Back to work: business hires ‘social distancing marshals’ to enforce rules

New rules for workplaces could include an end to ‘hot desking’ and no more chats around the water cooler


A sausage factory has offered staff £1 bonus payments if they stick to social distancing rules, with marshals appointed to enforce the measures.


Declan Ferguson, who runs Finnebrogue Artisan, a luxury sausage maker, said that all of his workers are temperature checked, with those who score highly sent home, and given face masks on arrival at the factory each morning.


They must wear the face masks at all times and also must stay 2m away from colleagues while working. They are rewarded for following the rules.


He told the BBC: “We have introduced a social distancing bonus, so they can get £1 an hour extra if they follow the rules.


“We’ve introduced social distancing marshals who are the policemen on the factory floor to make sure people are following the social distancing rules.”


He said the company was working hard to keep its products on the supermarket shelves and meet demand, at an additional cost of £100,000 a week.


He added: “We have more staff, PPE costs and the bonus, but to keep people safe and to make sure they are willing to come to work is paramount.


“They need to feel safe in their workplace so things like hand sanitiser stations, having doors open so they don’t need to open as many doors and physical markers on the floor are vital.”

The Prime Minister will lay out a road map later this week for how lockdown restrictions will be lifted, with new measures for workplaces expected to be included.


A draft government plan reportedly includes advice to businesses to reduce “hot-desking”, where employees do not have a fixed place of work and instead move around the office, and to stagger shift times.


Businesses could also be asked to split their teams, with some working in the office while others stay home, and discourage chatting around the water cooler.

Plans will also include advice to issue staff with PPE where appropriate, but unions have raised concerns over how this will be supplied to businesses and employers.


By Sam Meadows


4 May 2020