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70% of workers feel optimistic about returning to the workplace

As pubs, shops and other workplaces re-open, the success of the vaccine rollout has helped workers feel much more optimistic about their return to work than they were following November’s lockdown, according to Aviva’s research of more than 2,000 employed adults across the UK.

Aviva’s third Employee Back to Work Index shows that 71% of workers surveyed agreed that the rollout of the vaccine made them optimistic about returning to work, compared with 50% after November’s lockdown who said that news of a vaccine gave them optimism about returning to work. Two-thirds (64%) of employees surveyed said the vaccine will make them feel safer at work.

Another piece in the puzzle of opening up safely is regular testing of workers for Covid-19. Aviva’s research shows that three-quarters (75%) of employees would feel comfortable to be tested for Covid-19 in order to work. Only 7% of employees said they would be uncomfortable with such a requirement.

Aviva’s Employee Back to Work Index comes as the UK takes its next steps out of lockdown, and captures the attitudes of full-time or part-time employed adults working in a wide variety of industry sectors across the UK on their feelings about their health and safety in the workplace.

Returning to the workplace – safely
Businesses have had to adapt at pace in the face of continually changing Covid restrictions. In some instances, this will mean that operations have fundamentally changed, including the role of employees in carrying out their duties. Aviva’s survey found that 23% of employees surveyed said their job had changed as a result of new business operations due to Covid, but that they were not offered any training on their new role, compared to 11% who said their job had changed and they had been offered training.

Likewise, employees who have been absent from the workplace since the beginning of the January lockdown could benefit from refresher training. Overall, 60% of employees surveyed who had been off during previous lockdowns said that their employer had not offered them refresher training to ensure they are able to continue to do their job safely.

Working from home looks set to stay for many employees. Of those employees surveyed that are currently working from home, 40% said that after lockdown restrictions have ended, they will split their time between home and their usual workplace, while 30% said their employer has told staff that they should continue to work from home. Just one-in-four (24%) said their employer expects all employees to return to the office on a permanent basis after pandemic restrictions ease.

Only 52% of employees surveyed who have been working from home said their employer had taken steps to ensure their home office is set up safely to prevent injury or strain. However, 40% of employees said their employer had not taken any steps to make their workstation safe, potentially putting them at unnecessary risk of injury. Employers should ask employees to complete a homeworking assessment and if the employee is likely to continue working at home into the longer term, then more rigorous assessments might be required.

Cyber risk not being addressed
Working from home has also increased the risk of a cyber attack. As Covid forced businesses to work remotely and – increasingly, digitally – cyber attacks increased, with 46% of UK businesses reporting a cyber breach or attack in 2020. However, Aviva’s survey found that just under half (48%) of employees working from home said their employer did not take any steps to reduce their cyber risk.

What risks do you face as you come out of lockdown?
Aviva asked workers what risks they believe they face as they come out of successive lockdowns. Workers could choose multiple responses. While it is positive to see the gradual increase in the proportion of workers saying ‘there is no biggest risk’ (now at 26%), there are still a number of workers who are concerned about Covid-19, and a significant and growing number of workers who say lockdown has impacted their mental health.

Chris Andrews, Director of Aviva Risk Management Solutions, said: “The vaccine rollout has had an enormous benefit to employee confidence in returning safely to the workplace. Our research found that 80% of employees who have been working or furloughed feel confident their workplace is safe and that their employer has standards that they meet to keep employees and the public safe. This is a significant, positive step in our journey back to working normally.

“There are, however, a number of risks that businesses must address to ensure that the return to the workplace is wholly successful. Training for employees who have been off work for some time is essential to reduce the chance of injury upon return. Likewise, those employees whose jobs have changed as their business has adapted to Covid restrictions should also receive training on their new ways of working. And if working from home becomes the norm, employers need to do more work to ensure their employees are safe at home and have the appropriate tools and environment to work effectively.

“Businesses also really need to consider how they can protect their organisation from cyber attacks while their employees work from home. Cyber attacks come in many forms, and increasingly target employees through phishing and social engineering fraud. It’s clear from our research that more needs to be done to help employees understand and identify the various forms of cyber attacks while working from home to protect the business.”

Health & Safety

Looking for Health & Safety suppliers? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for new Health & Safety solutions for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

Your business can now be included in the FM Directory from just £99!

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or

The Case Study: Fast, paperless asset safety inspections

A very large chemicals processer increased the efficiency of asset safety inspections with inspection templates and automated reporting using reliable Unitags and SafeTrak software from Scafftag. Read the case study and find out how can be thousands of asset inspections managed easily.

