Employee safety in a pandemic is a huge issue for accountants
Well, that all happened rather quickly didn’t it? One moment we’re staying safe and working from our kitchen table, and the next day allegedly staying alert and going back to work. Understandably, it’s left many accountancy firms concerned about the safe return of their employees.
Of course, you have Government guidance, and in our opinion, the situations in which an accountant cannot work from home will be few and far between (it’s clearly the safest choice), but if you’d like a few simple tips from us then please read on.
- Stagger start and finish times, as well as breaks and lunches – to avoid crowding.
- Provide hand washing and sanitisers at all entry and exit points.
- Keep windows open, and open up entrances so there is plenty of ventilation.
- Change the layout of desks so they are 2m apart.
- Where 2m is not possible, face desks away from each other or provide barriers.
- Devise a one-way office system to ensure minimum contact.
- Do not allow hot desking, all employees should use a designated desk and use their own equipment only.
- All desks and keyboards should be cleaned at the end of each day.
- Make arrangements for specialist or expensive equipment to be cleaned – if it can’t be washed down.
- High touch equipment such as white boards and printers should be avoided where possible.
- And last, but by no means least, consider the human element of returning to work post-lockdown. The Chartered Institute of Personal Development released figures that 4 in 10 of us are afraid to return to work post-lockdown. Your employees may have lost family, friends or work colleagues from COVID-19. All concerns and communication should be dealt with sensitively.
Guidance from the Government has already been published (here’s a link to their safe office working guidance) and it’s of course likely to evolve, but it seems these safety measures at least will be in place for some time. So, your efforts will not be short-lived or wasted.
However, the time and cost of change will leave many accountancy firms in favour of remote working for the foreseeable future, and of course Government advise remains that home working should be the first option. With industry giants such as Twitter, Nationwide and Barclays making remote working a permanent arrangement, we think others are sure to follow.
We’re delighted that we’ve seen an increase in activity for us during the month of May – check out this inspiring blog.
And to all accountancy firms who are welcoming their employees back to work this month, you have our full support. We will be here for you and continue to share our news, advice and tips.
If you’d like to speak in person please call 0333 577 7787, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org