The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, clients and our communities are extremely important to us. This has been at the forefront of what we’ve done and what we will continue to do during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We moved swiftly in March 2020 to enable colleagues to work from home (WFH), including those who have not previously had WFH as an option such as our Contact Centre. We continue to ask most of our colleagues to WFH.
We’re proud that our colleagues are providing exceptional service to our clients while protecting themselves, their families and their communities.
Throughout the pandemic we have maintained some operational colleagues working from site to manage post, support with scanning and to maintain our buildings. We have operated a process where colleagues can gain access to our offices to carry out specific tasks if needed.
We remain extremely grateful to those colleagues for their continued support.
We’re now evolving, using our Covid-19 Risk Assessment, to enable a fixed number of colleagues to work in our offices through a site-based bubble. The number of colleagues per site will depend on the specifics of the building and no-one will be forced to work at an office should they feel uncomfortable in doing so or where they have personal circumstances, travel concerns, caring responsibilities or vulnerability concerns.
We know from surveys that most of our colleagues would like, in a post-Covid environment, to have flexibility between working from within an office, home and other locations. Working together we aim to be able to continuously improve our processes and continue to invest in technology to enhance flexibility in the future and empower our colleagues to be able to work remotely.
Here’s a summary of some of our activity
We’ve consulted with our colleagues to prepare a Covid-19 Risk Assessment which is published internally and will be reviewed regularly. We’re also developing additional Risk Assessments for essential face-to-face activity where telephone / video conferencing is not possible e.g. where a judge requires a physical court hearing.
We’ve put in place restrictions around who can access our office space. Bubbles of colleagues have been established to ensure that there is a limit to the number of people that each individual may come into contact with and the amount of people sharing communal areas such as toilets, lifts, tea points, printer hubs etc.
We’ve increased the amount of hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes available and introduced one-way systems where relevant. We’ve increased the amount of Covid-19 signage across our sites including reminders around social distancing, avoiding the sharing of equipment, avoiding all face to face interaction, frequent hand washing etc.
We’re also asking everyone at our offices to maintain at least two metres social distancing at all times.
Visitors To Our Offices
Although we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors in the future, at the moment we have limited access to our sites to our colleagues and some key contractors.
We’re supporting colleagues to work from home with more laptops and a display screen equipment checklist to support with home working equipment. We’ve also introduced a number of new tools and processes to support with digital working, expanded the use of digital storage and document sharing platforms and encouraged colleagues to share best practice.
Many of our colleagues are juggling a variety of personal situations including caring responsibilities and other vulnerabilities. We’ve encouraged all colleagues to work flexibly to support themselves, their families and their clients. We’re holding regular video Q+As to keep our colleagues informed and our intranet is a conduit for the sharing of best practice and information. There are also central contact details for Covid-19 queries with specialists in IT, Operations and HR on hand to support where appropriate.
We also appreciate that for a number of our colleagues an enforced period of home working, as well as limits on socialising and family interaction, may have an impact on their mental health. We’ve continued to provide support through our mental health first aiders, line managers, our People Team and our colleague wellbeing hub which is available from our intranet. We offer an employee assistance programme and a variety of other tools and support.
Client And Community Engagement
We’ve moved many of our usual engagement activities online including a series of virtual events for our clients and the wider community. We’ve developed a risk assessment setting out a series of controls to enable, where essential, some elements of social face-to-face engagement with clients and contacts but we are encouraging the use of virtual connections to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
We have set up guidance for clients who need to attend medical assessments to support their cases. We also continue to support a number of charities across the country as our Responsible Business programme is hugely important to us.
We have a fantastic network of diversity and inclusivity groups and activities within our business and have encouraged this activity to continue. The pandemic has also required us to support colleagues who need additional support such as those who were shielding due to Covid-19 guidance or those colleagues who had household members who were shielding.
We are extremely proud of how our colleagues have adapted and continue to provide excellent service to our clients.
We will continue to engage with our colleagues and clients to support them to work digitally and remotely where possible. We will also continue to enhance our digital offerings and do more to remove paper from processes to continue to support a flexible way of working in the future. We will continue to review our generic Covid-19 Risk Assessment on a regular basis and develop Risk Assessments for other specific activities.
If anyone wishes to discuss how Irwin Mitchell continues to react to Covid-19 please email our Operations Director Sarah Ball firstname.lastname@example.org.
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