Property and Infrastructure Specialists

Is your workplace ready?

Between the time it takes for me to draft this column and it reaching your inbox, much could change - such is the nature of the surreal world we now live in.
Is your workplace ready?

Only a few short weeks ago our attention was focused on temporary medical clinics and other aspects of supporting an overburdened hospital system. Now the attention has turned firmly to a return to work, and what that might look like. 

This is something that’s already been occupying our minds and APP have been talking with various employers and schools about mitigation measures to deal with the long-term realities of COVID-19 as office workers, teachers and others come back to work, school or other occupations. Now the Federal Government have announced guidelines for offices and other workplaces through Safe Work Australia.

These are going to have far reaching implications for every type of workplace – not just in terms of the obvious sanitary measures required of employers but also in terms of the physical layout of offices (with more space per person now required), the ban on hotdesking (for the time being anyway) and a wide ranging set of measures about the material choices and designs of workplace fixtures, fittings and common areas. It’s a long list. 

APP’s readiness to work with clients on helping with their workplace risk assessments outlined under Safe Work Australia is thanks mainly to the amount of groundwork we’ve already put into this. The Safe Work Australia guidelines provide some helpful boundaries, but they are also extensive. You can view them here. For many companies, there will be plenty of other things to occupy their minds as they rebuild their businesses. APP’s service encompasses conduct of the risk assessments, reporting on recommended compliance actions, and managing the actions, delivery and costs that result from that. It has much in common with what APP’s national program solutions business has been delivering for widely different client types in the years prior to COVID-19. That just adds another dimension to the compliance obligation. 

And being a workplace safety issue, compliance is now not an option – it is a requirement. Property owners and national occupiers alike will need to satisfy these new compliance obligations, as will smaller organisations like schools which are also workplaces for teachers and academic staff. Indeed, all types of workplaces are now implicated but some more so than others.

The impact across property markets nationally is going to be both unprecedented and profound. 

For a more expansive discussion on the lasting impacts on Australian cities as a result of COVID-19, please watch my interview by Smart Cities Council Chief Executive Adam Beck via Bounce Lab. You can view it here.