A guide on how you can return to work safely


While it’s impossible to say exactly how the current coronavirus crisis will play out and how long it could take to bring under control, one thing is certain – and that is that the vast majority of people need to work to earn a living.

So how do you ensure that you are able to return to work safely? How can you minimise the risk to yourself and your customers? Here we have put together some practical tips to help you get back to work in the safest way possible.

What did the UK Government say about returning to work?

First, what exactly are the guidelines right now? What has Boris Johnson and the UK Government outlined when it comes to getting back to work? While it is clear that some people are easily able to work from home, for others, that is completely impossible. Boris Johnson has said that people who cannot telecommute, such as those in the construction of manufacturing industries, should be “actively encouraged to go back to work.”

The Government has accepted that it may be necessary for householders to employ tradespeople if they need to make improvements to properties prior to a sale, for example, or if they need to ensure the environments in which their tenants are living in are comfortable.

Tips to get safely back to work

If you do fall under one of the trades where you are unable to work from home and you need to physically attend your employer’s place of business or clients’ homes, then below are some tips to help you stay as safe as possible:

Contact the household to check no-one is ill

While you may have already made arrangements to start work on a certain day, it would be a good idea to double check that no-one in the household where you will be working is self-isolating or has started to suffer coronavirus symptoms. If you do find anyone in the household is ill, you will need to delay work until a safer time.

You can also use this call as a chance to talk about how you will keep each other safe while you are carrying out the necessary work. This will give you the opportunity to discuss how risks could be reduced.

Don’t go to work if you are ill

Times are hard for so many people right now, particularly if you are self-employed and you don’t get paid unless you work. However, it’s vital that you don’t go to work if you are feeling ill yourself, even if you only have very mild symptoms. Yes, it may be something as common as a cold or hayfever, but it may develop into something else and you don’t want to run the risk of spreading any virus onto those in the household you visit.

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of taking your temperature at the same time each morning. If you have a high temperature, stay home. If you have any symptoms then stay home for at least 14 days until you ensure that you do not have Covid-19.

Wash your hands and use sanitiser

Hand hygiene is particularly important right now. Make sure you wash your hands before heading to a customer’s home. Take your own hand sanitizer with you so you can sanitize at regular intervals during the day.

Also take your own towel, or paper towels, so you don’t have to dry your hands on someone else’s towel. You can also wear a mask and ask the householder to wear a mask if they need to discuss anything with you.

Minimize contact with householders

If the home you are working on is occupied, then try to reduce the time you need to spend with those in the household. It will be best if they remain in a different part of the house while you carry out your work.

If you do need to discuss anything with them, or they would like to offer any instruction or clarification, then make sure you implement social distancing measures and stay at least two metres apart from each other. Avoid face-to-face contact and wear masks to further minimize any risk.

Take your own refreshments

These are strange times that we’re living in. While we’re used to shaking hands when we meet someone, and accepting a cup of tea from a householder during a break at work, it’s important now to minimize risk. Rather than drinking out of their cups, take your own refreshments.

Avoid public transport

Thankfully, the majority of tradespeople will tend to travel to work in their own, or a work, vehicle, as you will have tools and equipment you need to take with you. If it is possible, then avoid travelling to your place of work via public transport.

Can you quote virtually?

While, pre Covid-19, you may have visited multiple homes throughout any given day to provide quotations for work to be carried out, it’s best not to be visiting so many households at the moment. Can you manage to discuss potential jobs and provide a quotation via video call with prospective customers? This will be safer for both of you.

Work with the same team and social distance from your workmates

It may be that you are not a one-man band and you work with a bigger team. In this case, the same team should work on the same property or site, without switching around with other colleagues.

This will prevent spread of the virus across different sites if someone does become ill. You should also ensure that the minimum number of people are on the site at any given time and that everyone ensures they stay two metres apart from each other.

By following all of the tips above, you can minimize the risk for yourself and the household where you are working, while still carrying out the improvements or work you have been brought in to do.