Business Healthy Newsletter, 21 July 2020

This newsletter is designed to provide a roundup of news, updates and information that may be useful in helping you to keep your workforce healthy and well. It is written in a way to make it easy for you to cut and paste content to share across your internal communications channels. If there is a way we can make this easier, please let us know here.

Business Healthy is funded and delivered by the City of London Corporation’s Public Health team, supporting the City Corporation’s statutory obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of the more than half a million people who work in the Square Mile each day.

Follow Business Healthy on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on news and developments in the world of employee health and wellbeing in the Square Mile.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updates for businesses

Employers want to keep their staff informed about the Covid-19 pandemic. There is lots of information and misinformation out there, so please ensure that any advice or guidance you are sharing only comes from a reputable source, such as the GOV.UK website.

This information was accurate at the time of sending the newsletter, but please bear in mind that the situation is changing and the most up to date information and guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The UK Government is regularly updating its latest information and advice webpage on the GOV.UK website. Specific guidance is available for employers and businesses on working safely during coronavirus. The guidance covers a range of different types of work and further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector such as:

  • making every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option
  • where working from home isn’t possible, identifying sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace
  • keeping the workplace clean, maintaining safe working separation, and preventing transmission through unnecessary touching of potentially contaminated surfaces

The measures employers put in place to maintain social distancing will depend on their individual business circumstances, including their working environment, the size of the site and the number of workers. The guidance will support employers to make an informed decision.

The importance of prevention and travelling safely

Preventative measures, such as distancing, regular handwashing and wearing a face covering, are the best ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please help us to continue to share these messages.

The Government is asking people to work from home where possible. Where staff are unable to work from home, they are being asked to follow guidance on travelling safely during the coronavirus outbreak, which includes considering all other forms of transport before using public transport, avoiding the busiest times and routes, maintaining social distance, wearing a face covering when travelling on public transport and washing or sanitising hands regularly. Scroll through for more information on supporting staff to cycle to and from work.

Downloadable information sheets are available at the following links:

An NHS video on the best way to wash your hands can be viewed here. Please watch and share and keep sharing. Thorough handwashing is one of the most effective ways to help stop the infection from spreading.

Preventing and managing an outbreak in the workplace: City & Hackney Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Workplaces

As part of their joint COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plan (LOCP), the City Corporation and London Borough of Hackney have published a Standard Operating Procedure for workplace settings. This outlines how an outbreak (two or more cases, or a single complex case, linked to the workplace) will be identified, reported and managed by Public Health England, with support from the local authority, and the role and responsibilities of employers within this process.

The SOP also outlines the process through which information about an outbreak can flow in a timely manner between the setting, the local authority and Public Health England. It is a useful document and has been drawn up with kind feedback from some of our local businesses.

Access the Workplace SOP here.

Testing and tracing

By following Government guidance to protect the safety of their workers, as well as other people who may be affected by their business, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

If a member of staff develops symptoms of COVID-19 – whether they at work or working from home – they and their household must self-isolate immediately and get tested for coronavirus. Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

The test only checks if someone has coronavirus at that point and involves taking a swab of the throat and nose. Anyone of any age with symptoms can access a test. More information about the NHS Test and Trace service can be found on the GOV.UK website and a test can be booked on the NHS website.

The symptoms are:

  • a new, continuous cough and/ or
  • a high temperature and/ or
  • a loss of change in normal sense of smell or taste

The test needs to be taken within the first 5 days of having symptoms, but it’s best to ask for the test immediately, as it may take a day or two to arrange.

For help booking a test, call the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre on 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm. The service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 119 (in England and Wales). To receive the test results you will need a phone number and – if you are booking the test online – an email address. If you do not have either of these, you can nominate someone to receive the results on your behalf. Their telephone number and/ or email address will need to be provided when you book the test.

Essential workers, or those living with essential workers, are prioritised for testing.

Guidance on why and how employers can support staff who may need to self-isolate can be found in the “Supporting workers who need to self-isolate” section of the Government guidance on NHS Test and Trace. This also includes information about Statutory Sick Pay for employees who are self-isolating and not able to work from home, as well as guidance for workers. There is also specific workplace guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

Business tools to support NHS Test and Trace and data collection

Public Health England has developed a toolkit for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to help them in supporting the national test and trace programme.

The sharing of information of contacts is key to testing and tracing, so that if a positive case of COVID-19 is identified, anyone who has come into meaningful contact with that individual can be contacted and instructed to self-isolate and get a test. NHS Test and Trace plays a crucial part in helping life return to normal.

Businesses may have concerns about collecting visitor and/ or customer data and this toolkit is designed to make this an easy process, while ensuring compliance with GDPR and data protection legislation. It includes:

  • FAQ and instructions on maintaining records
  • Privacy Notice template
  • An overview on logging information
  • Materials to help businesses communicate the need to collect data to people visiting their premises

Download the free toolkit on the PHE website.


