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Reduce contact points in the workplace with touch free drinking water solutions from Zip Water

By Zip Water

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in incomprehensible ways. What is clear is as we emerge from lockdown there will be a need to incorporate touch-free technology to meet the vital health and hygiene requirements that the UK government has implemented, to ensure a safe return to the workplace.

With the average person touching their face more than 20 times an hour, it’s possible to transfer viruses from everyday objects, such as handles and taps, to the mouth and eyes, and vice versa. At Zip Water we have a number of new touch-free drinking water solutions for the workplace. Whether you already have a system fitted and are looking for a contactless retrofit solution or want a brand-new product that will enable staff and visitors’ hands-free access to drinking water, at Zip we have it all!

The brand-new Zip HydroTap Touch Free Wave offers a 100 percent contactless solution for filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling drinking water. To dispense water, a user simply hovers their hand 1.5-5cm from the smart infrared sensor and the water flow will stop immediately once their hand has moved away, if the tap is touched or grabbed it will deactivate.

For areas that require larger volumes of filtered chilled and ambient water, the innovative new floor-standing HydroChill HC03 touch-free dispenser is the perfect solution. Easy to install in areas away from the kitchen – such as staff rooms and corridors – this dispenser also features a nano silver surface coating that works to kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria across a 24-hour period.

If you already have a Zip HydroBoil or EconoBoil system fitted in your workplace, our simple to install touch-free adaptor allows for the dispensing of boiling water without needing to touch the handle. The adaptor can be quickly and easily fitted over the existing HydroBoil or EconoBoil handle to enable users to dispense boiling water by pushing back on it with a cup.

To find out more about any of our products, please click here.

Do your employees feel safe at your premises?

By Fireco

The impact of the virus on society

Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists from all over the world have been researching the symptoms, transmission and prevention methods to help us better understand the virus.

In the meantime, we have all been following the ‘Hands, Face, Space campaign promoted by the Government in order to help keep everyone safe. With the belief that the best way to reduce the spread of the virus is to keep your hands clean and sanitised, wear a face mask in public and maintain a safe distance between yourself and others.

This year, we have gained a much higher awareness of the things we touch, whether it’s a shopping trolley, money or a door handle. We have also learned to risk assess our everyday surroundings, and social distancing and wearing a mask has become a habit for many.

However, day-to-day life has and will continue to be impacted by the virus. Returning to work, mixing with crowds or even seeing friends can seem daunting for those who have spent most of the year isolating. This raises the question – are employers and other establishments doing enough to support their employees and customers?

Are employers doing enough to keep the work environment safe?

To help you make your business a safe environment for employees, The Governments Health & Safety Executive (HSE) devised a Coronavirus Risk Assessment which identifies potential safety problems arising due to the pandemic and how they can be overcome.

One point included is “Mental health and wellbeing affected through isolation or anxiety about coronavirus”. Being isolated from lockdown and social distancing can heighten feelings of anxiety about going back to ‘normal’. Walking into a building after a few weeks or months and seeing nothing has changed can be very daunting for employees.

Before the first national lockdown ended, a study carried out by CIPD on 1000 working adults revealed that 44% of them were anxious about returning to work due to the potential risk of catching the virus.

Since then, a study carried out by Slater and Gordon, employment law specialists, uncovered that 46% of key workers have whistle blown on their employers for unsafe practices during the pandemic. With concerns ranging from lack of PPE, no social distancing measures in place or people being forced to return to work even if they are classed as vulnerable.

With the news that local councils will have the power to close businesses if they are not COVID-secure, it is vital to ensure your employees feel safe at work. These powers include an order for immediate action to be taken, closures for up to a week and fines if no action is taken.

What measures can be put in place to make a COVID-secure environment?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Fireco has been helping many businesses stay safe, reduce cross-contamination and improve hygiene with our simple germ control solutions.

Our Germgard Smart Sanitising Station is a portable hygiene stand that encourages the use of hand sanitiser to all building users. It uses an infrared sensor and digital signage to capture the attention of the passer-by and ask them to sanitise their hands, which in turn will reduce cross-contamination on surfaces.

The digital signage is customisable and can be used as a building management tool, for example, you can advise staff to use your one-way system or to take their temperature when signing in.

The Germgard station is a portable device, so you can move it to the location that best suits your building, all it needs is a plug socket nearby.

Germgard helps you provide visual evidence that your company is taking adequate measures to keep your premises COVID-secure and will reassure your employees that they are safe in their work environment.

For more information about Germgard or other ways we can help with your COVID-secure strategy, visit our website www.fireco.uk or call us on 01273 320650.

 

Cloud AV to accelerate ROI and improve virtual meetings in the WFH era

The COVID-19 Pandemic, along with extreme weather conditions, civil unrest and other disruptive events are shaping how businesses operate and how people work on a global scale.

