10 Steps to Getting your staff Back to Work safely

10 Steps to Getting your staff Back to Work safely

Planning the return to work after the pandemic is something that all businesses are now considering. How do you do this safely and ensuring you are covid secure.



10 Steps to Getting your staff Back to Work safely


This pandemic has turned everything on its head. We have all just probably acclimatised to working from home along with the accompanying distractions.

Now clients and management are beginning to wonder how they can prepare for a return to work as and when the government advises, and the crisis subsides

We know from recent research from a Workplace Survey 2020 that posed the question. Given the choice of options between the office, a coworking office & coffee shop & home the majority chose the Office.

Before management asks people to return to the office, you need to plan for the new post Covid reality that office density may have to be reduced to ensure a safe return to work. Following are some thoughts on the first steps companies can take in the short term to give staff confidence that their health & wellbeing is the priority over the economics.

Planning for the New Reality

  • Maintain social distance guidelines. Unless people are wearing face masks, the 2 Metre apart rule should apply in the physical workspace until there is a COVID-19 vaccine and or coronavirus is no longer a threat


  • Taping out the floor with a 1-way system and utilise barriers either hired or bought to define a clear strategy to maintain social distancing. A coloured infographic plan layout pinned to walls to clearly illustrate the strategy


  • Remove every other chair at bench-style workstations so that you have a ‘W’ shaped seating plan with an empty space between each chair and an empty one opposite. This may prove to be challenging, however, repurpose your collaboration/meeting rooms to desks. Remove every other chair as the suggestion above retaining 1 meeting room  for essential meetings which could be a hidden bonus to cut the amount of none essential meetings that historically seem to have cluttered the workday


  • Consider adding screens/partitions between desks. These can be retrofitted and be of a wipeable UPVC, disposable cardboard or even acoustic felt treated with anti-bacteriacide. The idea is to block the spread of the virus that can be transmitted by talking, coughing, or sneezing. It should also be policy to avoid situations where one employee is standing while another is seated within the same 2 Metre exclusion ‘bubble’


  • Install hand-wash stations throughout the office with alcohol gel and increase the hours of your Office Cleaning contractor. Ensure that the cleaning regime is expanded to include antibacterial spray and cleaning of all screens, desks and keyboards or empower your staff to use these products at their station. Consider using disposable paper desktop mats is an economical and recyclable option to have a daily clean and hopefully germ-free working space

See example (left) of summary, every cost is clearly broken down, priced per lineal, per square, labour to the half-hour

  • Do not share your keyboard, to avoid viral transmission, it’s best to provide technology and accessories (such as a mouse, keyboard, or headset) to each member of staff. These devices are touched throughout the day and are best not shared without disinfecting between uses


  • Most companies employ professional cleaning contractors to come in early evening to hoover, dust and wipe down. Review your cleaning contract and add additional time and protocols to their contract to ensure door handles, monitors and other touch points. Businesses should adopt professional cleaning protocols not only for workstations, but for conference rooms, collaborative areas, cafes, reception desks, and other common areas at regular intervals throughout the day. Employee health depends on a safe and clean work environment


  • Practice good hygiene. Reinforce good practice with well-stocked washrooms that have touchless soap and anti-viral cleaning supplies. Also, door pulls, badge readers, and shared common areas should be disinfected throughout the day


  • Have all your A.C. filters cleaned and serviced? Try to open windows to improve natural ventilation rather than just turning up your mechanical system. Consider installing air purification and sanitization systems. Many of these systems display real-time air quality measurements on digital screens to keep employees informed, and it will serve as a continuous disinfectant, improving air quality by reducing airborne and surface contaminants like viruses, bacteria, germs and other allergens


  • Learn from the healthcare sector. Install new touchless infra-red taps, soap dispensers, sinks and W.C.s Consider adding these features, especially in building lobbies, reception desks, and shared common areas. Utilize materials which are smooth, easy to wipe down and hold up to frequent deep cleanings, especially in high-traffic areas.

Explore new ways of working


The longer we work from home in large numbers, the more new habits and new ways of working will begin to take shape. Your staff will have adopted different ways to collaborate virtually, which may likely continue when we return to the office. Workflows and communication might improve. We should embrace these changes and let them flourish.

We all expect the coronavirus pandemic will cause major shifts in how we experience the office. So, when this crisis ends, we may well discover there have been fundamental changes in the way we work and in workplace design. But we know the workplace still matters. Building community, reinforcing our organisation’s culture, and strengthening relationships with colleagues is still what the workplace is all about.



The first thing to understand is that it is impossible to create work that is fast, good, and cheap. Inevitably if we do work that is cheap and fast, it is inevitable that it will not be of as high quality if we had more time or a greater budget.

We have traded through three recessions now having been in business for 32 years and are constantly working for clients that demand all the above. Factors such as the responsibility felt towards employees, the security of having a constant work-stream, and our service ethic often overrides orthodox business strategy.

The extras on a project are not viewed by Select Interiors as a means of extracting more profit but as a service if requested or if necessary. As the example above illustrates on a challenging design & fit out in the Grade II Listed Royal Exchange. Select Interiors have previously undertaken a lot of contracts for the Department of Works and Pensions throughout Cheshire and Brighton & Hove areas. We were awarded the best fit out contractor of the year for the fit out at Wilmslow as part of the framework agreement. Variations or additional works were agreed on an ‘open book’ cost plus P&O basis. We do not believe we can foresee all risks; however, we can promise to provide a detailed and transparent breakdown of variations, clear reporting and taking the necessary action to ensure there is a minimal impact on programme. We also strive to give clear reporting on progress, variations as they arise and to give value and service.

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We at Select Interiors Manchester Makers & Creators of unique interiors at competitive prices. We design and create environments that not only make the most efficient use of space but that incorporate a sense of fun and unique, bespoke elements to every scheme<

Talk to the experts about how we can improve your office, restaurant, cafe or retail space, call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040.

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