Practical Women & Covid-19
It is essential that we do this in a safe manner, so that both our customers and our team are protected from transmitting or catching the Covid-19 virus.
At the moment, although the Government has urged those of us unable to work from home to return to work, they have not published any guidelines for working in peoples’ homes. The vast majority of Practical Women’s work is domestic, and so will involve some time spent in people’s homes. We have drawn up the following guidelines to help us return to work. These will be subject to revision on a frequent basis as we respond to feedback from both our customers and our team members.
This is an essential part of the process of returning to work. We will be contacting all our customers individually to discuss the possibility of working in their homes, and the practices we can introduce to make this safe.
It is essential that both we and our customers are able to discuss any concerns at any time. If a customer is not happy with any of our working practices, we will respond immediately to those concerns, and either adapt our working practices, or stop work. By the same token, we will raise any concerns that we have with our customers and work with them to address those issues.
As far as we are concerned, clear communication is key to a return to work.
We intend to carry out preliminary work-assessments with our customers via one of the many video apps currently available to us, where that is possible. This will allow us to discuss any potential issues, or concerns before we set foot in a customer’s house, and so minimise risk.
Symptoms of Covid-19
In accordance with Government guidelines, in any member of the team is showing any of the recognised covid-19 symptoms, or living with someone showing symptoms, or has recently been in contact with someone showing symptoms, they will not be working.
If we have even the slightest suspicion that one of the team may have had contact with the virus, we will err on the side of caution. We do not want to put anyone at risk
We request that our customers keep us informed regarding any changes in their health, where they feel that it may impact on us working in their homes.
Before we start work each day, we will ask our customers if they have concerns about their health. We will also confirm each day, before we enter a customer’s house, that we are fit to work. If there is any doubt, we will not enter a customer’s house.
Access to Homes
Where possible, we will use non-communal entrances to homes e.g. back gardens, side gates etc.
Where we have to use a main entrance way, we will communicate with our customers the best way to minimise contact with them while we are doing this.
Where we are having to carry a number tools & materials into a house, we will try to plan ahead so that we minimise the number of trips that we have to make.
Together with our customers, we will decide which areas of the house will need to be accessed and draw up a plan of action for accessing them, in order to minimise contact. This may involve the customer isolating themselves from us while we are in their house, in order to keep themselves safe.
We would ask that our customers ensure that their children, pets and any other members of their extended household are also kept isolated from us whilst we are in their house, to minimise the risk of any transmission.
We will keep track of areas that we have accessed & objects we have touched, in order to ensure that these are properly cleaned.
We will thoroughly clean areas to which we have had access, but for their own peace of mind, customers may wish to clean the areas themselves after we have left their homes, just to be sure that they are happy that there is no danger of any contamination.
In accordance with Government guidelines, maintaining a physical distance from both the customers and each other is essential. We recognise that this may be difficult to achieve at times.
If customers have any concerns about physical distancing, we would urge them to raise those concerns with us immediately so that we can work together to find a solution.
We will use remote video communication with our customers as much as we can to view potential issues within homes, and decide on strategies with them for managing those issues.
If we feel that the working space is too small for more than one of us to work safely, then only one member of our team will work at any one time. e.g. small bathroom, cupboards etc. Where this is an issue, we may have to postpone work until the situation is easier to manage.
The Practical Women Team will be equipped with a range of PPE to cover as many eventualities as possible. This will include:
- Disposable Gloves
- Washable Face masks
- Hand Sanitiser
- Hand-washing facilities
We will discuss with our customers how we intend to use PPE whilst in their homes, and agree safe working-practices. We will discuss and agree any changes to those working practices before we implement them.
We will discuss options for using customers toilets/hand-washing facilities if that is possible. Where it is, we will also agree a cleaning process to ensure that they are left cleaned and available to the customer at the end of the working day.
If it is not possible, we will find our own solutions, where that does not have a detrimental impact on our ability to work. Where a lack of access to these facilities would have a detrimental effect on our ability to carry out work in a timely manner we will discuss postponing the work with the customer, or try to find other alternatives.
For the time-being we will need to travel separately and maintain physical distance from each other. This may mean that we need to take more vehicles to site than we usually would. We would ask that customers provide us with enough parking permits (where required) to allow this to happen. We completely understand if a customer is unable to do this, and will postpone the work until the situation allows us to reduce the number of vehicles we bring.
Customers will need to be aware that accessing some materials at the moment can be quite difficult. The costs of some materials have also risen. We will discuss these issues with customers where we are aware of them.
The use off PPE, Physical distancing and additional cleaning procedures, will add to the time and therefore the costs of all out projects for the foreseeable future. We will try to minimise these costs as far as we can, but safe working practices are paramount.