I do hope that this email finds you well?
By way of update, and as you are aware from the ongoing dialogue with your management, current advice for England from government is that those who are able to work from home should continue to do so, where possible, and we have continued to follow this guidance as part of our continually evolving Business Continuity planning. However we are continuing to closely monitor any changes to government guidance for businesses as the lock-down restrictions are eased and specific industries and business sectors are encouraged to re-activate and return to more usual practice.
What is DDCAP doing as part of our Return to the Workplace (RTW) strategy – UK
Senior Executives continue to visit our office London and some are office based increasingly often. A number of actions have already been taken and others are still being taken to ensure that our offices are fit for purpose when we are able, and deem it reasonable, to welcome our personnel back into the workplace. Our RTW strategy will be sufficiently flexible to enable us to adapt and respond to rapidly changing circumstance, whilst also taking note of evolving government recommendations and guidelines and adhering to stipulations or such other measures that may be enforced upon the Group or individually upon its employees by government.
The principal focus of our RTW strategy is to protect the wellbeing of our personnel whilst they are in the workplace. Our reviews are currently encompassing matters relevant to our premises at 8-10 Grosvenor Gardens, including the new measures implemented by our landlord that extend to areas of the premises that we share with other companies. As part of the process of developing and implementing our RTW strategy, within our office space we will:
- Support good hygiene practices, including providing sanitisation units for use by staff and signs that clearly display where hand washing facilities are available.
- Review the impact of increased, routine cleaning and the provision of personal protective equipment (masks and/or gloves) for employees who wish to wear PPE. In that regard, please respond to me directly by email, on or before 20th July, if you wish to be provided with masks or gloves for wear in the office.
- Establish practices for social distancing, using signage and/or floor markings as appropriate.
- Display COVID-19 specific health and safety signs throughout the office and also the communal and shared areas of the 4th floor.
- Segregate seating areas and arrange a plan that adheres to government guidelines excluding, by example, face to face seating. We have already contracted a specialist company which has advised us on the reconfiguration of office space to maintain better social distancing between our employees.
- Phase the return of our staff and operate office based working on a rotational basis . ‘Bubble’ teams will be created to enable employees to work with the same group of colleagues when on office based rota.
Return to the Workplace (RTW) strategy – Overseas
We are continuing to communicate and liaise with Roslan and Cassim in regard to our working practices in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. Whilst complying with the “Recovery Movement Control Order” (measures of which allow almost all social, religious, business and educational activities to resume in stages under strict controls) enforced in KL, Roslan has been meeting clients physically, but outside of our offices, when he feels it necessary or preferable to do so. Meetings take place in accordance with local regulations and with the approval in advance of relevant group directors. A rotational return to office based working will take place in KL in due course.
The DIFC continues to operate at 100% capacity, with necessary changes having been made in the interests of the health and wellbeing of all tenants. Precautionary and social distancing measures remain in place. We have not yet returned to our offices in the DIFC, as we continue to review and create a group-wide RTW strategy where feasible. A rotational return to office based working will also take place.
With the exception of Senior Executives with existing approval to work from the London office and the meetings that I refer to that are taking place in KL, all Group personnel worldwide will continue to work remotely during July until further notice and whilst we complete the preparations necessary for our return to our offices. I and certain of the directors have been notified by various personnel of their wish to return to office based working, on a voluntary basis, as soon as possible. We thank you for this, and for keeping us informed about your individual perspectives. By early August, we envisage that our RTW strategy will be complete and our preparations in place. Thereafter, and always subject to there having been no material adverse change to current conditions in each relevant business location as a result of COVID-19, we expect that we will be positioned to increase the number of staff working in our offices.
This does not infer an immediate return to the office for all staff for the reasons set out above. Our RTW strategy will subsequently be applied to our ongoing, phased return. We will, at all times, retain the flexibility to adapt our business practices and procedures with reference to Group policies and, where relevant and appropriate, to the ongoing actions, guidance and enforcements taken or made by government in the UK and by other authorities relevant to our overseas office locations.
Management will have been communicating with you on an ongoing basis. Employee engagement remains central to our process and I would be interested to receive your responses to, or views about, any of the following:
Do you currently have any caring responsibilities that would prevent you from returning to the office?
Do you wish to disclose any other factors that would prevent you from returning to the office?
Do you consider that working in a shift pattern with the same colleagues so that office based headcount is reduced will assist you to maintain social distancing? Will it assist you to feel more comfortable about the risk of contracting COVID-19 as we return to office based working?
Do you have any other comments or concerns that you would like us to consider that may have relevance to your return to work?
We have requested previously that any staff planning to travel overseas should notify us of their intention to do so and the dates of departure and return. There will be no overseas business travel for the foreseeable future but, as overseas holidays and/or leave is more likely in the coming weeks, it is important that we factor this into business planning, whether staff are working remotely or in office locations. Please notify me, at your earliest convenience of intention to travel overseas and please continue to do so as a mandatory requirement. We must hold this information to enable us to comply with any government stipulation, including quarantine requirements for those returning from overseas, whilst also looking at overseas travel implications for any aspects of our ongoing business operations or RTW strategy.
If you have any questions about the information shared, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. As always, our Executive Directors are also available to answers any questions you may have.
Please stay safe, keep well and please do continue to follow Government advice at all times.