Employees need to be engaged and productive, from an office, meeting room, at home or out on the road, with connectivity between all employees throughout an organisation essential for future business gains.

Now, research carried out by industry analysts Frost & Sullivan for a new White Paper: ‘7 Steps To Improve Meetings In The New Era Of Work’, addresses the key factors for successful collaboration, including:

  • Prioritise Cloud Conferencing Service Adaption
  • Upgrade Meeting Room Technology for the New Era of Work
  • Improve Collaboration with Audio for All
  • Instil Confidence and Boost Productivity with Seamless Audio
  • Drive Meeting Room Effectiveness with Best-In-Class Audio
  • Adopt an Ecosystem Approach
  • Focus on Ownership, Experience, Standardisation and Interoperability

The report, augmented by global market leading audio manufacturer Shure’s ‘Future of Conferencing’ survey, reveals how IT and business leaders are future-proofing organisations, with technologies being replaced due to various factors within individual businesses:

  • Quality and reliability – 35%
  • Security concerns – 34%
  • Limited interoperability with 3rd party solutions – 26%
  • Lack of the latest features and capabilities – 25%

The world has shifted to flexible, cloud-based deployment and consumption models with richer functionality, with a broad range of communication applications to choose from.

However, without the foundation of any meeting, audio, no meeting can actually take place:

  • 95% of meeting rooms have minimal technology
  • 83% of professionals depend on technology to conduct meetings and collaborate.
  • 87% of professionals are frustrated and stressed due to technology failures in meeting rooms.

Expected proliferation of distributed work is among the top factors causing organisations to re-think their meeting rooms, with 82% of managers expecting flexible work from him polices post-pandemic.

Top Drivers for Technology Investments:

  • Improve teamwork – 35%
  • Improve information management – 32%
  • Improve customer experience – 31%
  • Improve operational cost – 29%
  • Improve marketing effectiveness – 29%
  • Boost creativity and innovation – 28%
  • Accelerate decision making – 26%

“Once offices reopen, health and well-being regulations will require employees to have minimal contact with shared surfaces. Therefore, there will be a great demand for touch-less conferencing,” explained Robert Arnold, Principal Analyst, Connected Work, Frost & Sullivan. “As enterprises build a robust conferencing ecosystem, the adoption of A/V technologies that aid simple deployment, intuitive operation, and seamless compatibility with leading collaboration platforms will experience significant growth.”

Jim Schanz, Vice President, Global Integrated Systems Sales at Shure, said, “To optimize audio performance in rooms connected to any conferencing service as well as to streamline room audio management, organizations must emphasize standardization of certified audio devices. As no meeting can be effective without quality audio, investing in a scalable infrastructure can position businesses of any size for greater success as they battle evolving market factors.”

Click here to read the full report.

Creating COVID-safe and secure workplaces for your employees

By Oliver Morrison, CEO, Filter Digital

Now more than ever, employers are having to reassess their health and safety guidance for staff to ensure a safe and secure workplace for their employees. But how do you check your employees are well and reporting no symptoms of infectious diseases before they arrive for work?

Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe whilst at work. Many of us are used to conforming to company policy on wearing appropriate uniform and footwear, keeping walkways and access routes clear and following health and safety guidance whilst working on-site.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, it is now more than ever that employers are having to reassess their health and safety guidance for staff to ensure a safe and secure workplace for their employees.

Employers across all sectors and industries are introducing several new measures to protect their staff and to minimise risk. New office layouts, protective screens, floor graphics, one-way walkways, hand sanitising and the introduction of new Personal Protective Equipment have become commonplace.

Whilst employers can control, to an extent, what safety measures they introduce and how they implement them, empowering employees to follow them correctly and safely is paramount. Clear communication across a business is crucial to ensure everyone on-site is following the health and safety guidelines and rules.

With the spread of infectious diseases at the forefront of the implementation of enhanced measures within the workplace, there is a real need to ensure that employees are symptom-free before they enter a place of work. Whilst employers are doing all they can to ensure staff are safe at work, until now, there has been no mechanism to check staff are safe to come into work.

Safety at the workplace is paramount, and simple additional measures before reaching the workplace, such as regular communication, wellness checks, symptom reporting, records of travel or of interaction with people that have contracted COVID-19, are integral to overall safeguarding.

We’ve also collated some simple questions that can be used to regularly to check-in on employee wellbeing, to support effective and safe working.

Workspace

  • Are you comfortable in your physical workplace?
  • Do you have all of the equipment/supplies that you need to complete your work?
  • Is your working environment causing you any stress?
  • Is working from home negatively affecting your productivity?

Satisfaction

  • Are you receiving the right amount of communication?
  • Are you happy with the amount of recognition you receive for your work?
  • Do you feel recognition is meaningful when you receive it?
  • Are you feeling useful at work?
  • Do you ever feel anxious at work?

