Wellbeing during Coronavirus – Protect Yourself & Others

Throughout the COVID pandemic, Hub Framework partner, Wates, have led the industry in rapidly developing and continually evolving safe and sustainable practices and procedures in order to comply with the new Site Operating Procedures V4 (SOP).


Sir James Wates, Chairman Wates Group and a past president of the CIOB


On 23rd March 2020, Wates paused their sites across the country for 48 hours in order to develop a group wide strategy and set of revised procedures to safely re-open their sites following the Lockdown implementation, ensuring that they maintained the highest levels of productivity whilst complying with the strict requirements of social distancing at the earliest possible opportunity. Key areas that required adjustment were:

• Increasing the size of welfare facilities to allow social distancing by spacing out tables and adopting a rota for different sittings.

• One-way systems on sites within the welfare and access on to site; and on staircases and corridors on site

• Use of twilight shifts to reduce numbers on site at any one time

• 2m visual markers throughout site to remind all operatives on social distancing rules

• Introduction of a COVID-19 permit to work within 2m, with specific RAMS

• Increased cleaning regime of welfare and office facilities

• Development of new site operating procedures

The quick decisive action that was taken has resulted in all sites in the North West staying operational and Wates are now achieving their planned productivity levels set pre-Covid-19, despite social distancing rules. To maintain their leading position, they are working alongside their customers to focus resources on the projects and contracts already in progress. Existing protocols established with the supply chain to ensure the continuity of supply of essential products and materials have been reviewed and extended to those regions most impacted by the virus. As far as possible, alternative sources of products and materials that are in short supply have been identified.


TRAVEL TO SITE ALONE – If you must use public transport, maintain 2M SOCIAL DISTANCES AT ALL TIMES. If this is not possible then use alternative means of transport to site.

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE – AT LEAST TWO METRES APART – Non-essential physical work that requires close contact MUST NOT be carried out.  

STAGGER WORK TIMES AND BREAKS – And have dedicated eating areas. All food must be pre-prepared.

ESSENTIAL VISITORS TO SITE ONLY – Strictly NO ACCESS to anyone who is not carrying out essential works. This includes customers and visiting supply chain management.

LIMIT MEETINGS AND INDUCTIONS – If ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY only, hold meetings in open areas and keep attendees to a critical minimum, keeping at least two metres apart.

SANITISE TOUCHPOINTS – Regularly clean and sanitise touchpoints including entry systems, doors, handles, taps, handrails, machinery, equipment, telephones, and keyboards.

AVOID LIFTS, HOISTS AND CONFINED SPACES – Use stairs instead but where necessary, lower capacity in lifts and hoists.

ENHANCE CLEANING PROCEDURES – For toilets, changing rooms, shower facilities and welfare spaces.

MORE BINS IN BETTER PLACES – Make sure there are plenty of accessible bins, and that these are emptied regularly throughout the day.

INCREASE VENTILATION – In enclosed spaces and open windows.

NEVER SHARE PPE – And ensure it is thoroughly cleaned after each use. Single use PPE must be properly disposed of.

SEND PEOPLE HOME IMMEDIATELY – If they are showing any signs of a cough, sore throat, or fever and ensure they DO NOT return until self-isolation is completed.



1. SOAK UP THE SUN – Lighting can be a major influence on the comfort of your work space. Avoid artificial lighting as it can cause drowsiness. Natural lighting is your best bet for a full day of productivity.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE – Clear away possible distractions if you can and clear away clutter. Ideally, use a quiet room without a TV and with a door you can close.

3. CONTROL TEMPERATURE – An overly warm room makes you sleepy whereas an overly cold room can be distracting. Keep the room at about 25oc – it’s the ideal temp for a productivity zone.

4. USING YOUR KEYBOARD AND SCREEN – Arrange your workspace so that your screen is not directly facing windows/bright lights, to avoid glare or bright reflections. The height and position of your screen should be angled so that you sit comfortably and reflection is minimised. Keep a space in front of your keyboard so you can rest your hands and wrists when not typing, and try to keep wrists straight when you are typing. Position the mouse within easy reach

5. PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE – Make sure all your devices and work equipment is kept clean, including your mobile phone and keyboard – these carry the most germs!

