Business Healthy Newsletter, 3 February 2021
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.
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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.
Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector. This includes encouraging workers who can do so effectively to work from home during the winter. The measures employers put in place to maintain social distancing and other preventative measures – such as the need for staff and visitors/ customers to wear face coverings – 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 and extra consideration should be given to those people at higher clinical risk.
In addition, there are penalties for employers who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come into work.
For individuals needing to attend the workplace, employers should encourage them 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.
Protecting key, routine, manual and service workers during COVID-19: Rapid Testing
We know that frontline workers in manual and people-facing roles have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic. Under Health and Safety Law, organisations are responsible for the health and wellbeing of both their direct employees, as well as that of anyone else working on their sites.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms – a new, persistent cough; high temperature; or a loss or change of sense of smell and/ or taste, should book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or by calling 119. There is a testing centre, for people with symptoms of COVID-19, located in Guildhall Yard (EC2V 5AA), which is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm.
Rapid COVID-19 tests are also available for people without coronavirus symptoms, who cannot work from home and who are working in public-facing roles, or those in security, health or social care, cleaning, and facilities management, or those that attend courts. They provide same-day results. Recommended testing frequency is every three to five days.
Around one in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms (are asymptomatic). The aim of rapid testing for people without symptoms is to proactively identify positive cases among the workforce as early as possible, to enable self-isolation where required and therefore minimise harm to health and also to business operations. Rapid testing is one of the tools that can be used in addition to – but not instead of – other critical infection prevention control measures in the workplace, such as encouraging staff to work from home, physical distancing, regular handwashing, and wearing of face coverings.
There is a rapid (lateral flow) COVID-19 testing centre in the City, at 80 Leadenhall Street, as well as at locations across Hackney, and appointments can be booked via this portal. If you have employees or workers on your site in these frontline, public-facing or other key manual roles that cannot be undertaken from home, please encourage them to get a Lateral Flow Test, if they do not have symptoms.
The aim of rapid testing for people without symptoms is to identify positive cases among the workforce as early as possible, to enable self-isolation where required and minimise harm to health and business operations. Rapid testing is one of the tools that can be used in addition to – but not instead of – other critical infection prevention control measures in the workplace, such as encouraging staff to work from home, physical distancing, regular handwashing, and wearing of face coverings.
Individuals who have been instructed by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate and who are on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, may be entitled to access the Test and Trace Support Payment. Employers and establishments can support workers to access this by making contact with the Self Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715.
City workers urged to complain if they are being forced to go to work
The City of London Corporation is urging workers in the Square Mile to speak out if they are being forced or pressured to come into work during the national lockdown.
Government restrictions, set out in law, state that we all must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance. Full details are available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Workers concerned about the behaviour of their employer can contact the City Corporation here. Enquires will be dealt with in strict confidence, and officers are more than happy to provide advice, answer questions and refer issues to other relevant bodies where required.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. All relevant information relating to employee safety and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the City Corporation website here. Businesses must take every possible step to facilitate employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
Employers should also be familiar with the City Corporation’s Standard Operating Procedure for premises including details on processes and procedures on COVID-19 outbreak prevention and management.
City of London Police officers have issued more than 50 fines relating to breaches of COVID-19 restrictions in the Square Mile.
Businesses and venues that breach restrictions on the national lockdown are potentially subject to a range of fines, starting at £1,000 for the first offence and rising to £10,000 upon repeat offences. Businesses can also be closed where they pose a serious and imminent threat to public health, including where this is necessary and proportionate to manage the spread of COVID-19 in the local authority’s area
Individuals can also be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings. The police also have the power to take action against those holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people. This includes issuing a fixed penalty notice of £10,000.
More information is available here.
Preventing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks within your workplace
All settings, such as offices, shops, and hospitality venues, should have a designated COVID-19 “Single Point of Contact”, who is responsible for ensuring proper infection prevention and control measures, such as COVID-19-specific risk assessments – are in place.
The Single Point of Contact (SPoC) is also responsible for reporting incidents and outbreaks within their setting to Public Health England’s London Coronavirus Response Cell (PHE LCRC) and to the Local Authority. Both PHE LCRC and the Local Authority can provide support to the SPoC as and where required.