Team

  • Do you feel you can share your thoughts with your manager?
  • Do you feel you are positively encouraged to give your opinion?
  • Can you count on your colleagues when you need help?
  • Do you feel your colleagues collaborate well?

Health

  • Are you satisfied with your physical health?
  • Are you following a regular exercise or training regime?
  • Do you try to eat a healthy diet?
  • Do you feel healthy?
  • Would you be interested in having access to mental health resources at work? (such as meditation sessions, mindfulness classes etc.)

About The Author

Oliver Morrison is CEO at Filter Digital, developer of the The Safe For Work app, which provides a quick and easy way to check employees are well and reporting no symptoms of infectious diseases.

Construction industry urged to apply COVID learnings to ‘new normal’

Balfour Beatty, GKR Scaffolding, Kier, Mace, Morgan Sindall and Skanska have published an independent industry research report into COVID-19, that stresses the importance of carrying pandemic learnings in construction beyond the crisis.

The independent report, “COVID-19 and construction: Early lessons for a new normal?”, based on research conducted by Loughborough University experts into six UK major construction schemes, explores the industry’s health and safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential medium to long-term benefits arising from extending and embedding these new working practices.

The report demonstrates how the changes made during the pandemic reflect a phenomenal effort by site staff, frontline workers and occupational health and safety professionals to adapt safely and efficiently to the rapidly evolving situation.

The research identified that, despite overall site productivity being negatively impacted due to social distancing requirements, individual and team effectiveness and productivity had increased for a number of reasons including better and more detailed task planning, reduced waiting time between tasks, increased space and therefore less “overlap” of trades, a boost in the use of technological solutions, more responsibility for individuals and less meetings.

The research also explored the effects of working from home and found that, notwithstanding the cost, flexibility and productivity benefits, making this a permanent solution could have a negative impact on employees with a rise in social isolation and uncertainty of expectations.

Whilst new approaches have been adopted in response to COVID-19, the report presents several recommendations that should be taken before these approaches can become truly embedded into the industry’s ways of working. In doing so, the industry can make substantial, lasting and transformative changes to working practices, productivity and efficiency.

Russell Adfield, The Health and Safety Executive’s Head of Construction Sector and Policy, said: “This industry-led report highlights the significance of having Construction, Design and Management regulations (CDM 2015) – to ensure effective communication, co-operation and co-ordination of workplace practices to both protect workers from risk and allow projects to advance, even in the most difficult of times.

“Involving workers and the supply chain in planning and designing the work is an essential component in developing trust and achieving positive behaviour which will ensure the industry continues to play a critical role in stimulating the economy as we respond to COVID-19.

“With health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of what all companies do, it is clear that the learnings from COVID-19 should extend beyond the lockdown period and shape the whole industry for the better.”

To read the report in full, please click here.

CLC launches tool for COVID-19 cost assessments

The Professional Practice Task Group for the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Covid-19 Task Force has published a methodology for assessing and reporting the cost implications of disruption due to the pandemic.

Construction clients and contractors rely on accurate cost prediction as the basis of business plans, financial contracts, and commercial control.

The CLC says unprecedented nature of the pandemic is affecting the progress and productivity of existing and future contracts, meaning that the information upon which estimates are usually prepared no longer applies.

The Toolkit acts as a guide to enable better cost forecasting to assist the industry in making informed investment decisions on viability, improving robustness of pipeline and driving long term economic growth.

Simon Rawlinson, Chair of the Professional Practice Task Group said: “The Cost Assessment Toolkit will help the construction industry manage the impact of Covid-19 on existing and future contracts.

“It establishes a standard methodology to incorporate the cost impacts of the virus into estimates, provides clarity on exclusions and through the collection of industry wide data allows clients and supply chains to compare their project costs against an aggregated data set.

“By providing the tools to measure and therefore improve productivity, the toolkit acts as a guide to ascertain and assess project risks and establish viability for the long term.”

To access the tool, click here.

Working together to meet new operational requirements

Genetec is working with its customers in innovative and customisable ways to overcome issues created by COVID-19. Talk to us about how we could address critical requirements you now face in your every day.

COVID-19 means a new way of working for all of us. The team at Genetec has been working tirelessly to help customise solutions and create new functionality to help reflect this change in operations. No matter what your sector, we can help you leverage Genetec solutions to enhance operations.

For more information, visit www.genetec.com.

How to measure occupancy for social distancing

By Irisys

Controlling and restricting occupancy levels has been advised by the Government as a key step in facilitating and enabling social distancing in the workplace.

BUT, what does this mean in practice and how can you implement this in your workplace?

From manual to fully automated solutions, we discuss the pros and cons of different approaches so you are well informed and can pick a solution that best meets your needs and helps ensure the safety of your employees.

Read full article.

