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COVID-19 and engaging with staff

Information on engaging with your staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

​It’s important that you take the time to involve your workforce in understanding the potential issues and identifying solutions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, and agree on the best ways to implement these. 

The pages below will help you do this.

  1. Why I should engage staff in consultation
  2. How I should consult with staff
  3. How I should carry out meetings
  4. What topics I should discuss with staff
  5. Other sources of help and support

4. What topics I should discuss with staff

Applying social distancing rules will be different for each workplace. It is important that you listen to those carrying out the daily tasks to understand what a realistic and safe expectation is.  Examples of common control measures can be found on our planning a return to work pages.

Starting points for some of the issues that you could discuss with employees are

  • reminding staff that the reduction of risk of transmission relies on everyone taking responsibility for their actions and behaviours.
  • making sure that everyone understands and agrees to participate in the new ways of working
  • improving hand hygiene, cleaning regimes and minimising contact around the workplace. For example provision of additional hand cleaning facilities to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidance
  • advising of changes to the layout of the workplace to allow social distancing between employees
  • discussing how staff may need to work and remain in designated teams or groups
  • discussing possible changes to shift patterns, allowing for staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion on public transport, at entrances/exits, canteens, and breaks. You should discuss whether these changes are workable, for example is there public transport available at different times
  • discussing any new processes around the use of welfare facilities, such as toilets, showers, changing and locker rooms, canteen and rest areas - limited and or staggered access could be considered
  • discussing changes to first aid cover and procedures to ensure that employees understand how to access first aid facilities whilst applying social distancing when possible
  • discussing what to do if a member of staff displays symptoms of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • describing changes to fire and evacuation processes may be required. You should highlight any changes to previous practice and the need for retraining and practice, for example alternative ways of evacuating the building to allow for social distancing and making sure that everyone understands their role
  • giving clarity that might be needed around the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the use of face coverings in the workplace.  PPE should be a last resort and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for social distancing.