Information about the roles and responsibilities of SPoCs, PHE LCRC and the Local Authority across a range of different settings, including workplaces, retail and close contact services, takeaway outlets, and restaurants, bars, and dine-in cafes, is outlined in a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) available on the City Corporation’s COVID-19 Local Outbreak Prevention and Management webpage. This also includes key contact details.
For any queries relating to the SOPs or COVID-19 outbreak management, please email email@example.com
Financial support for employees
A £500 Isolation Support Payment is available for people on low incomes, who can’t work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating because they or their household have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive, or have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Full details can be found here.
Self-Isolation Service Hub
This is a telephone line for employers and establishments to provide to NHS Test & Trace with a list of people who have been identified as contacts of a case of COVID-19 in their establishment, and therefore who must self-isolate.
It is critical that employers follow up and call 020 3743 6715 as soon as they have had a positive case in their establishment (and every time thereafter), because all contacts identified are then formally logged with NHS Test & Trace. This allows those contacts who are eligible to receive a self-isolation support payment from their home Local Authority. Without the NHS Test & Trace reference, they cannot receive financial support.
Employers will need the CTAS ID of the person who had a positive case, in order to be able to record the contacts from your establishment, and will be asked to collect this from the employee/person at their establishment who tested positive as soon as they receive it. This means the employer will be able to call the hub without delay, to be able to support their employees and visitors at the earliest opportunity.
Continuing to share preventative messages about “Hands, Face, Space”
Employers are asked to consider the increase in cases among working-age adults and to continue to share and reiterate messages with their employees, visitors and customers about the importance of following preventative measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes minimising the number of unnecessary visits to offices, for example for meetings and by revising schedules for contractors delivering services, as outlined here.
If a staff member (or someone in their household), or a visitor to your premises has symptoms of COVID-19, you must turn them away.
Preventative measures, such as regular handwashing (“hands”), wearing a face covering (“face”) and distancing (“space”), are the best ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please help us to continue to share these messages.
Downloadable PHE posters with information on handwashing, keeping your distance, face coverings and more, can be accessed here.
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.
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 must get tested for coronavirus and self-isolate immediately, along with other members of their household.
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, or by calling 119.
Specific workplace guidance on NHS Test and Trace includes advice on why and how employers can support staff who may need to self-isolate.
COVID-19 vaccine: FAQs
The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues across the UK, and is an important tool in bringing the pandemic to an end. Please see the East London Health and Care Partnership website for a set of comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID-19 vaccine, and feel free to share them more widely.
Ask for ANI
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are again being asked to “Stay at Home”, but those who are affected by domestic abuse are likely to be feeling in fear of further abuse, control, and isolation.
For victims and survivors of domestic abuse, the workplace can be a place of safety. However, employers are being instructed that their employees should be working from home and should not be attending the workplace unless their work cannot be conducted remotely. It’s for this reason that it’s even more important during these times for employers to continue to check in regularly with their staff and signpost them to specialist services that can help.
Domestic abuse services and the Police are still working to support people affected by abuse and to keep them safe. If you would like to speak to someone confidentially about what help and support is available, please get in touch with the City of London’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate on 079 4463 4946 or by email at Col.VVA@victimsupport.org.uk.
If you, or someone else, is in immediate danger, please call the Police on 999 and press 55 if you are unable to talk.
A short video of the City’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate speaking about the support available locally can be found on Twitter.
Many pharmacies across the UK are participating in the new Government “Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately)” scheme. This offers people affected by domestic abuse a safe place to seek support and advice. Pharmacies involved with the scheme will display this poster in their window. More information about the Ask for ANI scheme, as well as promotional materials, can be found on the Government website.
In the City of London, a number of Boot’s pharmacies are participating in the Ask for ANI scheme. These are:
- 138-140 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 6BL
- 104 Cheapside, EC2V 6DN
- 21 One New Change, EC4M 9AG
- 143 Moorgate, EC2M 6XQ
- 11 Octagon Arcade, EC2M 2AB
- 200 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR
- 88 Aldgate High St, EC3N 1LH
An image listing these locations is available to download here.
