Establishing a Covid Policy for Site Visits Post-Lockdown

Establishing a Covid Policy for Site Visits Post-Lockdown

As we learn to live with Covid what does this mean for field service and maintenance teams as restrictions are lifted? This blog considers the key things you need to know for establishing a site visit policy as we embrace a new normal.

During the pandemic, field service maintenance companies have faced the biggest crisis in service delivery since wartime. Businesses have battled with lockdowns, travel bans and a constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 restrictions. Establishing a revised policy for site visits was one of the first essentials when coronavirus hit.

Since then, field service businesses have had to constantly risk assess for site visits to reduce COVID-19 transmission and keep employees, contractors, customers and the public safe.

Do Field Services Organisations Still Need a Covid Policy?

In short, YES. It’s not time to throw caution to the wind just yet. COVID is still with us, and additional safety mitigations, although no longer a legal requirement, are essential. Without them, companies could lose business and put customers and staff at risk. Remember, many people are feeling uncertain right now. Customers will still want to know that engineer visits are being carried out safely. One way you can achieve this is with our COVID-19 mobile forms.

As an employer and business, you must always protect staff and customers from harm. A COVID policy is just as important for your engineers. Field technician safety is a vital deliverable – business continuity will be hampered if staff are off sick with COVID-19. Let’s not forget that field service engineers are on the front line. They need to hear that you are continuing to do everything you can to keep them protected, as well as customers.


What Preventative Measures Should Field Services Staff Be Taking?

Since the pandemic, field service organisations have improved their cleaning and sanitising procedures, implemented physical distancing measures, provided additional personal protective equipment (PPE), offered staff training on how to safely interact with customers, and provided regular employee wellness checks.

Ideally, all the above measures should continue. Here’s a tick list of sensible preventative measures to keep in place:

  • All staff to take lateral flow tests twice weekly (this is no longer available free from the government, but employers can consider buying tests or paying an approved provider)
  • Continue to wear disposable face coverings, gloves, and other essential personal protective equipment/clothing for site visits/indoors
  • Carry a disposable mat and place tools on the mat while working
  • Continue with rigorous cleaning and sanitising procedures
  • Continue to minimise contact and operate social distancing where possible
  • Ensure adequate ventilation indoors, such as opening windows
  • Avoid handshakes, use hand sanitiser and wash hands more frequently
  • Avoid paper – offer electronic reports, agreements and invoices

What Else Can Be Done to Ensure Safety?

  • Keep ‘bubble’ teams (same people, working with each other)
  • Offer training so staff understand changes to government guidelines and why you are continuing to adhere to any extra safety measures
  • Prioritise the health and well-being of teams
  • Monitor compliance and address any violations quickly – Joblogic’s mobile forms offer an effective solution
  • Keep up to date with industry best practice
  • Reduce site visits where possible:
    – is a site visit absolutely necessary? Are you able to offer remote diagnostics?
    – look at real-time data and historical trends to determine the health of each asset and consider moving to a predictive maintenance model
    – strive for first visit resolution (review processes to dispatch the right technicians)
    – streamline operations with field service management software
  • Continue to communicate with your customers to illustrate how you will ensure a safe working environment even though restrictions are easing
  • Embrace technology and use data to drive decision-making to improve workflow and support safety protocol compliance
  • Review how you communicate with employees – for example, use an engineer App so field staff are able to receive their jobs remotely, without having to make trips to the office to collect or return paperwork
  • Listen to your customers and be sure to address any concerns
  • Celebrate safety wins – shout about your successes! Customer testimonials offer reassurance to others

What Should Be in a Site Visit Policy? 

The key aim of a COVID site visit policy is to reassure customers that the risks for virus transmission are minimised and that work will be carried out in such a way that staff and customers are kept safe. 

Joblogic covid mobile forms

Several important questions should be answered in your site policy. These include:

  • What are the main changes to your site visits now?
  • What are you doing to assess risks?
  • Will your technicians be wearing appropriate PPE, such as masks?*
  • Will you still visit if the customer has COVID-19 symptoms?
  • What is the company’s policy for staff who have COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Will a 2-metre social distancing rule still be applied?
  • What indoor areas will you need access to?
  • What will happen during the site visit?

*According to the latest government advice, people are still advised to wear masks in crowded and indoor spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Additional Information for Vulnerable Customers

Be sure to include information about what customers should do if they are at high-risk from COVID-19, and provide reassurance about the safety mitigations in place to protect them. Emergency repairs still need to be carried out, along with regular maintenance to prevent problems occurring further down the line.

Where somebody may consider themselves to be at higher risk, consider making prior arrangements to avoid face-to-face contact if possible.

Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading and facial expressions.

How to Prepare for an Engineer Visit

Make sure customers are aware of what they can do to prepare for a site visit. Consider pre-visit calls from engineers or the back office, and/or direct customers to your website so they can see your site visit policy in advance.

Industries such as commercial cleaning would also do well to establish a clear policy for customers regarding visits. We cater for a wide range of specific cleaning services such as:

We would encourage all businesses to take this into consideration when sending field staff or engineers on site visits.

Over the past two years the nation’s psyche has been ravaged. Many people have lost loved ones and the grief is still raw. Some are still recovering from the virus. Others, including the vulnerable, have suffered from isolation.

The pandemic has affected us all, both personally and professionally, and it isn’t over yet. Maintaining safety protocols is vital to protect health and reassure customers and staff. It has implications for future recruitment, potential new customers, and both existing staff and customer retention too.

As we tentatively step into a new normal, learning to live with the virus and hopefully beyond, there is now an enormous opportunity for change. Better health and safety, improved employee well-being, a greater focus on compliance, and effective and efficient workflows are emerging as new priorities for the post-COVID world.

Establishing a robust policy for site visits is essential, and a good place to begin. Communication with all stakeholders is also key to ensure health and safety compliance.

Get in touch to find out how Joblogic can help minimise safety risks during your technician’s site visits and help you serve your customers better.

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