Latest News

Greater flexibility built into Job Retention Scheme

01 June 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday 29 May, changes to the Job Retention Scheme (commonly known as the Furlough Scheme). Read More...

Electrical safety guidance – England

01 June 2020

The UK Government has today, 1 June 2020, released guidance on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. Read More...

NHS announce stay at home measures on the back of new test and trace service

29 May 2020

With effect from 28 May 2020, individuals who have been notified that they have had contact with an infected person and instructed to stay at home for 14 days under the new NHS test and trace system will also be deemed incapable of work and eligible for SSP (statutory sick pay). Read More...

Tenant Fees Act 2019 – Transition period comes to an end

29 May 2020

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 provided for a 12-month transition period for tenancies which started before June 2019 and ends on 31 May 2020, meaning any tenancy clauses in existing contracts that charge fees will become unenforceable after this date. Read More...

Post Pandemic Plan: Preparing your office

Wednesday 06 May 2020

The timescales are uncertain but, at some point soon, offices and businesses will be allowed to reopen, and people will go back to work. Getting your office prepared is something you can work towards now, whilst still in lockdown.

It’s becoming clear that social distancing rules will need to stay in force for some time, even after people are allowed to return to life outside their home. Current office setups may not provide the social distance that is required, particularly given that most offices are open plan. This is even more true in customer-facing businesses such as property agencies.

Risk assess now

A detailed risk management approach will help to safeguard employees and customers. It is essential to base any plans for returning to the work on up to date Government public health guidance in relation to COVID-19.

Prepare your office

There are concepts like the ‘six feet office’ where office design enforces social distancing through desk space, technology, and work systems, which are starting to take shape. Look at the floor plan of your premises, and see where you could add space, lights, ventilation, or screening.

Your office will have likely been empty for several weeks and, therefore, will require a good deep clean regardless of whether this is due to Coronavirus or just abandonment. Cleaning should be done before the staff return and should cover all areas of the premises. Make sure you have ample cleaning products and make these readily available on each desk, and to visitors. Clean all high touch points regularly. 

Some practical steps agencies can take now are:  

  • Space desks and change the office layout so desks do not face each other but are side by side. 
  • Communal spaces like break rooms - small spaces may need a ‘one in one out’ approach, better ventilation, or closing altogether.
  • Implement two-metre distance markers where clients may gather to wait.
  • Install Perspex screens on customer-facing desks. 
  • Implement a clear desk policy and e-filing for both hygiene reasons and business continuityProvide hand sanitiser for your staff and customers. 
  • Leave internal doors (not fire doors) propped open, and clean high-touch areas regularly.
  • Use two-metre distancing markers in public areas of the branch – markers like stickers or posters may be better than barriers that are imposing and will require continual cleaning. 
  • Consider locking the door of your branch and allowing people in small groups with signage to communicate this with the public. 
  • Tell your customers what you’re doing to protect them - visual elements like distance markers, screens, and hand sanitiser will be obvious, but information on how the business is handling cleaning, appointments, and meetings will reassure clients that you’re doing everything you can to keep them and your staff safe.

Reduced staff in the office

Consider if employees can work remotely cutting down the number of people in the office to keep the safe distancing rules. If you have employees who are amenable to working from home, it may be possible to split your workforce into home and office working, alternating days.

PROPERTYMARK RESOURCES

To support agents' preparations to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown to maximise market potential, Propertymark has written a series of articles designed to add value and underpin your business. Our webinars also provide helpful tips on marketing, view details of our recorded and upcoming webinars.

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