Working Safely During Coronavirus (Part 2)
Whilst many businesses prepare to reopen for the first time since restrictions were introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, for DW Windsor it’s business as usual. As documented through our #MakeLifeWork blog series, DW Windsor has remained operational throughout COVID-19 thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff. And whilst the virus has presented new challenges, a core team of employees has been working tirelessly to ensure the company can operate safely, both from home and as we migrate back to the office, protecting our staff and minimising the impact on customers.
For the final instalments in our #MakeLifeWork series, we’re highlighting the extraordinary efforts of our staff, who have kept DW Windsor operating under the most challenging of circumstances. Told through a set of four interviews, the series discusses DW Windsor’s response to coronavirus, the impact it has had on the lighting industry and lessons we have learned from the experience.
Today we’re talking to Katerina as she discusses DW Windsor’s immediate response to coronavirus and the steps taken to create a safe working environment for staff and visitors.
(This is part two of a four-part series, you can read the first post here)
How did DW Windsor initially respond to coronavirus?
Early on we acknowledged the potential impact COVID-19 could have at DW Windsor, both in our offices and our manufacturing facilities. Due to the health risks posed by coronavirus, it was essential for the company to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of our employees.
The business responded quickly, enabling staff to work from home. Following this, a COVID Action Group was formed to ensure DW Windsor could adapt to the challenges we would face in the coming months. Consisting of staff from several departments, the team’s primary goal was to develop a plan that allowed employees to return to our offices when it was safe to do so.
Following government guidelines, the team conducted a full risk assessment to determine any potential hazards created by the virus. In response, new working practices were developed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, paving the way for a return to work.
Katerina Hrochova, ISO/Quality Coordinator
Katerina initially joined DW Windsor’s design department in 2016 as a Product Configurator Coordinator. For the past three years, she has worked as DW Windsor’s ISO/Quality Coordinator, overseeing all aspects of quality and ISO compliance.
Early on we acknowledged the potential impact coronavirus could have on DW Windsor. In response, a COVID Action Group was formed with the primary goal of creating a safe working environment for our staff.
What precautions were taken to enable staff to safely return to the office?
As well as creating a safe working environment for our colleagues, we wanted to ensure employees felt comfortable returning to the office. This was an important consideration when implementing new procedures.
To help maintain social distancing we implemented a phased return with staff divided into two teams working on separate days, alternating between the office and home. A revised seating plan was implemented to ensure employees were seated at least two metres apart and working back to back where possible. Screens were also installed between desks to help separate people from each other.
Signage was introduced as a visual reminder to support the new policy, and steps were taken to limit movement around the offices. In the toilets, an occupancy lighting system was installed to support the new ‘one at a time’ policy, and a booking system was introduced for the company canteen to avoid overcrowding.
In order to minimise transmission and to help staff feel comfortable when returning, we created sanitising packs which included rubbing alcohol and disinfectant wipes. Also, cleaning cycles were increased to ensure all surfaces were continually disinfected throughout the working day.
Finally, we created ‘Office Champions’ to help returning employees understand the new safety procedures introduced. Champions were available to discuss any concerns staff may have had and provide regular updates on further policy changes brought in.
Have any measures been put in place for visitors to the office?
Although lighting is a sociable industry where face-to-face meetings are commonplace, we have had to limit the number of visitors to our offices and factory to minimise any possible contamination. If visits do take place, to ensure the safety of our guests and staff, DW Windsor has invested in infrared forehead thermometers to enable temperature checks as a pre-emptive measure. A full safety run-through is also provided so a level of safety and precaution can be maintained.
The team continues to host weekly solution meetings to evaluate and diminish any possible risks to ensure our staff and their guests feel comfortable in our offices.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt during lockdown?
The main thing I have learnt during lockdown is to appreciate the time you spend with your friends and family as you might not know when you will next see them in person.