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Our Covid response – in detail

We are continuing to monitor and assess the risks across the business to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of our staff, service users and all other stakeholders. The following steps are those we have taken thus far. This is under constant review and we will continue to update accordingly as the situation changes.

What are we doing to keep the staff in call centres and offices safe?

Where possible we are continuing to have staff working from home and will be continuing with homeworking for the foreseeable future to ensure the safety of our staff.

  • Sites have been reviewed and staff capacity has been limited to 30% of full capacity. We will continue working at this capacity for the foreseeable future and will review again in line with step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
  • Desks have been staggered to ensure staff are not sitting face to face. Desks where staff can work have been marked with a green dot and where necessary floors have been marked and labelled and a visual reminder to maintain physical distancing.
  • We have increased cleaning to include the regular cleaning of door handles and other touch points including handrails and sink areas. Additional wipes have been provided for staff to clean workstations, work areas and anything else they touch after use.
  • Hand sanitiser gels have been provided across all sites for all staff.
  • Posters have been put up around the buildings giving guidelines on handwashing, personal hygiene and social distancing.
  • Only essential personnel are allowed access to the offices and social distancing guidelines must be adhered to. We have agreed a maximum capacity in all areas of our buildings to ensure social distancing guidelines can be followed.
  • Staff working in fixed teams.
  • No meetings being held at the offices, all meetings are being undertaken using on-line platforms such as Skype, Teams and Starleaf
  • Lifts to be used by only one person at a time and touch points (buttons, handles, etc) to be cleaned upon exit using antibacterial wipes
  • Where staff are working in the offices, desks have been labelled so as not to be used to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
  • Breaks have been staggered to ensure minimal staff are in the rest areas at any time.
  • Meeting rooms have been made available for the use as rest areas during break times and have been set up to ensure social distancing can be followed.
  • Air conditioning systems have been maintained, cleaned and filters replaced and airflow from ventilation systems have increased.
  • DR Sites have been cleaned, closed and sealed to ensure they remain clean and usable in the even of us having to move the staff to those sites.
  • At our West Malling office a one-way system has been put in place in line with that put in place by Clarion Housing. Due to staff numbers and entrance/exit routes this is not required in Eastbourne.
  • A training course has been written and issued to staff giving details of what they can and cannot do in our offices and contact centres.
  • All staff must wear a face mask as soon as they enter the building. While sat at their own desk they do not need to wear a mask but the mask must be worn at all other times until they have exited the building.

What are we doing to keep the engineers safe?

When making appointments we are asking our service users and/or their family members or carers whether anyone is showing signs of the coronavirus. If we are informed that they are showing any signs we will postpone the appointment until confirmation is received that they are no longer showing any symptoms.

  • All customer information is being obtained ahead of the engineer visit to reduce the amount of time an engineer has to spend in the service user’s home.
  • Where possible we are utilizing a drop to door service. The engineer is programming and setting up the equipment ahead of the visit, dropping the equipment at the doorstep for the service user or their family member/care to connect up. The engineer will remain outside, available to provide verbal assistance but at a distance.
  • Hand sanitizer gels and antibacterial wipes have been issued, along with guidance on when & where to use.
  • PPE has been issued and guidance on how and when to wear, how to dispose, etc. has also been provided.
  • Engineers are asking service users and their carers / family members to maintain social distancing and where possible, allow them to work in the room alone.
  • Upon job completion, engineers are undertaking a self sign-off of jobs in agreement with the customer. This is so customers do not need to sign the handset ensuring social distancing measures are followed.
  • Instructions issued to wipe down touch points on vehicle using antibacterial wipes.
  • Engineers not working together and instructed not to travel together in the same vehicle.
  • Our engineers have all been offered the covid vaccination and most have already received their second injection.

What are we doing to keep the mobile responders safe?

