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Exiting Lockdown - a route map to the new normal

Essential work has continued during lockdown but many organisations have either recently returned or are in the process of planning a ‘COVID-secure’ return to the workplace.  As lockdown restrictions begin to relax, Airmic members must plan for and adjust to the ‘new normal’. 

To help members navigate the reopening of workplaces, Airmic delivered a webinar titled ‘Exiting Lockdown - A roadmap to the new normal.’ Hosted by Gallagher, the expert panel provided insights from health and safety, organisational wellbeing and employment law experts:

  • Robert Tailby, Principal Casualty Risk Engineer at Chubb
  • Alistair Dornan, Organisational Wellbeing Consultant at Gallagher, and
  • Andrew Secker, Employment Law Partner at Mills & Reeve

You can watch a recording of the webinar in full here, but to provide a high-level overview, James Murray, Branch Director for Gallagher Leeds and Sarah Murfin, Key Account Manager at Gallagher’s have pulled out some of the key health and safety, organisational wellbeing and employment law pointers. 

Health and safety of employees and others

  • Duties of care under health and safety legislation are unchanged but COVID-19 brings new exposures and responsibilities which have to be managed. Businesses must continue to operate their usual health and safety management systems to protect employees from occupational risks. The potential for injury and ill health from non-COVID remains the most likely source of losses and claims.
  • Businesses must take steps to ensure the workplace is safe to return to, that equipment is operational and inspections are up to date.
  • Business leaders need to develop a suitable re-start and operating plan, integrating COVID-19 protective measures. Take a systematic approach recording what was done, when and why. Consulting, informing and training employees is key.  

Organisational wellbeing

  • Strong leadership and comms is essential to bringing back a productive and engaged workforce.
  • Executive burnout is real concern for businesses.  Leaders have been under enormous pressure, working long hours and may be at breaking point.  Now more than ever businesses need effective leadership.
  • Mental health issues extend beyond C-suite.  Through all tiers of organisations and among both working and furloughed employees, businesses are reporting a rise in mental health related in issues. In line with HSE guidelines, businesses need to conduct thorough stress risk assessments and a company stress management policy should be established.

Employment law

  • Employers need to consider reluctant returners who may have genuine concerns in relation to health and safety, childcare or having to take public transport to work. Business leaders must be mindful of equality issues at all times.
  • Changes necessary to ensure employees return to work in a safe manner are likely to be a deviation from the current terms and conditions in their employment contract. This will require goodwill and flexibility, maintaining good employer / employee relationships is key.
  • Look to the future and think about why you are returning to the workplace? Will there be the same roles? Will you need the same office space? What will be the role of technology and how agile will your workface be? How will this impact your employees?

For a further information about how Gallagher’s can support business to navigate the ‘new normal’, contact James Murray (James_Murray@ajg.com) or Sarah Murfin (Sarah_Murfin@ajg.com).