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Risk assessment: Tackling the impact of Covid-19 on our employees, our clients, our communities


Written on 27 April 2021

First published on 27 July 2020

At Osborne Clarke, the health and safety of our people and clients is hugely important to us. That’s been particularly true during the Coronavirus pandemic, and this page is designed to reassure you that we are doing our utmost to help and support our colleagues and contacts. If you know our firm, you’ll know that we have a people-first culture; so as well as meeting the Government’s requirements for offices and contact centres, we’ve also consulted widely with our people. The result is a Covid-secure environment where the wellbeing and safety of our people and visitors has been fully considered.

In order to keep sufficient distancing we’re limiting the number of people who can come to our offices. We’ve adopted a staged approach, responding to the changes in Government guidance, and have carefully worked through that with our people to move to a hybrid model of home and office working in the short-to-medium term. We are looking forward to more normal office-based working in the longer term.

For everybody’s safety and in line with Government guidance, we have taken a wide range of actions, some of which are set out below.

Risk assessment: We have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment, and shared the results with our people. You can view our Covid-secure certificate here (updated: April 2021).

Office capacity: We’ve reduced the number of people allowed into our offices at any one time (and on a controlled basis), to enable social distancing. We’ve also reconfigured our offices to provide safe access to desks and other facilities.

Guidance:

We’ve published a wide range of guidance, advice and information internally so that our people know:

  • What they need to do before coming to the office, including checking their health
  • What to expect when they arrive at the office
  • What has been done to make our offices Covid-secure
  • What to do if someone becomes unwell in the office
  • How to advise any visitors coming to the office, and how to look after them while on the premises

Social distancing: Our offices have clear signage to ensure two-metre social distancing and we’ve introduced one-way systems where necessary. In addition, we’ve reduced the capacity of lifts and meeting rooms, as well as in our working areas, kitchens and toilets.

Hygiene: We’ve placed hand sanitiser stations throughout our offices along with anti-viral wipes and introduced enhanced cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures.

Visitors: Visitor numbers are limited. We have a Covid-secure system in place and have a comprehensive guidance sheet for anybody who comes to our offices.

Remote working: We’ve provided all our people with the equipment and support they need in order to work from home. That includes providing additional equipment and home desk assessments where required.

Mental health: We’re concerned about the impact that the lockdown and long-term remote working may have on our people’s mental health. We’ve put in place a range of resources and initiatives to help everyone cope with this unusual situation including guidance, access to a counselling service, discussion groups, online wellbeing and fitness, an idea-sharing intranet site and shared virtual events and initiatives.

Diversity: Coronavirus, lockdown and restrictions on movement have had a disproportionately negative impact on a number of communities, including those from a BAME background, the LGBT+ community and people with a disability. Through our diversity networks we are doing our best to give targeted support to those people who need it.

Our communities: In more normal times we put a lot of effort into supporting our local communities through a wide range of activities. We recognise that at the moment, our communities need even more support than usual, so we’ve taken a number of actions, including doubling the amount of paid time our people can use for volunteering, making a substantial one-off donation to FareShare South West to help get food to those who need it most and supporting local groups (Fareshare South West, St Mungo’s and Launchpad) through fundraising activities.

Listening: Last but not least, we are constantly gathering feedback on and monitoring our Covid-secure measures to ensure that they are effective and that our people feel informed and confident about coming to the office. In particular, early on in the pandemic we conducted a firm-wide survey to gather feedback on working during lockdown and views about the future of office-based working. Regular Pulse surveys are now being undertaken to keep in touch with our people,  to understand what’s important to them and to act upon that. And the results allow us to implement relevant changes where we can.

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