The good news is that the world is finally starting to open up again after the 2020 lockdown. It is expected that from 21 June, all social restrictions will be lifted, and life will begin to return to normal.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that some things have permanently changed, especially when it comes to working in the office.
Here we will take a look at how life in the workplace will look moving forward.
Workplaces will be redesigned
Businesses have had to redevelop their workplaces to accommodate employee needs over the past year. These changes will continue in 2021 and beyond.
According to OBI, 70% of businesses have said they will need to adapt their workplace design after the pandemic.
Reasons why include:
- More staff working from home (either permanently or with the introduction of flexible working)
- Additional technology needed to facilitate changes in working patterns and for video conferencing
- Extra space for hot-desking staff
- Changes to office workflow to ease congestion and traffic in and out of the building
- More collaboration spaces
- More space to help with social distancing requirements
- Altering the building's ventilation to help improve air quality
One in ten companies said that they would need more space to carry out business moving forward.
More staff working from home
Even though the offices are reopening, staff are still working from home.
Last March, 47% of everyone in employment did some work at home. Although some staff have now returned to the office, some people are working from home permanently, with others balancing working at the office alongside remote working.
How does electrical compliance come into this?
If you redesign your office or have staff working from home, you will need to consider the following:
Electrical equipment testing
You may have additional equipment that needs testing. For example, monitors and electrical equipment in video conferencing rooms, or extension leads required to help space staff desks out.
If you have staff working from home, you are still responsible for their health and safety when they are not in the office, in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). It is essential to ensure that their electrical equipment (for example, laptops and monitors) are safe for use.
If you are amending your office building layout, you may need to install new electrical installations, like lighting fixtures and plug sockets.
You must test electrical installations every five years in an office environment to ensure your staff's safety.
Emergency lighting testing
If you change your building's layout to accommodate staff workflow, you may need to review your emergency lighting. This will help ensure it will safely lead staff, visitors and customers out of your building.
You need to test this emergency lighting regularly to ensure that the rechargeable batteries it uses will work in an emergency.
Fire risk assessments
If circumstances in your office change, it is recommended that you review your fire risk assessment to ensure it is still valid. Triggers that affect when you should review your current fire risk assessment include:
- You build an extension, or there are changes to the office's layout
- Staff numbers change substantially
- The location of fire safety equipment changes
Fire alarm servicing
All businesses must have an appropriate fire detection system in place, which means a fire alarm system for most buildings.
You need to have fire alarms in places where all staff can hear (as well as see) them in an emergency. This means that if your office structure changes, you may need to review your current system.
This fire alarm system needs to be tested every week, with a more thorough service carried out every six months to ensure it is functional.
If you are looking for a company to look after all of your electrical compliance needs, Hawkesworth is here to help.
From PAT testing, EICR, fire alarm servicing, fire risk assessment and emergency lighting, we can offer a fully comprehensive maintenance service for your business.
We also provide thermal imaging as well as electric vehicle charging point installation and maintenance.