Read this blog post written for Business Healthy by the City’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate, which lists a wide range of free support available to City workers experiencing domestic abuse, and their employers. This includes the Spotting the Signs toolkit for employers.
Thought of the Week
“Fear, stress and worry are all normal responses to the unknown and have been heightened throughout the pandemic, compounded by far-reaching effects on every aspect of daily life.
The short-, medium-, and long-term effects of the pandemic and its interrelationship with substance misuse and mental health is only now starting to be understood.
For some people, the disruption has led to a reduction in harmful behaviours. For others, increased mental health stresses have led to increased substance misuse”.
– Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for the City of London and Hackney, focuses on substance misuse in the City of London and Hackney in the Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2019/20, which can be read here.
Suicide Prevention Awareness session, in partnership with Samaritans and the City of London Police – Thursday 25 February, 9-11am
City workers have a crucial role to play in local suicide prevention efforts, and can often be the “eyes and ears” when it comes to identifying someone who may be in distress. This short and interactive awareness session provides practical tips on what to do and what not to do, the local situation with regards to suicide and suicide prevention, as well as insights on key listening skills.
We have been delivering these sessions on a regular basis over the past five years to a wide range of business representatives in many different sectors both within the City of London and beyond.
To find out more and to register your interest, please get in touch with the Business Healthy team here.
Expert Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) prevention sessions by Bart’s Heart Centre for City workers
The East London Prevention Group (ELoPE) from the Heart Centre at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London has recently started delivering sessions for the City’s business community on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) prevention, led by their Consultant Cardiologists. Their aim is to reduce the CVD risk in the local community and within the City’s workforce.
These sessions form part of wider work being undertaken by ELoPE from Barts Health NHS Trust, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, on raising awareness of CVD prevention across the community, including in schools and other settings.
Webinars are part of a series delivered, and include sessions on “How to prevent a heart attack”, for example.
There is no set fee, but firms will be asked to make a donation in return for the session delivery to help raise funds for this important initiative.
If your firm would like to benefit from this excellent and unique offer, please email the Business Healthy team.
Dragon Cafe in the City online sessions, fortnightly on Wednesdays
The award-winning Dragon Café in the City continues to deliver its fortnightly online programme of free and creative activities to help City workers and residents to release the pressure.
Joining Dragon Cafe in the City activities is an opportunity to try something new, no matter where you’re working.
For details and to register for the online sessions (Zoom), please visit Dragon Cafe in the City’s website.
A poetry competition celebrating the UK’s key workers
City-based ethical cleaning company – Clean for Good – is launching a poetry competition – “Poetry for Good” – aimed at celebrating the UK’s many key workers and the hard work they do, which is often unseen.
Three poets, including Cecilia Knapp – the Young People’s Laureate for London – will be judging the submissions, which can be submitted in three categories: Spoken Word, Written Word, and Growing Word (for short poems written by chilren and young people aged 11 to 15 years).
The deadline to submit is Friday 26 March. Find out more on the Poetry for Good website.
World Cancer Day, Thursday 4 February
Business Healthy and Maggie’s Barts hosted a masterclass last year, which focused on “supporting employees with cancer”, and was led by a Maggie’s Cancer Support Specialist.
The masterclass covered the free support that individuals can access through Maggie’s Centres, as well as information that employers themselves can access to help them to support their staff in the best way possible. Access the masterclass recording and further details here.
World Cancer Day is also a good opportunity to highlight that despite the ongoing pandemic, the NHS is still open to provide health and care services to those who need them, including people who have a symptom they think could be cancer.
A symptom could be unexplained blood that doesn’t come from an obvious injury, an unexplained lump, weight loss that feels significant, or an unexplained pain that doesn’t go away. If someone has unexplained symptoms such as these, it could be cancer.
The NHS is available to help them and can see them safely, to check the symptom(s). It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable, so people should speak to their GP in the first instance. Further information is available on the NHS website.