  • All mobile responders are issued with the appropriate PPE, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes and issues with instructions on their correct use and disposal.
  • Prior to mobilising the mobile responders our operators are using a script to question whether the service user we are attending is showing any signs of the coronavirus when
  • possible. In situations when it is not possible to check, the responders are using a full range of PPE including face masks, gloves, aprons and anti-bacterial gels to clean hands prior to their visit and after removing their PPE prior to cleaning hands after leaving the service user.
  • Where possible our responders are still following social distancing guidelines when undertaking a visit, but this is not always possible. Irrespective of whether staff are in close contact or not they are instructed to wear a full range of PPE and following guidelines and instructions for their use and disposal. The issued PPE includes FFP2 (or equivalent) masks, aprons, goggles and shoe covers. They have also been issued with antibacterial gels and wipes to clean down any equipment following completion of visit and prior to getting into their vehicle.
  • Agreements in place for staff to sign off job ticket themselves so they do not have to ask the service user to sign.
  • Brief training course has been written and issued giving guidelines of what should and should not be done for both engineers and mobile responder.
  • Our Mobile Responders have all been offered the covid vaccination and most have already received their second injection.

What are we doing to keep our service users safe?

  • We endeavour to undertake as many visits as possible because we understand that our service users are vulnerable and need our service, particularly during the pandemic. However, we have issued guidelines to our staff in regards to PPE, Hand washing and social distancing but will not knowingly send a member of staff into a property where someone has symptoms of the coronavirus because we would not want to spread this to other vulnerable service users.
  • To allow us to continue delivering our service we have developed our postal service utilising the Doro CareIP mobile device whereby the equipment is programmed and set up, dispatched to the service users home. Once unpacked it will just need to be plugged in and tested in accordance with the instructions provided.
  • We have also developed a home from hospital service across some contract areas so someone can leave hospital with one of our units and raise calls to our call centre without the need for an engineer to install.
  • Paperwork is being completed ahead of visits to reduce the amount of time an engineer needs to be in a property.
  • Where a member of our field staff has tested positive, we have been contacting any service users the staff member may have visited to make them aware. We do not think it is likely that our staff member contracted or passed on the visit whilst at work due to the procedures we have in place and the PPE they are using but feel it is courtesy to let them know.
  • All visiting staff have been offered the covid 19 vaccination and most have received their second injection already.

How are we working with our corporate clients?

We have developed several services in cooperation with our corporate clients to help them and their service users. These include the home from hospital service, postal installs, door drop installations and pre visit data collection.

  • We have grown our Telecheck service whereby we are contacting service users to make sure they are ok or have taken any medication.
  • We have also supported other ARCs by taking their calls at times of high sickness through the coronavirus pandemic to ensure they do not need to worry about their service users when they do not have enough staff to handle the calls.
  • We are communicating regularly with our corporate clients to ensure our service is meeting their needs and we are doing all we can to support them in this difficult time.

How are we supporting staff who are on furlough leave?

We do not have many staff still on furlough leave with most having returned to work. However, for those who are still on furlough we have been communicating with them on a regular basis and keeping them included in any communications and business updates. Even though staff are on leave we have been keeping them occupied by issuing e-learning training courses.

Are we doing anything to help those staff who are working from home?

We have created a Home Working and Wellbeing assessment for completion by all staff working from home. This is being issued on a regular basis and reviewed by their line manager before issuing to the H&S advisor and HR Partner to agree a course of action, as necessary.

  • Regular calls and meetings have been set up with all home workers and where possible meetings are undertaken using video conferencing facilities such as Microsoft Teams.
  • Regular communications are being sent out to all staff giving business and coronavirus updates to ensure everyone is aware of what is happening across the business.
  • • Staff have also been provided with equipment where possible to make homeworking more comfortable.

What have we done when a staff member or a member of their family has shown symptoms of COVID-19?

  • When staff have contacted us to inform us that they, or a member of their household, is showing symptom of the coronavirus we have asked them to self-isolate and get tested in accordance with the government guidelines to contain the virus.

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