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Return to work, Frequently Asked Questions

By 24th August 2020Uncategorised

Q: Are there guidelines for entry and exit to washrooms, and will we be adopting a “one in one out approach”?
A: No – the washroom facilities are already marked with the correct spacing. Should the washroom be at capacity, then it is the responsibility of the colleague to queue and wait, while adhering to the social distancing rules.


Q: Will face masks be compulsory in enclosed areas?
A: No – the government have not advised the compulsory use of face masks in offices. It is at the individual office-based individual’s discretion as to whether to wear any PPE or face masks.


Q: What are the plans for cleaning kitchen and common areas and for encouraging social distancing in these areas?
A: There will be an ongoing hygiene clean regime which will focus on touch points and common areas. Colleagues are asked to eat at their own desk space, and it is the responsibility of the colleague to maintain a hygienically clean working area during the day. There will also be clean stations and it is the responsibility of all colleagues to maintain good hand hygiene practice when entering common areas (e.g. wash hands before using kettles etc).


Q: What does 50-60% capacity mean in number of people? How many desks will be available? Is this a count of the complete office or departments?
A: Each function or department will be running their team size in the office at no more than 50-60%. Each Head of Department or Managing Director will manage their respective team’s rotas. Any concerns should be flagged to your line manager.


Q: What structure and process will be put in to manage the staggered start and finish times?
A: The Heads of Department or Managing Directors will manage their respective team’s rotas. Each colleague will be advised of their expected working timeframe within their respective office. Any concerns or variations to your schedule, should be flagged to your line manager.


Q: Is the ‘three days a week’ in the office at a persons discretion?*
A: No it isn’t discretionary. Heads of Department and Managing Directors are to structure a plan for getting all office-based workers back to the office (with exceptions for those who have been shielding or have exceptional circumstances, who will discuss specific arrangements with their line manager).

*Colleagues based in a Scottish office, who prefer to remain working from home at this moment in time, can do so with the approval of their line manager. If a colleague is unable to complete their job from home, then they will be required to work from an office location.

Q: If all Heads of Department and other senior team members (like team leaders) are in the office 5 days a week does this not present a problem should there be a confirmed case of Covid-19 in an office. Would they all not automatically need to self-isolate?
A: No, if there is a confirmed case in the office it should only affect those who have had “close contact” (as defined by the government) with the confirmed case. If we practice social distancing and good hygiene then the risk will be minimised as there should be very few people who have “close contact” with other people. We have an internal process to identify and notify relevant colleagues in the event of a confirmed case, and all colleagues are encouraged to follow any instruction given via the NHS’ test and trace service.


Q: Are colleagues allowed to book meeting rooms in the offices?
A: Meeting rooms are available to book for 50% of usual room occupancy, however we are still encouraging virtual meetings in place of physical meetings where possible. We are also not allowing people to visit our offices for meetings who are not usually based at that office (other than by exception).


Q: Are site-based employees allowed into the offices to attend training sessions?
A: No, unless there is an urgent or critical need in which case that needs to be discussed with a Managing Director or Board Director. Atalian Servest’s preference is for Virtual training sessions and/or meetings to be held instead utilising Microsoft Teams.


Q: Will there be guidance on how many people are allowed in each meeting room?
A: Yes, reception have the information and there are signs outside meeting rooms to advise of the maximum number of people. Generally each meeting room is restricted to 50% of the normal capacity.


Q: How will distancing be maintained in ‘tight’ areas such as the print rooms?
A: A colleague is expected to observe the respective area before entering and ensure their usage or navigation adheres to the office social distancing rules. Should you need to get access to a specific area, please communicate with your colleague before passing.


Q: Will there be distance measures in Smoking areas?
A: The message to everyone entering any of our office locations, including carparks and any outdoor space, is that social distancing must be observed.


Q: How will hot-desking work?
A: If a colleague has not been informed by their line manager that they have a desk to work from on a given day, then that colleague will need to obtain prior approval from a Head of Department, Managing Director or Board member before arriving at the office to ensure there is safe space to work from.


Q: Will there be receptionists back behind reception to assist with problems with the access gate (people forgetting cards, new starters without cards etc)?
A: Receptionists will be active from the 1st of September.


Q: How will working partly from the office and partly from home be facilitated in terms of IT equipment?
A: Office equipment that was taken home at the start of lockdown will need to be returned to the relevant office by 1 September to the unless alternative arrangements have been agreed with the appropriate Head of Department. Wherever possible, colleagues are asked to utilise their portable laptops for the shorter period of working from home.


Q: Will there be signage to remind colleagues to clean up after themselves after meetings and using the kitchen, and sanitising spray or wipes to help with this?
A: There will be cleaning stations throughout the respective offices. All colleagues have a duty to maintain and upkeep the hygiene throughout their work spaces. Signage is displayed throughout the offices.


Q: There is no obvious reception at the Nottingham office which sometimes leads to visitors wandering into the office. How will office capacity be managed at the entrance of the Nottingham office?
A: There will be a rota in place for office users. Any visitors to an office will need prior authorisation from a HoD, MD or Board member. The access control function on the properties will negate access from unauthorised visitors.


Q: What happens if social distancing and safety measures are ignored in an office environment. How is this going to be enforced from 1 September?
A: Any lack of adherence to social distancing measures or rules can be met with disciplinary action. Colleagues are encouraged to point out the guidance to colleagues who may have misread, misinterpreted or ignored the rules. Colleagues are also able to flag any concerns to their line manager.

Each office also has a nominated individual to flag concerns to who will oversee any issues and report back to the Board. Those individuals are as follows:

Edinburgh – Alistair McCourt
Nottingham – Michelle Balaidi and Martyn Stockwin
Hatfield – Anni Lowery
Vicon House – Laura Ryan and Sean Fisher
Docklands – Derek Harrington
Leeds – Andy Campbell
Glasgow – Gordon Mcleod and William Heaney
Stockport – Dave Prendergast


Q: Can kitchens be used, including fridges / microwaves etc?
A: Yes. Please wash hands thoroughly before and after use.


Q: Will desks along main walkways be taken out of action?
A: Certain desks have been taken out of action to enable social distancing. This is being managed by Heads of Department and Managing Directors (as appropriate).


Q: Will there be cleaning products around the office to use (like anti-bac wipes)?
A: Yes. cleaning products will be available for colleagues to utilise.


Q: For ventilation will windows have to be open?
A: Not necessarily, this will be on a case by case basis. Some windows are fixed, and this will also be weather dependent.



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