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

Written on 27 July 2020

At Osborne Clarke, the health and safety of our employees 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-safe environment where the wellbeing of our employees and visitors has been fully considered.

As the lockdown eases, we’re looking forward to continuing to support our culture and help our people to collaborate through an increase in office-based working.

In order to keep sufficient distancing we’re limiting the number of employees who can come to our offices. We’ve adopted a staged approach and are working carefully through that with our people to slowly and gradually move to a hybrid model of home and office working in the short-to-medium 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 risk assessment certificate here (updated: November 2020).

Office capacity: We’ve reduced the number of people allowed into our offices at any one time, 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 on our intranet so that our employees 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-safe
  • 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 across our offices 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: We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to our offices and have put together a comprehensive guidance sheet for anybody who is invited to attend a meeting

Remote working: We’ve provided our employees with the equipment and support they need in order to work from home during the lockdown. 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 employees’ mental health. We’ve put in place a range of resources and initiatives to help our people cope with this unusual situation including guidance, access to a counselling service, discussion groups, an idea-sharing intranet site and shared virtual activities.

Diversity: Coronavirus and the lockdown 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 employees who need it.

Our communities: In more normal times we put a lot of effort into supporting our 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 and making a substantial one-off donation to FareShare South West to help get food to those who need it most.

Listening: Last but not least, we are constantly gathering feedback on and monitoring our Covid-safe measures to ensure that they are effective and that our employees feel informed and confident about coming to the office. In particular, we conducted a firm-wide survey to gather feedback on working during lockdown and views about the future of office-based working.

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