COVID-19 Getting back to the office safely

Croft Architecture is workplace ready

Croft Architecture's COVID-19 July Safeguarding Measures Update

Croft Architecture takes the health and safety of our staff, clients and everyone involved in projects extremely seriously. We hope that you're continuing to cope well during these extraordinary times.

Our team have been safely working from home since lockdown began back on 23rd March 2020 and we've all been adjusting to the relaxation of the restrictions, yet still socially distancing from others.

We've been following the news closely over the weeks and welcomed Michael Gove's announcement for Britons to go back to work in offices. The Cabinet minister has insisted that it is crucial for office worker to return in order to 'fire up the economic engines' again as the country emerges from lockdown.

Following Gove's announcement, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, made a follow up statement on 17th July 2020, reporting that;

"From 1 August, we will update our advice on going to work.

Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion, and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.

That could mean of course continuing to work from home, which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees.

Or it could mean making workplaces safe by following Covid Secure guidelines. Whatever employers decide, they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe.

As we reopen our society and economy, it’s right that we give employers more discretion while continuing to ensure employees are kept safe."

We'll be back!

Croft Architecture working safelyThe health and safety of our staff, clients and everyone involved in projects is extremely important. We want to ensure that we're all safe and remain healthy going forward and to stop the spread of the virus.

It is for this reason that we've decided not to return to the office just yet until we've heard more details and thorough instruction from Boris on Saturday the 1st August.

In the meantime we've been working away in the background to assess the risks, plan for new working practices and procedures in our Stafford office and once we're back we'll continue to follow the latest government guidance on how to best operate safely.

We're all looking forward to being back together in the office again. For everyone outside of the practice nothing will change. Our architectural team are here, ready to advise, plan, and design for you as just as before. Projects are still progressing well & we've assessed the supply chains & everyone is seems to be fully functional again. We are visiting sites where it is safe to do so and we're continuing to adhere to the latest government's instructions as it is our civic duty to do so to stay alert, save lives and support the NHS.

What changes have we made?

Croft Architecture Socially Distanced Office

Our aim is to resume working from the office once again with as little disruption as possible, but from time to time some team members may continue to work from home where necessary, or if the government instructs us to return to remote working.

The new operational measures that we have implemented mean that our team can now work remotely, 'anywhere' (with a good internet connection 😆). Given what has happened over the last few months the situation is likely to fluctuate, and stricter measures could be imposed, possibly with very little notice. Our new operating measures mean that our transition between the office and remote based working is seamless for all.

When we return to the office environment it is critical that we all do 'our bit' and to ensure that others within our 'new' working environment are playing their part to ensure that the whole team and any visitors remain safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we do not contribute to the spread of the virus.

We have assessed the office setting to successfully manage a safe return to the workplace for staff and the potential to welcome visitors once again. Here are just some of the considerations we have reviewed  and considered.

  • Can staff maintain safe distance between each other?
  • How will we manage meetings, interviews and other interactions?
  • What about communal areas such as the kitchen areas?
  • How can we implement resourcing strategies to support physical distancing such as staggering working hours so that not all staff are in at the same time?

We continue to regularly follow the latest news updates to ensure that we are prepared for the changing scenarios and complying with Government instructions. As the situation changes we continue to regularly assess any implications to our activities and projects. We're working hard to ensure that any risk and disruption is minimised, implementing precautionary measures where necessary to reduce the spread of the virus, whilst ensuring that we can remain fully functioning for our clients.

How we aim to stay covid-19 secure

Croft Architecture Staying Covid-19 SecureWe can confirm that we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 by; 

  • Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment for our return to work in the office and the results have been with the team.
  • We have cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures in line with government guidance.
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to help the team to work remotely from home in line with our ISO accredited business continuity plan.

  • Our phone systems now operate via internet based technology meaning that we can answer calls either through a mobile device or a computer. We're fully contactable on 01785 248542 during office working hours.

  • We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace. Our offices are spacious and the team were already working more than a 2m distance from one another prior to the lockdown. Currently there are no times when crowding is an issue and some staff will continue working from home when necessary. Again, this will be reviewed when attendance as necessary.
  • The risks associated with site based activities and visits will be assessed on a case by case basis and we will judge what is possible in terms of physical meetings based on the governments social distancing directions.

  • We are continuing to appraise new sites (where we can social distance safely and the risk is low) and we welcome new all enquiries. 

  • We continue to working closely (by phone, email, virtually and in person) with our existing clients to keep projects moving forwards

  • Virtual and telephone meetings will still be held where physical attendance is not possible.

  • Where we cannot keep 2  metre apart we have ensured at least a 1 metre distance and taken all the mitigating actions possible to manage transmission risk.
  • We will continue to strictly adhere to the government's guidance on social distancing whilst on site to keep everyone safe. All parties will be asked for their acceptance and agreement prior to carrying out the visits.

Back to business as [ kind of ] normal 

Croft Architecture Office Rest assured that when we return to the office nothing will change for clients, suppliers and consultants. Although we will be back in the office we'll continue to operate during standard business hours. As we mentioned above our phones systems now operate via internet based technology, meaning that we can answer your call anywhere.

We're fully contactable on 01785 248542 during office working hours, so please stay in touch!

When will be back?

We'll determine when the best time to return to office following the next government announcement on 1st August and we'll update you when a decision has been made thereafter.

We've all worked remotely for four months and we now know that if the need arises to work permanently from home again we can do so seamlessly to ensure project consistency.

Once again we would like to reassure you that we will continue to comply with the government guidelines, as they evolve.
 
Whilst we are still facing the most uncertain of times, we are certainly trying to ensure it’s business as usual in our new 'normal' lives. 

If you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us on 01785 248542 or email enquires@croftarchitecture.com

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