We know that the return to the workplace will be more challenging than the lockdown, there are so many variables. Colleagues may be anxious about returning, or desperate to get back, or can’t imagine ever returning to their commute. Some will be experiencing different levels of risk due to their ethnicity, age, economic factors, or underlying health conditions. Some will have experienced the tragic loss of family, friends or colleagues.
What we do now will stay with employees forever, therefore it’s important that organisations respond with empathy and clarity. The need for inclusion in these challenging times goes far beyond the law, and we need to take every individual’s needs and circumstances into account in fostering a supportive and caring employment relationship.
Schools have a legal responsibility to protect staff and others from risk to their health and safety. This means they need to consider the risks and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. Schools also has legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty and this means they must eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
This document includes guidance on the following:
- Practical Tips for Return Conversations
- Completing an Individual Risk Assessment
- Example Risk Assessment Check List
1. Practical tips for return conversations
A successful return to the new normal will depend on understanding individual differences and challenges and responding with empathy and clarity. These practical tips offers a best practice approach to support the conversation with the employee about returning to the workplace.
|Overview – before your conversation||Specific questions|
Use this information to inform the plans for your team and to make the process as successful as possible for all.
2. Completing an individual risk assessment
Individuals who are required to return to their workplace should have a ‘check-in’ with their line manager or another appropriate person. If any issues are identified as part of that check-in, then an individual risk assessment should be completed. An example risk assessment check list has been included at 2.1 to support schools in ensuring that, in addition to the general risk of infection when returning to the workplace, any potential, specific, risks to individual employees and their mental wellbeing, has been considered and assessed.
This will also ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to reduce the risk to the lowest possible level. It remains the case that anyone who falls into the following criteria should not return to work:
- Those who have symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms
- Those (shielding) who must not work outside the home
During these times our situations are likely to change, therefore it’s important to review the individual checklist/risk assessment with the employee on a regular basis. This can form part of your one-to-ones or regular catch-ups.
If you require any additional guidance or advice, please contact:
Health, Safety and Wellbeing team
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 01926 476803
HR Advisory Service
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 01926 412370
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2a. Example risk assessment checklist
This checklist follows the government guidance “COVID-19 Secure” and other associated national guidance.