By: Dianne Rawlings

As many of you are returning to work within Covid restrictions there are many new issues and tasks that are required.  While we’re now used to not shaking hands, physical distancing, and the hygiene practices needed to manage restrictions with our clients, customers, and contractors.  It is important to keep in mind and acknowledge that our return to work will have to be different – this is not business as usual like returning from a Christmas break.  It will involve strict hygiene policies, social distancing, and a myriad of measures to help keep everyone safe.

We’ve listed some simple things to consider including the communication and engagement of staff into your processes to help ‘manage up rather than managing down’.  An engaged team has such a great effect on your organisation’s culture and being involved in Covid management helps everyone feel included and safe in their new working environment.

Managing Covid-19 in your workplace

Workforce screening identifies high risk or vulnerable workers and complies with all health advice issued by the government.  Screening when entering the workplace could include temperature checks, hand sanitising, and questions including:

  • Are you experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms?
  • Do you have or have you recently had a temperature?
  • Have you been in contact with any confirmed cases of Covid-19, or anyone awaiting results of a Covid-19 test?

If anyone answers yes to any of the above, they shouldn’t enter your workplace and should seek medical advice immediately.

Strict hygiene practices

Covid-19 is highly contagious and spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces, objects, and hands.
Provide sanitiser, hygiene protocol posters, reduce the number of physical objects such as documents, this could involve switching to digital files. Introduce more regular and in-depth cleaning procedures. Hot desk setups require a thorough cleaning at the end of each day. We all know visual reminders are great and there are plenty of free downloadable posters on the Safework websites both national and state-based. Washing of all mugs, crockery, etc, and using personal mugs wherever possible.

Physical distancing

As per government advice, keep up to date with your restrictions, eliminate handshakes, no events or large gatherings, no group lunches, put in place staggered meal and break times, reduce the number of people in communal spaces.

Positive tests or employees awaiting results

If you have an employee who is confirmed for having Covid-19 or awaiting results, they should be self-isolating at home as per government regulations.  For further information contact your state and territory helplines.  Employees can return to work after they have been isolated and fully recovered from the virus. Each state and territory has its own criteria, contact details are:

NSW – 1300 066 055  QLD – 13 432 584  VIC – 1800 675 398  SA – 1800 253 787 
TAS – 1800 671 738  WA – 13 26843  ACT – 02 6207 7244  NT – 08 8922 8044 

Return to work surveys

Communication and consultation is vitally important within your organisation.  Consider asking your team some simple questions to establish how you can best alleviate any concerns they may have about returning or being in the workplace. E.g.

  • How do you feel personally about returning to the workplace?
  • What actions would you like to see us take to ensure you’re comfortable at work?
  • Are there conditions that are unique to you that we should know about?

Welcome back letter

By having a welcome letter, you can easily manage the transition between people who may have been working at home or those returning after a break.  Let them know of the changes you’ve made and the protocols that are now in place to ensure the team is kept safe as you work together to stop the spread of Covid-19.  This letter would things like include:

  • Hand sanitising stations
  • Temperature checks
  • Frequent and thorough cleaning of the workplace
  • Varied start times
  • Headcount limits for different rooms and meeting spaces

It’s also important your team know that it’s important to follow all guidelines and,
• Stay home if you are not feeling well
• Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and use a tissue
• Maintain a safe distance
• Wash your hands frequently

Employees also need to know that they are able to reach out if their feeling concerned or experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety during the transition, so noting who their direct contact is if this happens to them is really important.

As always if RME can be of any assistance we are just a call or email away and if you require products or signage for your workplace, we have a range of commonly used items, please ask for a brochure.

Phone: 1300 388 881 or email

Have a great month and stay safe!