Coronavirus COVID-19 Employee Guidance

22 September 2020 By Laura Lewis

Originally Published: 04 March 2020
Last Updated: 17 January 2022

COVID-19 remains a serious health risk. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated on any actions we need to take.

You can find out details of how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the government guidance here.

The current advice from the government is if you can work from home, you should work from home, so we are encouraging employees to work from home where possible. The offices will still be open and accessible if required. 

Accessing the Office

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

If you need to access the office:

  • Inform the company (using the UK Teams chat) of when you will be visiting, which office, and how long you expect to be there – we are limiting access 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.
  • Wear a mask in the public areas of the building, as required by Jennings.
  • Follow NewOrbit’s Health & Safety advice around COVID specific measures put in place, lone working and locking up the office safely.
  • Follow the NHS hygiene advice, making sure you wash your hands (or use hand sanitiser) before and after entering the office.
  • Follow social distancing guidance, ensuring you stay at least 2 metres away from others that may be in the building.
  • Do not access the office if you are in a period of self-isolation.

COVID-19 Symptoms & Treatment

The main symptoms of COVID-19 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 or ibuprofen.

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, you need to contact NHS 111 online or by phone. In a medical emergency, call 112 or 999, letting the operator know you might have coronavirus symptoms.

Self-Isolation & Testing

If you experience symptoms

You must immediately self-isolate for a full 10 days (starting from when your symptoms started).

You may be able to stop self-isolating after 5 full days instead of 10 full days if you have two negative lateral flow tests on consecutive days. The first one cannot be taken before the 5th day after your symptoms started (or when you took a test if you have no symptoms), and must be taken at least 24 hours apart.

This means, if your symptoms started on Monday (day 0), you could take a LFT at 12pm on Saturday (day 5), and 12pm on Sunday (day 6) - and if both tests are negative, you could end self-isolation of day 6 (so you have done 5 full days of isolation). 

Members of your household will also need to self-isolate for a full 10 days (unless they are exempt from the need to self-isolate).

You must immediately order a PCR test.

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.

If you test positive, 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 positive for coronavirus, you and your household must complete the isolation period (from when your symptoms started). If after your isolation period you no longer have symptoms (or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia), you can return to your normal routine. If after the isolation period you still have a high temperature or are otherwise unwell, you must continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice.

If you have a negative PCR test, you and your household 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.

If members of your household experience symptoms

If members of your household have symptoms, you must self-isolate for the full isolation period (from when the first person’s symptoms started), even if you do not have symptoms, unless you are exempt.

You are not required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with COVID if any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

You are recommended to take a lateral flow test each day, and must self-isolate if you yourself test positive.

You do not need to order a PCR test yourself unless you develop symptoms. If your test is negative, you should continue to self-isolate for the full isolation period. If your test is positive, you will need to start a further isolation period, beginning when your symptoms started, meaning your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days.

If the member of your household has a negative PCR test, and you do not have symptoms, you can stop self-isolating.

If you have a positive lateral flow test

You are advised to take regular lateral flow tests, especially when you meet people you don’t normally come into contact with, or who are particularly vulnerable.

Lateral flow tests are for those people who do not have symptoms. If you have symptoms, you should order a PCR test.

Currently, if you have a positive lateral flow test, you do not need to have a PCR test to confirm. More detail can be found here

You must report a positive lateral flow test to the government, and also inform NewOrbit.

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 must follow their instructions.

You will need to isolate for the period instructed, even if you do not have symptoms, unless you are exempt.

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

You may be advised to order a PCR test. If you do not have symptoms, members of your household will not have to stay at home. 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 your self-isolation period, you will need to order a PCR test. The isolation period will re-start from when your symptoms started, meaning your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days. Members of your household must also self-isolate from when your symptoms started, unless exempt.

If you test positive, you (and your household unless they are exempt) will need to continue to stay at home (or until your symptoms have passed if longer). You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with and places you have visited.

If you test negative, you must still complete your self-isolation period. Other members of your household do not need to remain in self-isolation if they do not have symptoms.

Informing NewOrbit

You need to inform NewOrbit if you need to self-isolate for any reason. 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.

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.

Currently, you do not need to provide us with medical evidence for the first 28 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

Restrictions around international travel depends on the country you are visiting/returning from and your vaccination status. Please see the government international travel guidance page.

Check the FCO advice for the country you are visiting. Some countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning. Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. Also check if you need to self-isolate.

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

If you are travelling abroad for work, please follow the International Business Travel Policy.

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.

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. 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. 


If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask Laura or email 

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