More than a third of South West businesses are planning to temperature check employees as work resumes following the coronavirus pandemic, new research has revealed.
A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown 87% of businesses in the South West plan to implement hygiene measures in a bid to make sites safe, with 93% cracking down on social distancing in the workplace.
The survey found that 42% of employers are introducing shift working for those returning to the workplace, and 51% of businesses are staggering shift breaks from work in communal areas. In addition, 43% plan to work in fixed-team bubbles.
But while 35% of businesses plan to carry out temperature checks, just 8% of businesses within the region plan to carry out routine COVID-19 testing on employees. However 84% said they were implementing PPE in the workplace.
This all compares to 73% of businesses in London using PPE and 9% of businesses completing routine Covid-19 testing on employees.
However, London falls to the bottom of UK regions with just 81% of businesses still in operation saying that they are increasing hygiene measures.
Just 87% of businesses in the capital say they are implementing social distancing measures, versus 95% of businesses located in the East Midlands, for example.
The ONS research found that 76% of businesses in the UK have seen an increase in operating costs of some sort, some ranking it as “substantial”, as a result of implementing new safety measures in the workplace.
The ONS looked into the rise in costs when implementing PPE, hygiene measures, routine Covid-19 testing, social distancing, shift working, temperature checks and other measures.
It found the transportation and storage industry has seen operating costs increase the most with 73% of businesses in this sector seeing costs rise a little, whilst just 51% of information and communication businesses saw the same increase, August figures show.
But for accommodation and food service activities the costs are more severe, with 34% of businesses within this sector saying that operating costs have substantially increased, the highest of all industries. This level of cost increase was seen by just 3% of businesses in the information and communication sector.
The Business Impact of Covid-19 Survey (BICS) results came from businesses’ responses on how their turnover, workforce prices, trade and business resilience had been affected in a two-week reference period.
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Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford.
He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
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Phone: 01752 293116
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William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West.
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“With many businesses reopening the doors to employees returning to work, the risen expenditure of operating costs is mandatory to enable a safe working environment,” an ONS spokesperson said.
The report also showed that 23% of those furloughed in the accommodation and food service activities industry returned to the workplace in the period of July 27 to August 9. For the information and communication sector, which again came in with the lowest percentages, this figure was just 4% of staff.
In England, the current “rule of six” that is enforced this week by the Government exempts workplaces. All office spaces are preparing for a 2m distancing operation for staff as well as the possibility of Covid-19 tests to be carried out.
Coworking management platform Nexudus has released the first product of its kind allowing co-working members and workspace users to pre-book their preferred seat and desk space with a new “floor plans” tool, the ONS said.
Workspace operators can now set up floor plans and include resources such as offices, dedicated desks, hot desks, meeting rooms and boardrooms.
They can also list the amenities and features included in each resource. Users can see availability for those resources, together with the amenities for all available items and book one or more resources from their member’s portal to keep a safe and organised environment when returning to work.