More staff working from home as Covid cases rise

STAFF at major employers are moving to work from home, as Covid-19 case active numbers rise past 700 for the first time.


Case numbers in the Bailiwick have continued their sharp upward trajectory, with 155 new cases and 63 recoveries reported yesterday, taking the total number of active cases to 748.

As the pandemic worsens, businesses have changed their practices and been impacted.

The States of Guernsey is splitting teams and staff are wearing masks in meetings.

Healthspan chief executive officer Martin Talbot said the company was working hard to ensure all employees were safe.

‘We have implemented a policy that everyone can work from home if they feel more comfortable to, plus we do ask that they work from home if they’re showing even minor cold symptoms, until they are feeling better and have had two negative tests,’ he said.

‘Regarding travel, we first determine whether the business travel is essential, and if so, working from home for two days upon return is necessary.’

Not all staff are able to work from home though.

Norman Piette Group CEO John Bampkin said they were facing a range of challenges.

‘We are being affected mainly through staff being contact traced or because they are having to look after children,’ he said.

‘Earlier this week we had no staff in our showroom department simply because of children being sent home from school. Customers are echoing these views. Deliveries are being postponed for similar reasons.’

Chamber of Commerce president Elaine Gray said that businesses were expecting some disruption, although at this stage there was no drive for action to be taken regarding closing or working from home.

‘So far, people seem to be managing and living with it.’

Butterfield said it was not currently splitting teams, but that its work-from-home policy meant its offices are rarely at full capacity. Staff have been enabled to work from home for up to two days a week since the second lockdown, said a spokeswoman.

‘Any employee that does not feel comfortable in the office is able to WFH where possible,’ she said.

Specsavers is another major Guernsey employer.

‘While we support flexible working arrangements, the majority of colleagues are working from our offices,’ the company confirmed.

‘With the overall space and layout we have within our offices, colleagues are able to maintain good social distancing. Where required we have split our teams and this will be kept under review in the weeks/months to come.’

Sure HR director Lucienne De La Mare said protecting the health and wellbeing of colleagues was its top priority.

Team members who had to visit customers were taking extra care, she added.

‘They wear masks whenever possible and have a checklist of questions to work through with customers before we’ll make a visit. Our retail team are also wearing masks.’

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