Coronavirus COVID-19 Employee Guidance

22 September 2020 By Frans Lytzen

Originally Published: 04 March 2020
Last Updated: 22 September 2020

The UK is currently at COVID Alert Level 4, so we understand that this can cause concern both for yourself and for our customers. 

We continue to monitor the situation daily and will keep you updated on any actions we need to take.

At the time of writing, the latest UK government advice is to stay at home as much as possible, limit your contact with other people, maintain social distancing and to stay alert when you leave home.

The government advice is still to work from home if you can. We are therefore following government guidance and encouraging employees to work from home. The offices will still be open and accessible if needed, unless Jennings decide to close the park, in which case we will inform you.

Accessing the Office

If it is essential that you need to access the office:

  • Inform your manager (so they can access whether you are required to visit the office)
  • Inform the company (using the General Teams chat) of when you will be visiting, which office, and how long you expect to be there – we are limiting access to one person per office at any time.
  • Take your access key, building fob and SALTO KS fob with you and ensure you know the barrier code, as Jennings are running on a reduced staff.
  • Follow NewOrbit’s Health & Safety advice around lone working and locking up the office safely.
  • Follow the NHS hygiene advice, making sure you wash your hands before and after entering the office.
  • Follow social distancing guidance, ensuring you stay at least 2 meters away from others that may be in the building.
  • Do not access the office if you are in a period of self-isolation or are clinically vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Full guidance relating to the office’s Coronavirus protection measures and instructions can be found on the Health & Safety Information SharePoint site.

If you or members of your household experience symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature or fever
  • a new continuous cough
  • anosmia (the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell, which can also affect your sense of taste).

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms, but some may be asymptomatic.

If you fall ill with coronavirus symptoms, follow the current health advice. In the case of mild COVID-19 symptoms that is currently to get plenty of rest, fluids and to take paracetamol. You can use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out more. 

If you have more serious symptoms, feeling so ill that you can’t do anything you usually would, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, you need to contact NHS 111 online. In a medical emergency, call 999, letting the operator know you might have coronavirus symptoms.

You must immediately self-isolate for ten days (from when your symptoms started), or longer if you still have a high temperature. Members of your household will also need to self-isolate for 14 days. Read the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection to find out more.

You may also wish to alert people with whom you have had close contact with over the last 48 hours. Until you have had a test and the test result is known, those people do not need to self-isolate, but they should take extra care in practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and should watch out for their own symptoms.

You must immediately report your symptoms using the NHS Coronavirus Status Checker and order a test (antigen test).

If you test positive for coronavirus, you must complete your 10-day isolation and your household must complete the 14-day isolation. The NHS test and trace service will get in touch with you and you must share details of people you have had close, recent contact with, and places you have visited.

If you test negative for coronavirus and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus, you can stop self-isolating. You may have another virus (such as a cold or flu) so it is best to avoid contact with other people until you are better. Your other household members no longer need to self-isolate.

Guidance on what to do if someone experiences symptoms in the office is available on the Health & Safety Information SharePoint site.

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace

If you have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and alerted that you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus, you will need to isolate for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms.

Members of your household will not have to stay at home unless you become symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. They should however take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.

If you develop symptoms during isolation, members of your household will also self-isolate immediately for 14 days. You must also book a test online or by calling 119.

If you test positive for the virus, you must then continue to stay at home for 10 days or until your symptoms have passed. You will be asked to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with and places you have visited. Members of your household should complete the 14-day self-isolation from when you started having symptoms.

If you test negative, you must still complete your 14-day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet. Other members of your household do not need to remain in self-isolation.

Full details about the NHS Test and Trace service can be found here.

Informing NewOrbit

You need to inform NewOrbit if you need to self-isolate. This may be because you:

  • have coronavirus symptoms and are awaiting a test result
  • have tested positive for coronavirus
  • are a member of the same household as someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • have been in close recent contact with someone who has tested positive and received a notification to self-isolate from NHS test and trace.
  • have visited a country that requires you to self-isolate on your return to the UK for 14 days.

If you have reason to believe you or anyone in your household are at risk of having contracted the virus, for whatever reason, please talk to your manager.

We are monitoring infection levels in the company for health and safety and business continuity reasons.

If you need to self-isolate, but are well enough to work, you should do so from home.

If you are unwell and cannot work, please let us know and keep us up to date by following the Absence Process. You can ask to use your paid holiday allowance for the time you’re off work, entitling you to full pay for the duration of your leave, as opposed to Statutory Sick Pay, if you choose.

You do not need to provide us with medical evidence for the first 7 days of your sickness. You can get a self-isolation note (rather than a fit note from your GP),  if you need to self-isolate because you or a member of your household have coronavirus symptoms. The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can also be used as evidence that you have been told to self-isolate.

If you encounter any other disruption (such as school closures or the need to care for an ill relative), please talk to your manager.

If you are clinically vulnerable, or if you or a member of your household are clinically extremely vulnerable, please inform us so we can include provisions in our health and safety risk assessment. The current NHS list of people who meet these criteria can be found here (please note this list may not be exhaustive and may change).

Travelling Abroad

The FCO has published a list of countries exempt from their advice against all non-essential travel worldwide. If you are planning any travel, please review the Government’s travel advice and act accordingly.

Please notify HR if you are intending to do any international travel so we can manage the impact accordingly. See the Absence Process for more details.

Staying at home

It is worth planning ahead so that you can stay successfully at home. IT have created a Working From Home Kit Audit spreadsheet, so you can let them know what equipment you need whilst working from home. Please take your equipment home that you need to replicate your usual desk set up (such as monitors, laptop stands, chair).

Please ensure you have completed a DSE Workstation Checklist to ensure your home workstation is set up correctly.

Please review the Government’s Stay at Home Guidance.

Contingency Planning 

As per our customer-facing statement, we have contingency plans in place. In the case of a change in government advice or a change in the risk level, we may choose to close one or more offices. If we do that, we will follow our Business Continuity Process.  

If we have multiple people falling ill, we will prioritise support and operations over development work. Steph has drawn up a list of who can support which systems and we will expect you to divert to doing support work over project work as required. Project managers and client relationship managers should follow the Business Continuity Process to inform clients and manage the impact on projects. 

Questions? 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask Laura or email hr@neworbit.co.uk. 

Note: This statement applies to all NewOrbit offices in all geographies, however the government advice detailed is specific to NewOrbit UK employees.