It is with great relief that Covid-19 imposed restrictions are starting to lift across the nation. Kids are back at school and moving back to sport, cinemas are opening up, you can sit down in a café and you can get back to camping and use shared facilities. But what about getting your team back into the workplace?
Each state is at a different stage based on how they are managing Covid-19 and how it has been transmitted within communities. So let’s take a look…
If you can work from home, you must continue to work from home if you reside in Victoria. This decision is not just about exposure in the workplace – it has far more to do with increased numbers on public transport and how quickly this contagious virus will spread with tens of thousands of people crammed into trains, trams and buses. The Victorian Government is so serious about this that they have introduced new Stay Safe Directions and Restricted Activity Directions which outline fines of $9913 if employers refuse to comply. These directions are currently in place until 21 June 2020 but it is likely they will be extended until at least the end of June 2020.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Employers must allow employees to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so. Businesses can also complete a Covid-19 Safety Plan then register as a Covid Safe business. Badges and posters are provided for use on social media and on site allowing these businesses to instil confidence in clients and employees.
Queensland are operating under Stage 2 restrictions which allows for business to reopen in a way that increases business activity but does not risk the health of customers, employees or the broader community. Businesses can still support working from home where practicable.
South Australia are allowing businesses to reopen with restrictions that include social distancing and density rules. Again, it is a case of allowing flexibility in remote working where viable.
The West Australian government is actively encouraging everyone to head back to work as soon as possible. Most industries are reopening with some exceptions with physical distancing to be observed where possible and good hygiene an absolute priority.
All businesses are able to resume based on a new normal in the Northern Territory. Most importantly, they must complete and submit a Covid-19 safety plan to the Department of Health before reopening. They must also have in place hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities for staff and customers, provide hygiene education to staff and display information for customers and tick the box in a number of other areas related to hygiene that will minimise the risk or spread of infection.
Working from home where it suits both you and the employee is still encouraged in Canberra. If this is not viable, physical distancing and good hygiene practices must be maintained.
BRINGING YOUR TEAM BACK TO WORK
As Australia opens up, it is absolutely vital that we manage the physical and psychological as well as financial impact that Covid-19 has had on employees. Be mindful that a direction to return to the workplace should be managed well - allow your team time to process the request if you can. Sending out a group email at 4:45pm on Friday advising them to be on site at 9am Monday may not garner a positive response. If your business is in Victoria, you could start planting the seed now that you hope everyone will be able to return at the beginning of July if restrictions lift. It sets the timing and allows your team to mentally prepare for the next phase of this extraordinary time in world history.
Clear communication that outlines the safety measures you have in place will certainly reduce apprehension for those that are anxious about returning to the workplace. Contact HR Staff n’ Stuff if you require any guidance around state based restrictions and directives or support in managing a return to the workplace.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!