ACAS guidance on re-opening offices

5 min read

Thursday 10 Jun 21

ACAS have helpfully published tips for offices reopening to assist businesses with adapting to normal working again this summer. To save you time, we’ve compiled the highlights so that our Farillio audience can have the information at their fingertips.

How does this affect businesses?

Employees may have concerns about Covid safety and travelling to and from work, especially those who are still yet to be offered a vaccine but there are a few things you can do to ease concerns and smoothly return to normal.

1. Read and implement Covid-19 safety measures in the office

The Government has released 14 industry specific guides so businesses can get clued up on how to ensure that their workplace is Covid safe.

You can read the guide on office safety measures here:

You should bear in mind that if you fail to carry out a reasonable risk assessment or put in place sufficient control measures to manage the risk, you might be at risk of breaching health and safety law.

HSE has helpfully provided resources on how to perform an effective risk assessment for places of work and you can even access a risk assessment template here:

It may be useful to gain insight and input from staff on how to make your workplace safe. Be sure to keep employees up to date about any changes you make to any policies or processes.

2. Be prepared for changes with staffing

Due to the safety measures that employers must abide by, you might need to rethink whether you actually need your whole workforce in the office, every day. Consider whether you can stagger start and finish times to avoid employees all being in the office at once and having to commute in rush-hour.

If some of your staff have been furloughed, you might need to think about how they fit back in to the workforce and redistribute workloads to them once more.

3. Have open discussions with staff about your plans

It’s wise to plan ahead and discuss things with staff before they return to the office. This will give them an opportunity to raise any concerns that they may have and to discuss any changes to their normal working arrangements. It’s important to be flexible if you can and be open. Most importantly, be supportive and try and resolve any issues that may arise constructively.

4. Make sure you abide by your duties as an employer

Don’t forget that in April, the national minimum wage and living wage increased so you might want to double check that you’re paying your staff the right salary as per their employment rights.

Make sure you also check how much leave employees have left to take as they may have carried some over from last year. You’ll need to let employees take accrued holiday entitlement and with summer in the air, you might need to think about how you’ll manage requests for time off. Requests should be considered fairly amongst the workforce. You might also need to have a contingency in place for what happens if Covid-19 restrictions make it difficult for employees to come back to work after going abroad.

Finally, you may have employees who need reasonable adjustments due to disabilities. You can read our blog on the ACAS guidance on long Covid here:.

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