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Returning to work?

Published on: 9 July 2020

Possible questions to ask if you are returning to work after shielding. 

Returning to work

After 1 August the Governments in England and Northern Ireland will further relax advice to those shielding. In terms of work, this means that if you are unable to work from home, but can work on site, you should do so, provided the business is COVID-safe. Note: the shielding advice you follow should be based on your country of residence and not employment. 
Although different sectors of business have different guidelines, here are some questions that might be helpful when speaking to your employer about arrangements for returning to work.

Questions around exploring working from home, flexible hours and policies around health and safety

  • Am I able to work from home?
  • Can adjustments be made to make it possible for me to work from home?
    • If so, can I access the right equipment?
  • Are there provisions for flexible working hours to help with travel?
  • Has the organisation carried out a risk assessment or produced any specific policies around health and safety and the workplace, especially in relation to COVID-19? 
    • If so, would you be happy to share it?

Questions around provisions to make the workplace COVID-safe

  • Will the workplace be cleaned more frequently? What measures have been put in place?
  • Will hand sanitiser or anti bac wipes be provided around the workplace?
  • Will surfaces that are touched regularly be frequently cleaned and disinfected?
  • What provision will be in place for COVID-safe use of communal and shared areas, such as kitchen, toilets, staircases?
  • Will I be able to maintain recommended social distancing?
  • Will there be signage, floor tape or paint to remind other workers and visitors of social distancing guidance?
  • Will I be expected to share a workstation?
  • Will the organisation receive visitors and will they be made aware of company COVID-safe procedures?
  • Will you be providing personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • Will the workplace be adjusted to manage transmission risk eg: 
    • use of screens or barriers to separate people
    • back-to-back or side-to-side seating
    • staggered arrival and departure times
    • a one-way traffic system through the workplace
    • minimisation of the number of people each person has contact with
    • suitable ventilation measures.

Questions if you are concerned about safety at work and if people have to shield again in the future

  • Who should I speak to if I have any concerns around safety?
  • What provisions have been made if shielding is reinstated or local lockdown is imposed?

Whilst Lymphoma Action do not cover specific information around work and finance, our Information and Support team are there to talk about any concerns you may have. You may also find the links below helpful:

GOV.UK guidance on work and employment for people shielding
Acas website or call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100
Health and Safety Executive 

9 July 2020