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Preparing for a return to work: 5 ways to keep your workplace safe

When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, Australia is in an enviable position. But just because we’ve flattened the curve, doesn’t mean we can be complacent.

With a return to work imminent for many of us, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few practical tips to help you keep your workplace safe, as you and your employees head back.

1. Implement a cleaning plan

Rigorous cleaning is our best defence to combat COVID-19. That’s why surfaces need to be cleaned several times a day, particularly communal areas like kitchens, bathrooms, counters and doors. So, whether you hire a cleaner or set up a roster, this is a crucial part of keeping your employees safe.

2. Set up sanitiser stations

Your hands are the biggest carriers of germs so it’s important to enforce the use of sanitiser. Place sanitiser stations in high-traffic areas like foyers, kitchens, bathrooms and meeting rooms. Disinfectant wipes are also a good idea, along with friendly reminder signs around the building.

3. Organise social distancing

Take a good look around your workplace and identify areas where your employees would be closer than 1.5 metres apart. Then separate desks and workstations where possible. If your technology allows, you may need to move people to common areas like meeting rooms, kitchens and lunchrooms.

If you’re in an office that’s already tight, consider asking some employees to continue working from home.

Empty office showing well-spaced workstations

4. Plan for a gradual return

It might be tempting to get everyone back to work at once, but this will put everyone at risk. It’s safer to organise a gradual return. There are a few ways to do this.

You could start people one day a week and build up to five. Or you could split your staff and have them work alternate weeks on site. Keep in mind there’s limited seating on public transport, so you may need to stagger work hours as well. You could also keep a percentage of people working from home.

5. Continue virtual meetings

One thing we’ve learned from working remotely is that video conferencing works. While it will never be the same as face-to-face meetings, technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams is the next best thing.

If your company doesn’t have a video setup, it might be worth implementing one. It could even save your company money, by eliminating the need to fly in regional, interstate or international people for meetings that can be conducted virtually.

If we take the right steps and stay diligent, we’ll be back to enjoying a happy and healthy environment in no time.

For more information on planning a safe return, read about the NCCC’s business planning tool in COVIDSafe: Planning a return to work for your business.

And, if you’d like to talk about your business insurance needs as you and your employees return to your workplace and adapt to the ‘new normal’, contact your broker today.


The advice in this article is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice.

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