Although many people in the UK have just entered another lockdown, the government has announced that those who work in other people’s homes (e.g. cleaners, nannies & tradespeople) are allowed to continue under the new restrictions.
This is a huge relief for both businesses and the wider public, who rely on in-home services (such as childcare). However, if you are still having workers into your home, there are a few key things you can do to make the experience as safe and secure as possible for everyone involved.
Here are our 7 tips on how to keep Covid-secure when having people work in your home:
1. Communicate ahead of time
Before you invite someone to work in your home, make sure that you speak to them about what measures you will both be taking to ensure everyone stays safe. Keep an open line of communication so that everyone understands the arrangement ahead of time.
Many in-home service providers are mandated by the government guidelines to wear a mask in your home (nannies are not), however even if it’s optional, you may prefer them to. So along with mask-wearing, if there are certain things that would make either of you feel more comfortable, you should discuss this beforehand so that you’re both prepared before the job.
At Bubble, we issue clear guidance to parents and sitters on how to ensure safe sits – for more information, click here.
2. Avoid public transport where possible.
One question you might want to ask is about how the worker will be coming to and from your home – if possible, it is always best for them to walk, cycle or come in their own private vehicle. This may mean discussing parking or finding somewhere for them to put their bicycle.
3. Ventilate as much as you can
In closed environments, ventilation can help to prevent coronavirus from spreading. Make sure that there is fresh, clean air in your home by keeping doors and windows open as much as possible whilst others are working there.
4. Practice impeccable hygiene
As a minimum requirement, you should follow all the standard hygiene guidance recommended by the NHS (e.g. hand washing and covering your nose/mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing). To make this easier for workers coming into your home, let them know where the sink is or offer them some hand sanitizer to use after entering your home.
Anyone coming into your home should sanitise their hands as soon as they arrive, and it’s best for them to remove their shoes and coats as well.
It is also a good idea to clean surfaces that are being touched a lot (e.g. tables, countertops and door handles) before people arrive and immediately after they go.
If possible, it’s a good idea to ask the workers to bring their own food/drinks (e.g. tea, coffee or a bottle of water) if they need them. Although there are times when you may still need to offer a drink or snack, reducing these as much as possible can help to minimise any possible spread of the virus.
5. Minimise contact
In some in-home jobs social distancing may be difficult to maintain, however both you and the person coming into your home should do as much as you can to reduce physical contact. It’s recommended that you keep a distance where possible, and ensure that there aren’t too many people in your home at one time.
You should try to leave internal doors open as much as possible, to minimise contact with door handles when people come into your home.
Obviously for nannies and babysitters, maintaining social distancing with children is impossible, but adults and their nannies should do their best to stay two meters apart.
6. Use Track and Trace
In order to reduce the spread of Covid, it is a good idea for both you and the workers coming into your home to download the NHS COVID-19 app for contact tracing. This will ensure that if anyone develops symptoms everyone they’ve been in contact with is notified and told to self-isolate.
Where possible, it may be a good idea to book the same workers if the job is repetitive. For example, if you’re booking in-home childcare you may want to arrange for the same one or two nannies to come over, rather than booking different people every time.
7. Don’t be afraid to cancel
Although all of the above guidance will help to keep Covid-secure when having people work in your home, you should never hesitate to cancel or reschedule in-home work if you or the workers are concerned about their health or have coronavirus symptoms. If one of you develops Covid symptoms (before, during or after the job), you should inform the other person and take the appropriate course of action (e.g. self-isolation). We know that we hate to let each other down, especially at short notice, but ultimately, everyone’s safety is always paramount.