FRG elected to shut both of its UK offices in mid-March 2020 to protect its employees’ health and safety, as uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic grew. In short order, the coronavirus became confirmed as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Driven by concern for its employees’ health and safety, FRG’s UK offices remained shut until 27th July 2020. During this nearly five-month period, FRG has expended considerable time and money transforming its workforce from office-based to teleworking. Also, during this same period, the UK has seen the coronavirus cases and deaths gradually increase, before appearing to turn the corner and decrease steadily over the last couple of months and then plateau.
FRG has followed the UK government advice during the entirety of the pandemic. Over the past several weeks and months, the UK government has steadily loosened the restrictions and advice regarding non-essential businesses reopening. In early July, FRG conducted an anonymous employee survey to gauge employee need to return to the office. Through this survey, FRG learned that some employees want to return to the offices full time, some would like to split their workweek between the office and home and still others want to continue to telework full time for the foreseeable future.
FRG is happy to accommodate this entire spectrum of employee choice. From its nearly 15 years in business in the UK, FRG knows that it is critical to train and closely manage its newly hired employees so that they can contribute value to the business and increase their own chances of success at FRG. FRG cannot meaningfully conduct this training and management over video calls and email – the training and management must be face to face. It is for these reasons that FRG has decided to open its UK offices with social distancing and at reduced capacities to newly hired employees and those who want to return to the offices. As you can see from the risk assessment below, FRG has made significant efforts to open its offices in compliance with all health and safety requirements and with the goal of providing a safe work environment for all of its UK employees.
FRG takes the safety and wellbeing of its staff, candidates, clients and the third parties working with us very seriously. In line with government requirements, we have completed a comprehensive risk assessment for the Group’s UK operations. FRG is closely following the guidance issued by the Government, the devolved governments in the UK, the Public Health scientific advisors and the World Health Organisation.
FRG has completed comprehensive risk assessments of both of its UK office environments (London and Newcastle) and has identified a range of controls to manage the risk of Covid-19 cross-contamination and transmission.
Where the risk of Covid-19 cannot be controlled to an acceptable level we have suspended these activities. As part of the risk assessment process, a number of in-house and landlord generated Covid-19 documentation has been included.
The following areas have been risk assessed:
As a result of the risk assessments, FRG has implemented (where reasonably practicable) a range of controls which include:
The risk assessments and operational position are reviewed and updated daily by a multi-disciplinary team of managers which includes the Global Head of Property and
Facilities to ensure controls are still relevant and being implemented. The output from the assessment is shared with our management team. Employees will be informed of any changes and updates to guidance as and when the guidance from the UK Government changes.