Free NHS-led webinars to help you cope

None of us are superhuman. It’s completely normal to feel anxious and worried about things that feel out of our control.

With this in mind, Thrive LDN is hosting a series of free, NHS-led webinars for all Londoners, focusing on “Coping Well during COVID-19”. These 60-minute interactive sessions offer you the chance to explore ideas and tools to support your mental health and wellbeing during this time.

Upcoming webinars include:

  • Managing wellbeing – Tuesday 4 August, 4-5pm
  • Mindfulness – Thursday 6 August, 4-5pm
  • Anxiety – Tuesday 11 August, 4-5pm
  • Working from Home and Staying Well – Thursday 13 August, 4-5pm
  • Low mood – Tuesday 18 August, 4-5pm
  • BAME Wellbeing, with David Truswell – Thursday 20 August, 4-5pm

For more details and to register for the webinars, visit the Thrive LDN website.

Support is available for whatever you are going through and to help you release the pressure. Visit Thrive LDN and for more information.


Cycle with confidence

City firms and their workers are planning what a return to the workplace might look like, and commuting is an important part of this.

Not only is active travel – cycling and walking – a way of helping staff to maintain social distancing while commuting, it’s also an efficient way to fit in some physical activity during the working day.

With this in mind, the City Corporation’s Active City Network has published a “COVID-19: Cycle with confidence” newsletter for employers, which covers:

  • route planning
  • cycle hire and parking in the City
  • tips for cycling to work and for first-time cyclists
  • local services for City workers, including bike repair and servicing

In addition, employers may like to share British Cycling’s free Commuter eBook with employees, which includes tips, advice and encouragement for safe commuting.


Coming up…

Virtual Dragon Cafe in the City – tomorrow, 22 July *final session before the summer break*

Tomorrow’s session is the last one before Virtual Dragon Cafe in the City takes a break for the summer.

The much-loved Dragon Cafe in the City continues to deliver its fortnightly Wellness Wednesday sessions, despite lockdown, helping City workers to release the pressure through a range of free creative activities.

Sessions are delivered virtually and the next session is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday 22 July (12.30-7.30pm) with activities including:

  • Poetry Lunch and Learn
  • Breathwork workshop
  • Guided dance session
  • Yoga

…and more.

The award-winning Dragon Café in the City is free and open to anyone working or living in the City and provides a safe online space for them to release the pressure, take a break from their busy routines and engage in creative activities designed to foster positive mental and physical wellbeing.

To access a PDF programme for the session and joining instructions, please visit the Dragon Cafe in the City website.

You can subscribe to automatically receive the Dragon Café in the City programme into your inbox in advance, by visiting the website and signing up at the bottom of the page.

Dragon Cafe in the City will resume its fortnightly virtual sessions on Wednesday 2 September. Stay tuned for some prerecorded activities that will be available over the summer break, so you don’t have to miss out.

Last few spaces available – online Suicide Prevention Awareness session, Friday 24 July, 9-11am

The next Suicide Prevention Awareness session, delivered by the City Corporation’s Public Health team, in partnership with Samaritans and the City of London Police, is almost at capacity.

These highly interactive sessions are aimed at people working in HR, Facilities or Security in the Square Mile, though they are open to all.

With greatly reduced footfall in the Square Mile as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the upskilling of workers who continue to travel in and out of the City to enable them to intervene if they come across someone in crisis is more important now than ever before.

City firms and their workers have an important role to play in local suicide prevention efforts. Recognising this, short, bespoke Suicide Prevention Awareness sessions have been delivered to the local business community on a regular basis over the past four years.

To find out more and to book, visit the Eventbrite page here.


Thought of the Week

“At a time when low-wage workers [including those working in retail, food service, hospitality], need support the most, employers are in a worse position than ever to be able to provide it.

Behavioural science provides some ideas about how employers can support employees in a way that is impactful, but also feasible and affordable for employers during this difficult time.”

– The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) shares practical tips for employers on how they can use behavioural insights to support low-wage workers during the COVID-19 crisis.


There’s never been a better time to quit

Analysis by University College London and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows that over a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, more than 136,000 of whom are in the South East of England. A further 440,000 smokers tried to quit during this period.

It’s never been a better time to kick the habit. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and smokers who are hospitalised with COVID-19 are more likely to suffer severe outcomes than non-smokers.

City workers, whether they are working on-site or from home, can still access free support through the City of London Corporation to stop smoking. This service is provided by WDP Square Mile Health.

While all face-to-face clinics (including those offered in Boots pharmacies) are cancelled, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available at Boots Bishopsgate, Boots cannon Street and Boots Cheapside branches.

Anyone wishing to self-refer to the service should contact 0300 303 2715 (and select Option 1). Alternatively, self-referrals can be made by completing this form.

Additional information and support to give up smoking can be found on WDP Square Mile Health’s website.


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Previous editions of our newsletter can be found here.