team. Even though we’re more than two metres away from each other, we’ve put them in place to give everybody a bit more of a reassuring workplace.”
Talk to your team about their needs
The biggest challenge was putting safety precautions in areas they couldn’t control. Bluebell’s designers visit customer homes and were particularly uneasy about returning to work.
Mike and Alison sat down with the designers to talk about their concerns. As a result, they put together a coronavirus declaration form that would be sent to customers before any designer entered their home.
“The customer has to write back and declare that they – and their family members – haven’t had any problems with coronavirus and that they’re fit and well. They also have to say that they’re going to practice social distancing and that there will be hand-washing facilities for the designers,” Alison said.
“Once we get the coronavirus declaration form back, we have to sign it off. We’re guaranteeing the safety of our clients and employees. I don’t know any other companies that have gone to the same lengths that Bluebell have gone to by getting it in writing. We’re just trying to be as careful as possible.”
How is your business emerging from lockdown? Do you have an interesting story about employee engagement to tell? We’d love to hear about your experience. Here’s how.