Voice of the Employee

A new GDK poll reveals that 70% of respondents do not feel comfortable returning to work unless social distancing measures are in place. The survey also showed that 60% of participants would like to see more permanent social distancing measures implemented at their workplace following the crisis.

These results are an indication of the scale of the challenge facing businesses across the UK. Social distancing goes against the long-held ethos of maximising productivity and will require most businesses to operate inefficiently just when they need to be as efficient and safe as possible in order to recover from the economic impacts of lockdown.

The guidelines released by the UK government are a step forward in helping workplaces to understand some of the changes required to enable safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they are not specific enough to implement by themselves. They do not tell owners/operators how to determine the capacity, or how to ensure social distancing by reconfiguring spaces and designing new procedures that, importantly, account for the way people behave. More details on design and operations principles and standards are urgently needed nationally.

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