As we slowly begin to open back up the office, I freely admit to feeling some mixed emotions.
Nervous anxiety that our safety precautions are sufficient to protect staff from transmitting or catching the infection and that we effectively play our part in keeping the “R” rate down. This is coupled with the exciting anticipation of actually seeing staff back in the fold, the Randall & Payne family under one roof.
I have seen most, if not all of our employees during lockdown, either on virtual team meetings, the few who briefly popped into the office for furniture and work items, the numerous posts on our WhatsApp group and in our weekly ZOOM coffee and catch-ups, so I know everyone has been keeping well and has had the opportunity to keep in touch, but actually seeing people sat at the desks and working in the office will make things feel like we are getting through this.
Still, things will not be the same as before, the office and how we behave in it will be remarkably different;
Our receptionist will be there to greet us, but will be behind a perspex screen, for your and her safety. Rest assured though, she will still be pleased to see you and as welcoming as ever.
We will be in the office in small numbers, on a one week in, two weeks working from home rota. We hope everyone remains infection-free, but we hope by doing this we will minimise risk of the whole office going into self- isolation if one person show signs of Covid-19. In essence, this means if you wish to speak to a particular person they may not be in the office when you call but there will be an advisor able to speak to you on site or, if you can allow a little patience, we will, if that person is working from home, continue as we have and ask them to return your call.
Our staff have a one-way in and one-way out policy to minimise the risk of bumping into each other and breaking the social distancing requirements. The main entrance will be everyone’s point of entry and there will be hand and mobile phone sanitisers for everyone to use before entering further into the building.
We will offer disposable masks and gloves but we are not planning at this stage to make the wearing of these mandatory, they are there for those who feel more comfortable wearing them.
Internally we have made further changes. We have removed desks to ensure we abide by the social distancing requirements, the coffee machine will be left off for now – we will have to continue to miss catching up over coffee with our clients in the cafe area for a little while longer, and we have asked staff to bring in food, drink, milk, etc in their own lunchbox to prevent any contact from others. We will of course have the hot water urns on so we can make our own essential tea and coffee during the day!
Our toilet facilities will be in use but even though they are multi-occupancy they will, until further notice, be single-use only, but as we are in in small numbers we are hoping there won’t be any queues!
We hope we have thought of everything to ensure we do our bit whilst trying to return to some kind of normality but I am sure things we could do better will be identified and so we will continue to make appropriate changes.
As we won’t all be in, we will continue to stay in touch as we have done over the past months. I have been signing off with a daily email update to the whole team and will continue to do so until we are all back together. We will keep sharing our fitness accomplishments, D.I.Y successes (and failures!), our green fingered achievements or the wonderful wildlife and nature we see on our evening walks, as well as the funny photos showing what our kids have got up to whilst we have been distracted, it’s a great way to share what we are doing as we do all miss each other.
We hope you are all safe and well during lockdown and are coming to terms with the world opening back up. We understand if you are not sure about going back to the way we did things before. Don’t worry, we can continue to come and collect or drop off your records, or we can speak to you through the intercom if you would rather leave papers/records by the door and we will safely bring them in for you. Just let us know your preference. We are not having face-to-face meetings just yet and will continue to hold meetings via video call or catch up with you on the phone. As we progress at the pace which suits us, we will work to the pace that suits you.