Covid 19 shook the world early in 2020 with all industries having to pivot and adapt to a new form of normal to allow us to continue operating.
At the moment we are in various stages of reopening and with that comes a new kind of legislation and new health and safety procedures.
Social Distancing and the work environment
The new normal outlined by the Covid 19 act brought in by the UK government dictates that companies must only reopen if they can provide suitable PPE and adhere to social distancing within the workplace. For construction sites this should be easy right? Well not as easy as it might seem given some of the enclosed spaces and number of workers on site but lets leave that bit to the site managers to work out.
For those contracts you get away from the home area there are even more challenges. Where do you stay? Can we share rooms? Can we even stay in the same place? Where can we eat? Is accommodation even open? Will there be more costs involved?
Changes to available accommodation
Working directly in the serviced apartment industry I predict firstly there will be less rooms available mainly due to the fact that many smaller hotels and apartments have closed their doors under the pressures of covid19. Many of the bigger hotel will struggle to reopen with social distancing guideline for instance if you thing of the average hotel corridor – not many are 2 meters wide to ensure safe social distancing. When they first open the hotels will not be able to serve food and drink which is a major factor in choosing where to stay.
Along with less rooms I do predict price increases for clean, safe accommodation due to the extra costs incurred from our own covid policies. Cleaning teams now have to ensure an even higher standard and also keep their own teams safe with PPE which drives cost up. The hospitality industry also has a massive loss to claw back and it is only natural to assume the nightly rates will increase.
Solutions & Recommendations
As we come out of lockdown we need to look at ways to allow the construction industry to thrive. Companies need to be able to bid and tender with reasonable accommodation costs.
My recommendations moving forward are as follows.
- Factor in a slight price increase
- Family teams can share rooms / apartments
- If they are not families create “pods” of workers who will be able to share accommodation.
- No more than 2 team members to one bathroom is recommended.
- Ask for linen drop off rather than full housekeeping to keep the stay non contact.
- Ask your teams to dispose of all litter / rubbish when staying in hotels or apartments as this will help keep costs down for cleaning teams to reduce any further cost spikes
- Provide teams with PPE
- If you are choosing hotels over apartments look in advance to see where the team can get food.
- Do not rely on the accommodation to take full responsibility – please be prepared and know where you are going to and ask any questions in advance.
- Be respectful and adhere to any requests from the accommodation provide as they are doing what they can to keep everyone safe
Prepared by Emma Wolfe.
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