Coronavirus: 7 Things UK Employers Can and Should Do Right Now

The current coronavirus pandemic is causing a myriad of concerns for UK businesses and the people in charge of running those businesses. While many employers will have to deal with the market fluctuations and pressing financial concerns, the most important duty of all employers right now is to protect your employees. 

Managers in the workplace are used to relying on organised processes and control measures. Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak has thrown a wrench in a lot of that.  Characterised by countless unknowns, people are succumbing to panic and fear. 

The lack of control is palpable in every aspect of society at the moment, including the workplace. But, there are things you can control and actions you can and should take to protect your staff, which is ultimately your number one job. 

There will be a number of things organisations will need to worry about moving forward, but these are 7 things employers should take care of right now.

1 - Emergency Contact Info

With reports that in the worst-case scenario, up to 80% of the population could be infected in the coming months, it’s critical that all emergency contact information is updated. In the event that one of your employees becomes infected with the virus, you’ll want to notify their designated contacts right away. 

It’s also entirely possible that some employees will start working remotely or self-isolating because of the virus. Up-to-date information will ensure that all employees can be reached one way or another, in order to be notified of any major work policy changes or alerts. 

2 - Encourage & Reinforce Proper Hygiene

Do not take for granted that everyone is aware of the recommended hygiene measures. Even if they are today, in the coming months it’s possible that some employees may fall back into a more relaxed hygiene routine. 

Placement of reminders in workplace bathrooms, kitchens and other communal areas is a simple way to keep these habits on the front of everyone’s mind. 

  • Make sure all handwashing resources are fully stocked and in working order at all times (soap dispensers, paper towels, hand driers). 
  • Provide and place hand sanitizers in communal areas around the office and keep them stocked as well. 
  • Download NHS ‘Hand Cleaning Techniques’ posters and place them in workplace bathrooms and kitchen areas. 
  • Remind employees of the proper etiquette for catching coughs and sneezes and disposal of contaminated tissues. Download these ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ posters from the NHS and place them in visible areas of your workplace. 
  • Make your own posters reminding staff to avoid touching their face with unwashed hands. 
  • You may also need to be aware of the increased risk of dermatitis from extra handwashing and use of hand sanitisers. Make sure everyone is aware of this and look to provide moisturisers to help with this too. 

3 - Office Cleaning

Look into getting your office deep cleaned, if you can. 

Communicate with cleaning staff to ensure regular cleaning is being conducted thoroughly, emphasizing the disinfecting of all surface areas and door handles, handrails, buttons, etc. 

Increase the frequency of office cleaning. 

4 - Know the Symptoms

Cough, difficulty breathing, high temperature.

Managers should know how to spot symptoms and what actions to take in the event that an employee has symptoms of COVID-19.  

5 - Government Guidelines

Employees should all be aware of the basic COVID-19 guidelines in place by the government and the NHS regarding self-isolation. 

The main points of the advice:

  • Stay at home and practice self-isolation if you exhibit any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Don’t call your GP, pharmacy or hospital. 
  • Only call 111 if your condition gets worse, symptoms do not get better after 7 days or you feel you can’t cope with your symptoms at home. 

6 - Be Flexible

At the moment, the government is not requiring companies to close their offices. However, with the prospect of more and more people needing to stay at home in self-isolation, it’s a good idea to adapt your business to home working. 


Employees will need the necessary devices, software and a solid internet connection in order to be productive from home. 

Helpful Tools

Video conferencing

Zoom is a great tool for virtual meetings. It works for big teams and small ones alike. While COVID-19 remains a threat, in-person meetings should be kept to a minimum. 

Project management

Basecamp is very popular for home working teams. It supports everything you need for collaborative work, such as task management, file sharing, scheduling and reporting. It can run you $99/month, but it’s considered one of the best project management tools around for teams of 10 or more employees. 

Trello is a simple list-making app that helps your team keep track of projects and tasks by sharing the same ‘bulletin’ board. It’s much cheaper than other tools, but its point of pride is letting you visualise your collaborative projects and to-do lists. This will help keep everyone on the same page while they work remotely. 

Real-time communication

Slack is a favourite for remote teams to communicate freely and in real-time. Research shows that employees spend hours each day dealing with their inbox. Slack’s messaging format is geared more towards social media messaging, where a back and forth dialogue can take place quickly and efficiently. Unlike email, Slack allows for productive and quick communication.  

Remote access

LogMeIn Remote Access gives employees secure access to work computers remotely. It’s a reliable and easy way to ensure the wheels keep turning without compromising your work network.

Health & Safety at Home

Employers have a duty of care for all of their employees, including those at home. That means you need to carry out a risk assessment (we can help you with this) to verify that your employee’s home workspace is safe and well equipped for them to carry out their tasks. 

Employees should also be educated on healthy workplace practices, such as good posture and display screen equipment regulations. 

If you or your employees need a training refresher, our suite of e-learning courses can help you conduct business from home safely. 

Constant Contact

As an employer, it’s your job to make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible in their new work environment (home). In an office environment, open communication is very important. Employees need to feel heard and be able to come to you with questions or concerns. 

This will be harder to do remotely, but it’s your duty to get it done. Homeworkers should still feel like your door is always open to them. 

7 - Communication

Every day the government is coming out with new updates. As the situation continues to change, so will the policies and advice. 

This lack of certainty is bound to make people uneasy. 

The best way for you to quell their worries is to practice constant communication and give regular updates on any changes to government advice or corporate advice.

Still feel unprepared? 

That’s natural. These are unchartered waters. 

And, as you’ve probably noticed, ‘business as usual’ just isn’t possible at the moment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive…

Take full advantage of this downtime. Train your staff and prepare for future growth with compliant safety systems. 

And here's the good news...

You can get that all done at home with our new remote training solutions. Get the same quality instruction and support from our in-person training team, but get it remotely.

Get in touch with us today and we’d be glad to help you!