Getting retailers ready for opening their doors

Back in April Spectrum Industrial; manufacturer and supplier of safety signage and products, commissioned independent research amongst small independent retailers, who had kept their doors open during the lockdown. The aim was to truly understand how these retailers were implementing and managing social distancing and how they could help.

26% of these retailers said they found it difficult to implement social distancing and signage into the store, and 43% said they would have liked professional help or support.

Spectrum Industrial have spent years helping businesses with site safety signs by carrying out site audits, they took on board this feedback from the research and used their experience to develop a guide on how to implement a social distancing program.

Peter Clayton, Head of Sales, commented: “Following this feedback we thought it was important to help where we could.  We did not see implementing social distancing safety signs as any different to when we work with businesses to guide on site safety signs. However, the difference is that during this time, we can’t physically go along and advise, so we developed a simple how to guide”.

He continued: “We understand it’s not easy, we saw the challenges first-hand ourselves when applying this into our own business during the lockdown, and for those retailers where space is not a premium and a redesign is not an option, it proves very challenging.”

The research also showed that over 45% saw their implementation as being temporary and 50% implementing their own do it yourself signage.

Managing Director, Paul Kantecki, said: “This was no surprise as many at the time did not know how long this would go on for.  However, we are still seeing do it yourself social distancing measures still happening 3 months on, mainly when business / premises are opening their doors for the first time since lockdown. We do understand, as well as many finding it difficult, they are not sure if it is right, and they need to be flexible if they need to change it. Although this showed, and still shows many being proactive to put something in place. Being involved in safety signs we know the hazards these makeshift / do it yourself versions can have, such as slips and trips with unsuitable floor markings and tape through to home printed signs fading quickly and becoming unclear.”

Safety regulation state that all Health & Safety signage always needs to be clear and visible. Although this situation does not come under legislation yet, it is still communicating vitally important messages to keep people as safe as possible, “to us, it is a safety message and the reason we don’t see this as any different to implementing any safety signage onto your premises,” continued Clayton. “The best way to do this is to work with experts in safety signs who are used to designing signs that communicate safety messages in a clear and easy to understand way, as well as providing advice on what you need and where it should be placed.”

Paul also continued: “One of the things I have picked up on during the last 3 months is a term I heard, CCE – Covid Customer Experience. We have to face the reality that this situation is not going away quickly and everything we do today will affect our brand for the future, ask yourself this, how do you want people to talk about how your brand; as a supplier or an employer,  dealt with Covid-19?”

If you are looking to re-open your doors, you can download a FREE copy of Spectrum Industrials guide, which provides useful information and tips at www.spectrum-industrial.co.uk.

For more information about Spectrum Industrial and their product range visit www.spectrum-industrial.co.uk or email sales@spectrum-industrial.co.uk.

Spectrum Industrial extends its range of Social Distancing and Hygiene signs and launches new brochure

Manufacturer of safety signage and products Spectrum Industrial have added even more signs to their range of social distancing and hygiene signs by popular demand.

The extended range includes floor graphics to help the flow of traffic within premises as well as providing instructions to visitors on the route they should take, a range of site safety notices providing your on site rules to visitors in relation to covid -19, temporary signs for those needing to provide instructions to people whilst in their vehicles, new hygiene and PPE signs and finally hygiene / sneeze guards.

“We have worked hard to develop a signage range to suit customers needs so they could react quickly, However, as we now start to talk to those who are preparing their premises for when restrictions are lifted, there are many more factors to consider and different industries face different challenges, so we had to look at where signage could help and extend our range to suit,” said Paul Kantecki, Managing Director.

“As those businesses deemed as essential have or continue to roll out their social distancing and hygiene programs, we are now seeing many businesses start to look at how they can re-open and how they can keep employees, customers and visitors safe when they do re-open.  Its not easy, and although we can help with signage to provide clear instruction and information, there are so many other factors and challenges businesses are having to think about, and as a business owner myself, it’s not an easy task.”

The new signs have been launched in an updated version of Spectrum Industrials Social Distancing and Safety Signage brochure. The brochure showcases over 250 products, providing a comprehensive range.

Paul continued: “It won’t stop there. We are focusing on reviewing our range constantly to be able to support all businesses and facilities with the signage and products they require to help adhere to social distancing and keep staff, customers, and visitors safe. As we talk to customers and identify challenges, we will continue to identify solutions to best help them cost effectively and efficiently.”

Spectrum offer a wide selection of social distancing signs including anti slip floor stickers and strips, wall signs and entrance signs and the full range can be viewed on their website.  However, if customers cannot find what they are looking for or have bespoke requirements, Spectrum Industrial can easily make these designs to order at their manufacturing facility in Doncaster.

For more information about Spectrum Industrial and their product range visit www.spectrum-industrial.co.uk or email sales@spectrum-industrial.co.uk.

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