6. INTRODUCE NATURAL WORLD – If you have any indoor plants, move them into your workspace. The presence of plants has a variety of benefits, including lower stress levels and reducing air pollution.

7. BE INSPIRED – Inspirational quotes or pictures, taking a breath of fresh air in the garden and speaking to family or colleagues can really assist creativity and productivity. These sorts of activities can be the positive motivation you need to get through your day.

8. LET THE MUSIC PLAY – If you have any tedious task, make them fun by having your favourite music playing in the background. When it’s time to focus on harder tasks, classical or instrumental music is the way to go.

9. GET YOUR POSITION RIGHT – Make sure there is enough space to accommodate all your documents or other equipment – ideally at a desk or kitchen/dining room table. Make sure there is space under your table or desk to move your legs by positioning your chair so that you can maintain correct posture. Forearms should be approximately horizontal and ideally, your eyes should be the same height as the top of your screen.

10. STAY WELL NOURISHED – Time is wasted heading back and forth to the kitchen all day. Keep healthy snacks at your desk such as nuts, raw veggies, and hummus. Drink water to stay hydrated. Try to stay away from coffee and sugary drinks/snacks that lead to a mid-afternoon slump.

11. GET DRESSED – Lounging around in your PJs all day may sound like heaven but you are more likely to be productive and feel confident when you get dressed for work. Plus, you never know when a customer or colleague might want a surprise video conference call.

12. MOVE AND TAKE BREAKS – Organise or schedule regular rest breaks to prevent fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache. Stretch and change position at least every 30 minutes. Look into the distance from time to time, and blink often. If you’re on a conference call, walk around if you can. Try to keep to your normal work hours, and shut down your equipment at the end of the day.

Always switch your equipment off at the end of the day. Never leave it on standby, switch off at the wall socket!


SMALL ADJUSTMENTS – Acknowledge how you are feeling on a scale from 1-10 – with ‘1’ being the worst you have ever felt, and ‘10’ being the best. What number are you right now and how can you increase it by 1?

IF you’re not OK, that’s OK – There are people out there to support you. Speak to one of the Mental Health First Aiders in the business, or call one of the support lines.

TAKE TIME OUT – Manage your social media and news access. Stick to a trustworthy source and limit how often you check for updates. Step away from the media if you start to feel overwhelmed.

ASK FOR HELP – Think about who can help you, and who you can help. We are in this together.

SELF CARE – Read a funny book, learn something new, paint a picture, do some gardening (if you can) or enjoy some baking. Doing kind and helpful acts for others can help you regain a sense of control over your life and can boost your mental strength.

CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN – Recognise what stressors you can control and have influence over, such as staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, eating the right foods, connecting with people virtually, and getting moving (outside if possible).

BE KIND TO YOURSELF – Go easy on yourself if you don’t get that to-do list done or find yourself experiencing more anxiety than normal.

SHOW GRATITUDE – Being grateful for what and who we have in our lives can put you in a positive state of mind. This could be something as simple as the sun is shining today – it’s a great antidote to fear and anxiety.

STAY IN THE PRESENT – Stay in the present moment as much as possible. Pause and focus on something simple

like cooking, drawing, yoga, reading, running, or juggling. Do whatever works for you. All are forms of meditation – training your brain to think only in the present moment.

STAY CONNECTED – Stay connected as much as you can with loved ones, friends and colleagues. This can reduce

feelings of loneliness and isolation. Even small interactions are important for lifting us, like joining your street in ‘clap for carers’ each week.

GET SOME HEADSPACE – Headspace are offering free resources to everyone under their ‘Weathering the Storm’ section which includes guided meditations, useful animations and toolkits. Visit headspace.com/covid-19

VIRTUAL MEETINGS – Get familiar with Zoom, House Party or other virtual ways of keeping in touch. Be inventive and think of fun ways you can socialise with others, eg. virtual bingo, karaoke or quizzes.

45-10-2 ‘MOVEMENT’ – For optimal wellbeing (aside to recommended exercise guidelines), follow this movement…

MOVE EVERY 45 MINUTES – Reduce lethargy, get bloody flowing and pump oxygen to the brain

10 MINUTES OUTSIDE – Or near an open window to get some Vitamin D

2 MINUTES OF EXERTION – Star jumps, dance to your favourite song… help to eliminate toxins in the body

© North West Construction Hub. Site by Drumbeat