Challenge: Easily manage thousands of asset inspections

A large chemical processing plant was keeping track of asset inspections on paper. With thousands of ladders, handrails and floor gratings on the list of assets that need regular safety inspection, the paper trail became exceedingly complex and time intensive to manage.

The plant was already using Unitag to communicate which assets were inspected, and deemed safe, or out of use. To keep employees safe and the facility compliant in an efficient way, a solution was needed to replace time-consuming handwritten inspection reports.

Solution: A digital asset inspection trail

Scafftag proposed the SafeTrak software to replace the entire inspection paper trail with an online tool. All assets that need inspection can be set up in SafeTrak to make inspection planning and follow-up a lot more practical. Asset inspections can be planned at regular intervals, and to each type of asset a standard or custom inspection template can be linked.

In-house inspectors receive a notification on their ATEX-compliant handheld from SafeTrak and can start an asset inspection by scanning the asset’s RFID-enabled Multi-Tag from Scafftag. A pre-defined inspection template guides the inspectors in the field, and a report is shared automatically with stakeholders on inspection completion.

Assets are identified in the field with the RFID-enabled Unitag that can resist intensive cleaning processes. The tag’s RFID-chip can be programmed to link the actual field asset to its corresponding inspection history and asset details in SafeTrak.

To answer specific customer needs, Scafftag customised the flexible SafeTrak software in just 3 months. This enabled our customer to quickly and easily implement the solution in its existing inspection processes.

Result: Fast asset inspection and automated reporting

The chemicals processing plant can now inspect assets faster in a more accurate and easier way. More assets are inspected in a shorter time-span. Digital inspection reports are automatically generated and shared, and the time-consuming asset inspection paper trail is no longer needed.

Discover a wide range of tools and equipment you can immediately increase compliance for >>

Scafftag – A Brady Business

Tel 0845 089 4060

BS 1710-compliant pipe markers for more safety at work

By Brady

British Standard 1710-compliant, industrial-grade pipe markers that can be applied to any pipe will help you to clearly identify pipes for more safety at work. Discover the complete BS 1710 pipe marker offer from Brady, read about colour scheme, download the brochure and see the infographic!

Clearly highlight hidden pipe contents with British Standard 1710-compliant pipe markers, printed on reliable pipe marker materials that stay attached and remain legible in tough conditions.

Clear pipe identification for increased safety

  • clear and highly recognisable British Standard 1710-compliant pipe marking
  • easily visualise the contents inside your pipes
  • warn against any risks related to pipe contents

Reliable on any pipe in many environments

  • resists high and low temperatures, chemicals and fuels
  • can fit any pipe diameter
  • self-adhesive, adhesive strip, magnetic and mountable application options


  • no need to deep-dive into the norm, our pipe markers are compliant
  • ready-to-apply pipe markers for delivery anywhere in the world
  • print-at-your-premises using pipe diameter and substance input”

Curious about British Standard 1710 pipe markers?

Discover Brady’s British Standard 1710 pipe marker offer >>

Health & Safety

Do you specialise in Health & Safety? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in January we’ll be focussing on Health & Safety solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Health & Safety solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on

Here’s our full features list:

Jan – Health & Safety
Feb – Building Maintenance & Refurbishment
Mar – Cleaning
Apr – Total FM
May – Energy Management
June – Security
Jul – Air Conditioning
Aug – Waste Management
Sep – Asset Management
Oct – FM Software
Nov – Intruder & Alarm Systems
Dec – Fire & Safety Equipment

Health & Safety

Looking for Health & Safety solutions? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for new Health & Safety solutions for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

For a short period of time, your business can now be included in the FM Directory for FREE!

In these times of uncertainty for everyone, we are offering support to the industry by providing a free listing for a 3-month period, to support businesses through these difficult circumstances.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or

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 or email

Half of UK workers uncomfortable about returning to the workplace

Over half of UK workers are not comfortable returning to work in the wake of the Government announcing its COVID-19 recovery strategy and the publication of guidelines for working safely.

A study by ENGAGE and YouGov shows that 55 per cent of respondents (those employed who usually work from home or are currently working from home or who have been furloughed) state that they are not very or not at all comfortable returning to work, when asked to imagine returning to work once the UK government begins to lift the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Those more uncomfortable include respondents who are vulnerable (i.e. because of age, health conditions or another reason; 67 per cent) or who live with others who are vulnerable (66 per cent).

Levels of discomfort are also higher in certain sectors such as education (66 per cent), presumably where there will be a greater interaction with large numbers of students, and in professional services such as financial services and accounting (75 per cent), where many may be returning to offices with high volumes of colleagues.

