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Re-opening your business from lockdown

As many firms in Sheffield begin the gradual process of returning from the latest and hopefully final lockdown, they will need to plan for what is likely to be a staged return to the workplace. As the easing of lockdown continues, it’s vitally important that firms plan a resumption of their activities in a controlled and safe manner.

The following are some of the key areas for local firms to consider when reopening their business.

Risk Assessment

It is vital you conduct a thorough risk assessment – when the government allows your business to reopen. This means looking at working areas and activities, checking equipment and premises, and considering what needs to be done to enable your employees to successfully distance themselves from colleagues and work safely.

Reopening preparation

It is likely that your business will need to make social distancing protocols, which will be specific to your industry sector. It may also be necessary to change the layout of your workplace. In addition you will be required to clean and disinfect the workplace thoroughly.

You should consider introducing new rules and procedures for staff at the workplace, to include for in-person interactions and physical contact. Depending on the nature of your business, it may also be necessary to introduce employee scheduling.

Communicate to staff before reopening about what your new ways of working might look like and what might be expected of them. Make sure they’re fully informed before inviting them back to work, consider running training sessions for your staff before you reopen your business and document these sessions for your records.

If your firm uses commercial vehicles it’s vitally important to enforce social distancing, cleaning and hygiene practices while operating them.
Establish a response team that recommends and oversees workplace protocols to control the spread of COVID-19

Employee screening

Consider implementing a screening procedure for staff before they enter your workspace so you can identify any potential COVID-19 cases. Employees who test positive or believe they have been infected should be instructed to follow the advice of a medical professional and self-quarantine. Staff who are symptomatic or who have tested positive should not return to work until official government conditions are satisfied.

Heath and Safety

Increase hand washing and surface cleaning frequency should be put in place. Some firms may need to provide their employees with the correct protective equipment, like gloves and masks and in some cases visors. They need to share guidance with them on how to correctly place, wear and remove face masks.

Training materials

Provide staff with safety information, which clearly explains the protocols around social distancing, use of PPE, personal hygiene, workspace cleaning responsibilities, and any industry-specific considerations.


Check that your business has the right insurance in place to ensure you are properly covered for new ways of working. The future of your business rests on arranging the correct, bespoke insurance cover and not a package of unsatisfactory covers, that could prevent you from making a claim.