Construction firm Beard has today begun the phased reopening of its offices, welcoming back staff who are struggling with the isolation of remote working. The move follows a successful week-long trial, with a range of safety measures implemented to ensure any risk of coronavirus infection is minimised.
The majority of office-based employees will continue to work from home, in line with the guidance from government, but conversations with staff members have revealed that some feel they would benefit from the interaction of an office environment.
More than 90 per cent of Beard sites remained operational throughout the ‘lockdown’ period and work has already resumed on all others. The lessons learned from adapting working practices on site have been instrumental in enabling the firm to reopen its offices safely.
A dedicated project manager has been appointed for each of the firm’s offices in Swindon, Guildford, Oxford and Bristol. They have overseen the process of ensuring that staff can return to the office safely. Those wishing to do so have all signed a declaration that they have not experienced symptoms of Covid-19 and complete an induction on the safety measures they need to be aware of.
Beard has also prepared a short video for staff to help them with the new working arrangements, and this has been made available via the firm’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U32xKnXuzs
Clear signage has been put up in all buildings to help staff to keep a two-metre distance at all times, with provision for a rota system to ensure reduced occupancy.
Other safety measures include a ban on the use of meeting rooms, with meetings continuing to be held remotely where possible, and in open areas when absolutely necessary, while maintaining social distancing.
Mike Hedges, director of Beard’s Bristol office and with overall responsibility for health and safety, commented: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is our top priority. We are not requiring anyone to return to the office but we know from talking to staff that there are some – particularly those who live alone – for whom full-time remote working has been challenging.
“Mental wellbeing is every bit as important as physical health. We want to do our utmost to cater for the varied needs our colleagues have, while ensuring they are protected from unnecessary risk of infection.
“It has been particularly valuable in achieving this to draw on the experiences of colleagues who have continued to work on site. They have performed minor miracles in adapting to safer working practices to protect against Covid-19 and the firm is extremely grateful to them for their efforts.”