The biggest physical concern, cited by 51 per cent of respondents as one of their top three issues, is how social distancing is likely to be implemented upon their return to the workplace. There are also concerns regarding the practical logistics and safety of returning to the workplace such as moving around (30%), the use of public toilet/washing areas (37%), and the use of shared equipment (27%).

Critically, almost a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) cite their commute or journey to work as a concern, a figure that is twice as high for Londoners (50 per cent).

But concerns among respondents also extend to their wellbeing. Nearly half (42 per cent) of people believe returning to the workplace will see a decline in work-life balance, while only 23 per cent believe it will improve it. One third (33 per cent) anticipate a decline in their mental health, and over a quarter (28 per cent) in their physical health.

Of concern, too, is the anticipated anxiety around job security. 25 per cent said their confidence in their job security would decline by a return to the workplace.

However, when questioned on the impact that returning to the workplace would have on their working lives, the majority of those employed believe it will make no real difference.

61 per cent feel there will be no change in accessing the information they need; 59 per cent believe there will be no change to the communications they get from leaders within their organisation; and 58 per cent feel there will be no change in the communication they have with their manager.

This suggests, says ENGAGE, that in many areas UK companies have been able to help people switch to productive working from home relatively quickly.

And while 42 per cent of respondents believe that collaboration and teamwork will improve by returning to the workplace, and a third of respondents (37 per cent) expect innovation to improve, the new guidelines for safe working practices and social distancing are likely to create barriers here.

Dr Andy Brown, CEO at ENGAGE, said: “The research suggests that some organisations will see a limited number of both internal and external outputs improving as workplace restrictions are lifted. But it’s clear that employees believe there will be a net worsening of other critical aspects by returning to the workplace, which organisations must take into account.

“More than this, though, the results clearly show that any physical return to work needs purpose. COVID-19 secure guidelines mean firms may not be able to provide the collaborative, innovative environments that we had before.  And we now know that remote working isn’t the barrier to communication or collaboration that we once thought. Organisations will need to align their return strategies with the real benefits they will deliver, rather than just returning to the way things have always been done.”

Easily manage regular fire door inspections

Efficiently plan and manage fire door inspections with our SafeTrak Fire Door Inspection Management module and stay compliant with regulations.

  • stay compliant: plan fire door inspections with 3-month or custom intervals, use a step-by-step fire door inspection template in the field that supports compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
  • inspect efficiently: scan your asset label on the correct fire door to activate the planned fire door inspection on a smartphone or tablet in the field
  • report automatically: automatically share a customisable report on inspection completion

See the infosheet & Try 30 days for free!


Banbury, Oxon OX16 3JU

Tel: +44 (0) 1295 228 288

How to get your employees back to work safely and smoothly

iHASCO, a market-leading provider of Health & Safety, HR and Compliance eLearning, are currently adding a number of online programmes to their course library to help organisations get their employees back into the workplace as safely and smoothly as possible.

“Covid-19 has resulted in a hugely challenging time for businesses for a number of reasons, and as steps are taken to exit lockdown the return to work process will provide employers with even further challenges” says Alex Morris, Director at iHASCO. “iHASCO have created a returning to work essentials training bundle which will assist employers with helping their staff return to work with confidence and reassurance that their health and safety is taken seriously, which will play a major role in resuming safe operations.”

Among the titles to be released is ​Returning to Work after COVID-19 Training​, a course that focuses on easing an employee’s transition back to work in light of Coronavirus. It will cover important aspects of the return to work process, such as risk assessments, team communication and handling anxiety in connection to Covid-19. It also provides an insight as to what an employee can expect on their first few days and weeks back at work to help them adjust.

A ​Resilience Training​ course will also be available, which will provide employees with practical techniques to build resilience and deal with challenging situations. This is a crucial skill in times of adversity and empowering the employee to regain focus, control, and perspective will help with a smooth transition back to the workplace.

These two courses will come as part of iHASCO’s ​Returning to Work Essentials Bundle​, along with other important titles such as DSE Training, Fire Awareness Training, Infection Prevention & Control and Mental Health Awareness Training.

Employers are also being encouraged to take advantage of iHASCO’s ​free Risk Assessment Tool​ to conduct a Coronavirus Risk Assessment – which will be crucial upon planning a return to the workplace.

Due to the uncertainty of the weeks and months ahead, a clear and careful plan to reopen a workplace is required to ensure the safety of employees and any visitors to its site. This, together with online training for employees, can provide a solid foundation to get a business focussed and navigate the challenges it faces.

Organisations that feel these new courses could benefit them should ​register their interest​ through the iHASCO website.