MVIS | Returning to the office safely in a world with COVID-19
During the lockdown caused by COVID-19, the office staff at MVIS & Bartco UK have, like many across the nation, been working from home.
Now, as the UK begins to get moving again, the company has been hard at work in developing protocols that will enable them to operate from their office HQ, but with the ever present threat of infection being the main consideration in their minds.
There are a number of a departments within the organisation that have always required a degree of on-site presence, from the manufacturing team with Bartco UK to the delivery team for MVIS; it has been important for the team to be trained in, educated in and to be actively practising measures that will help keep them safe and reduce the spread of the virus.
Some of the infection control measures MVIS has implemented have been extremely strict, putting intense demands onto their team on top of their already demanding roles, especially regarding health and safety. However, it is this aptitude towards skills development and adherence to compliance that has worked to the teams’ advantage, allowing them to learn the new skills they need to operate with further safety protocols in place.
These measures include:
- Disinfection of all collected units on arrival
- Limited delivery/service vehicle sharing with mandatory masks if sharing
- Mandatory disinfection of all surfaces touched & shared facilities
- Hand sanitising stations located throughout the buildings
- Perspex screens dividing workstations
- Daily temperature readings
- A complete layout change to the building, including re-positioned desks and relocation of marketing office and doors to control the flow and direction of foot traffic
- VMS deployed in strategic locations for safety information or no access
- All external doors & windows left open when people are in the building
- Withdrawal of shared utensils and pots
- Table and canopy built outside to allow for socially distanced meetings across departments
- Repainted the workshop floor to mark out personal working ‘bays’ stationed 2m apart
- Second workshop set up in the storage facility, Unit 19, to allow for social distancing
- New ‘snap cabin’ recreational area for the workshop team, further segregating the use of shared facilities
- Personal headsets for phones rather than using the handsets
- Daily Microsoft Teams meetings updates
- Visitor entry restrictions marked by VMS
- Placement of workplace safety signage to remind employees to wash and sanitise hands
- Weekly risk assessments of all areas to ensure adherence to ever-changing Covid 19 guidelines
The layout change is not small; it’s been a major renovation project to the offices. One that has involved blocking old entrances off and creating new ones to better facilitate the safe flow of people from one section of the building to another.
MVIS’ new layout has seen the building divided into territorial ‘pods’, separating departments and ensuring that the staff who are required to share a space do not come into potentially infectious contact with any more people than absolutely necessary.
In establishing set entrances, exits and pass through routes for each pod, MVIS has limited their areas of concern to shared facilities such as toilets.
Outside each pod sanitising stations have been installed that staff must use when moving from one pod to another, with face masks mandatory for any staff member outside of their pod.
In line with government guidelines, MVIS & Bartco UK recently began to phase in some of their office staff who wanted to come back in as the lockdown measures ease.
To allow this to happen safely, each member of staff is required to take a temperature test daily when they enter the building. This helps both the company and employees take early steps in the event that any of the team are displaying a fever, and by taking these measurements daily, the company has comparable and consistent data that would help to identify a fever, or unusual personal temperature as soon as it presents.
These constant reminders scattered through the office, the drastic change to the work place layout and the steps being undertaken as individuals serve as a system that not only help keep the team safe, but also help them feel safe, allowing them to still work productively without unnecessary anxiety.
As you can see, the office now features new, higher desks with ergonomic stools and mats placed under for foot comfort. The company took the opportunity during the renovation to make sure that workspaces helped to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, and these stools help to correct posture and improve employee’s standing health.
Every member of staff has been well equipped too. Upon return to work after lockdown, everyone has been given protective visors, masks, a packet of antibacterial wipes and another bottle of hand sanitiser. The desk layout within the pods have been positioned to ensure maximum efficiency between departments that require any form of interaction.
Critically, MVIS is not forcing anyone into the office who is not required to be, minimising the number of people that are sharing the facilities and space, therefore minimising the risk.
Indeed, those who have come back either wanted to and have done so by choice or were required to due to the nature of their role.
This gives the team a ‘no pressure’ approach to the situation that lets them to take control of their own health, both mental and physical, allowing them to return to work in the office when they feel comfortable.