After months of uncertainty which has seen many businesses forced to close their doors, recent government guidelines have begun to pave the road out of lockdown with advice for how businesses can get their workplaces back up and running.
One of the biggest challenges facing business across the country is how this can be done safely, in a way that protects the health and wellbeing of both employees and the public.
At the same time, the impact of lockdown on many businesses means that getting back to work may not be straightforward. “Many organisations will start their journey out of lockdown in very different places,” explains Orbis CEO, Guy Other. “Businesses will need to think and act differently”. It is likely that insolvency levels will rise, which in turn raises questions around how best to secure and protect vacant property and assets.
Addressing safety and compliance when getting back to business is therefore a multi-faceted issue. To help get to grips with this, Orbis hosted an exclusive ‘Back to Business’ webinar to share the latest thinking around security and compliance. Drawing upon our 40 years of expertise in the security & property protection industry, as well as the specialist perspectives of our valued contributors, Guy Other led us in a discussion that considered the implications of moving out of lockdown on the safety of both people and property.
We were joined by Mike Reddington, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association, who shared the BSIA perspective on returning to work and suggested actions that ought to be taken to ensure businesses can reopen safely.
First and foremost, when considering the return to work, Mike encourages businesses to ask – “can [our teams] continue to work remotely?” Taking a blended approach between those returning to the workplace and those continuing to work from home could help employers strike a safe balance to help businesses to mitigate risk.
Also crucial is staying organised. “It is critically important,” Mike emphasises, “that we stay abreast of government advice; organisation is key when considering returning to work.” Ensure your employees are educated about the latest government guidelines, and how you plan to enforce these in your own business, for example regarding social distancing measures and heightened hygiene procedures.
Risk assessments will also form a critical part of a safe return to work. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Risk assessments “need to be applicable to each individual building and business” if they are to work effectively, Mike advises. There are templates available here (BSIA website) to help you get started.
After considering how businesses can adequately protect their people, the discussion moved to consider another key aspect of security and compliance: how best to protect property and assets. Andy Grieve, Senior Risk Consultant at Aviva, was on hand to share some key insights.
“The current economic conditions means that there will unfortunately be some businesses that do not emerge from lockdown,” Andy explained. “This will inevitably lead to an increase in vacant properties.”
Securing vacant sites has been an important topic for insurers for many years; in light of recent circumstances, this is more prominent than ever. For those organisations assuming responsibility for properties that have become vacant, it is critical to assess the hazards presented by such premises and consider the appropriate measures we can implement to reduce the potential for loss or damage.
The session provided the opportunity to consider specific insured perils in detail, from fire to theft. Andy shared some crucial insights and advice about mitigating these risks and remaining compliant to insurance requirements. Looking at a range of practical measures – from recommended methods to physically secure a site, to the benefits of deploying monitored CCTV systems – we were able to enrich our knowledge of what insurers will be looking for as businesses reopen.
The expertise shared during this session will undoubtedly be useful as we move forwards, for both businesses who are considering how best to safely reopen their workplaces and for those responsible for managing properties that have become vacant. We hope that all who attended the session will be able to put the advice shared by our expert panelists into practice.
If you would like to watch a replay of the webinar, click the link below: