Now that the UK Government has removed all restrictions put in place for Covid-19, does that mean we should go back to normal? The old normal that is, how things were in 2019. The answer is: it depends. The responsibility for protecting ourselves, our families and our teams now falls to us individually.
Why we can’t go back to the old normal
Pre-Covid, many of us hauled ourselves into work even if we felt awful. We had various motivations: we felt indispensable, we didn’t want a sick day on our record, we figured that 50% productive was better than 0%, or we simply wanted to make sure we got paid. But now working remotely is a regular part of the new normal, this should mean many employees no longer bring in their germs to share with the entire office.
For workers whose job means they can’t work from home, or who don’t have the means or environment to work from home, working while sick will be less favourably tolerated and taking a sick day could mean having to wait four days for statutory sick pay to kick in when the Covid-19 provisions to the SSP regulations are lifted in April this year.
For small business owners in the UK, it’s now up to you to set the rules for your workplace. Here, we’ve set out how to revise your company’s Covid-19 rules, how to update your company policies and a timetable of the changes to Covid-19 guidance in the UK.
How to revise your company’s Covid-19 rules
To update your company’s policies, there are two steps to take:
Consultation – talk to your teams
During the pandemic, your employees have been working in different ways and experienced challenges such as living in isolation, being ill themselves or caring for or losing someone close. Your experience of 2020 and 2021 is just one experience – talk to your teams to gather lots of opinions and ideas about returning to the workplace vs working from home, how work and work friendships can help to maintain good mental health, and anything else they want to share about Covid-19.
Professional advice – look up guidance
Choose reliable sources such as:
The Government has updated the official coronavirus guidance at the gov.uk website. The guidance on the gov.uk website can be a minimum – for more detail about how to implement the guidance or what works for different employers, try the following two sources.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is an independent public organisation with plenty of guidance and suggestions for employers about how to work post-Covid at their website.
The Federation of Small Businesses has created the Recovery Ready hub with free resources and guides to help your company thrive post-Covid.
How to update your company policies
Rather than having separate Covid-19 rules for your company, you might decide to update the terms in your general company policies, for example to cover:
- working from home
- working while ill
- time off for vaccinations
- what to do if they test positive for Covid: notifying colleagues, working from home
Did you know you can create a Staff Handbook on SeedLegals? The Handbook covers more than 40 workplace issues to form your company policies. You fill in a questionnaire, then we use your answers to auto-generate your Staff Handbook.
If you’re not already a SeedLegals member, you can register and try us free for seven days. You’ll be able to create your Staff Handbook, employment contracts, NDAs and more in your free trial.
If you’ve already created your Staff Handbook on SeedLegals, it’s easy to update it. Log in, go to Policies and click the pencil icon to edit. Then make sure you share it with your teams.
Whenever you update company policies, you must re-circulate the document to all staff. Make sure they know what’s changed and where to access the document.