Time to Talk Day, Thursday 4 February
In addition to raising awareness of the importance of talking about mental health on Time to Talk Day and beyond, it’s also important to signpost and remind employees about the services available to support their mental health and wellbeing, such as an Employee Assistance Programmes and external resources.
For example, people working for City of London organisations can access the following services to support their mental health and wellbeing, and help them to release the pressure, whether they are working from home, or in the City itself:
- City Wellbeing Centre: offers virtual counselling and psychotherapy sessions, whatever their financial circumstances, improving access to treatments that are not available through the NHS. This service is provided by Tavistock Relationships, with support from the City of London Corporation.
- Dragon Cafe in the City (see above)
- City Advice: free advice service for City workers, covering a wide range of issues such as debt and financial worries, legal issues, and more.
- City Connections: supporting City workers to access services, including those designed to support people with caring responsibilities
Find a full list of free support services and resources available to City workers, including Good Thinking, the Access to Work Mental Health Service, and LawCare, on the Business Healthy website. Information about bereavement support for people from a Black, Asian, or ethnic minority background can be found later on in this newsletter.
Work, Worklessness, and Wellbeing: COVID-19 and beyond
The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) is teaming up with Public Health England to deliver a series of free webinars focusing on key issues relating to work, worklessness and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond. The series is part of a wider project guided by a steering group comprising experts and employers’ organisations.
These webinars are aimed at employers of any size and their employees. Register by clicking on the links below:
- Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work, Thursday 4 February, 2-4pm
- Promoting workplace health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond, Wednesday 24 February, 2-4pm
- Developing a COVID-secure health and wellbeing strategy, Wednesday 3 March, 2-4pm
- Managing change: from restructuring, redunancy to home-working, Wednesday 10 March, 2-4pm
“This is Me” 2021 launch event, Wednesday 3 March, 9.30 – 11.00am
“This Is Me” is an initiative led by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which aims to change attitudes towards mental health in the workplace by reducing stigma, dispelling myths, and raising awareness to improve employee wellbeing.
Since its inception in 2016, over 1,000 organisations across the UK and internationally have registered for This Is Me and have made a commitment to ending the stigma in their workplaces. The initiative is delivered in partnership with Barclays and Samaritans, with support from Business Healthy, the City Mental Health Alliance, Mind, Thrive LDN and more.
Join This Is Me’s 2021 launch event to hear from the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and speakers about the initiative and how it can support your organisation to end the stigma around mental health in your workplace.
This international webinar is open to businesses and organisations in all sectors. it’s aimed at businesses that have not yet registered for This Is Me, or for those that have registered, but are yet to start using This Is Me.
Find out more and RSVP by visiting the registration page.
Free and useful resources
Bereavement Support for BAME individuals who have been affected by COVID-19
Anyone aged 18+ who is of a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic background, who is registered with a GP in England, and who has been affected by the death of a loved one due to COVID-19, can access free and culturally-competent brief online emotional support to help them with their loss, via Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre.
This consists of three individual online or telephone bereavement support sessions, which aim to provide a space to enable reflection and consider support options. They provide:
- A space to be heard, listened to, and access information that can help individuals to understand what they are going through
- Suggestions and discussion of practical steps to help manage day-to-day living tasks
- Support to engage with appropriate emotional and practical support networks.
To access the service and to find out more, visit the BAMESTREAM Bereavement Support website.
“Six ways to improve your wellbeing” – translated resources
Taking care of ourselves is really important, especially in these challenging times. Thrive LDN and Doctors of the World (DOTW) have joined forces to share guidance on six simple steps to improve our health and wellbeing, which has also been translated into 27 different languages, including Spanish, Polish and Portuguese.
Access the wellbeing guidance, as well as other translated materials on the DOTW website.
Health and Wellbeing at Work Summary Toolkit from Business in the Community and Public Health England (PHE)
Public Health England and Business in the Community (BITC) has published the new Health and Wellbeing at Work Summary Toolkit.
This toolkit focuses on health and wellbeing at work, and provides practical, evidence-based guidance on how employers can support their employees to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce. The toolkit represents a summary of the previous eight toolkits developed by PHE and BITC.
The PHE and BITC Mental Health Employer Toolkit has also been updated, and can be found here.