The Law Society has produced an action plan to help legal firms to prepare for a return to the workplace as COVID-19 restrictions begin to be gradually lifted.
In a bulletin, President Michele O’Boyle said planning, adapting and activating was key to assuring a safe return to work.
She said it was up to individual firms to decide which of the five phases of reopening issued by the Government were relevant to them and their staff “based on the nature of work they do, how they do it, and the logistics of the workplace they operate within”.
The President pointed, however, to a critical proviso within the roadmap for reopening. “Right across the first four phases, up until 10 August 2020, employers are instructed to continue remote working for all employees that can do so,” she said.
Legal firms – like all businesses – are being advised to develop plans for a return to onsite work by employees, taking COVID-19 risks into consideration.
The action plan, produced by the Society’s Support Services team, provides a framework for doing this.
Among its key recommendations are that firms should conduct a risk assessment, in consultation with staff. The document also stresses the importance of internal communication,
Firms are urged to look at what is the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively, but also to help those working remotely to stay connected with the rest of the workforce.
The action plan also includes advice on improving social distancing measures, including the reorganisation of workplaces and workstations, how to accommodate clients and contractors, and changes to how meetings are conducted.