Skip to main content

How to Manage Fire Safety in the Workplace Alongside Hybrid Working

5th July 2024

Hybrid working has become the new norm for many businesses, blending remote work with time spent in the office. Approximately 44% of people in the UK engage in hybrid or full-time remote work. While this model offers flexibility and productivity benefits, it also presents unique challenges for maintaining fire safety. For business owners, landlords, and estate agencies, it's crucial to adapt fire safety strategies to ensure the safety of all employees, whether they are working remotely or onsite. Here’s how to manage fire safety effectively in a hybrid working environment.

Understand the New Dynamics

With fewer employees in the office at any given time, traditional fire safety protocols might need adjustment. For instance, evacuation procedures, fire drills, and the maintenance of fire safety equipment must account for variable occupancy levels. Understanding the patterns of when employees are in the office is the first step in ensuring everyone’s safety.

Conduct a Thorough Risk Assessment

A comprehensive fire risk assessment is essential to identify potential hazards in the workplace. This assessment should be updated regularly, especially when there are significant changes in how the office is used. Key elements of a fire risk assessment include:

  • Identifying Fire Hazards: Determine sources of ignition, fuel, and oxygen in the workplace.
  • Evaluating Risks: Assess the likelihood of a fire starting and the potential impact on employees and property.
  • Implementing Control Measures: Establish measures to reduce or eliminate risks, such as installing fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire doors.

Update Fire Safety Procedures

Fire safety procedures must reflect the new hybrid working environment. This includes:

  • Evacuation Plans: Ensure evacuation routes are clear and accessible. Consider how to account for employees who may not be in the office during an emergency.
  • Communication Systems: Maintain robust communication channels to quickly alert all employees, whether they are onsite or remote, in case of a fire.
  • Fire Wardens: Designate and train multiple fire wardens to cover different shifts and days when employees are present in the office.

Regular Maintenance of Fire Safety Equipment

Fire safety equipment must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure it is in good working order. This includes:

  • Fire Alarms and Detectors: Test fire alarms and smoke detectors monthly to ensure they are operational.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Check that fire extinguishers are accessible, fully charged, and in good condition.
  • Emergency Lighting: Ensure emergency lighting is functioning correctly to provide adequate illumination during an evacuation.

Fire Safety Training

Continuous training is essential to ensure all employees understand fire safety protocols. With hybrid working, it’s important to provide flexible training options. Offering online fire safety courses allows employees to complete training remotely, while regular onsite drills help practice evacuation procedures when employees are in the office. Additionally, providing easily accessible informational resources, such as guides and videos, ensures that employees have quick access to fire safety information. This comprehensive approach helps maintain a high level of fire safety awareness and preparedness among all staff members. 

Adapt Office Layouts

Hybrid working might lead to changes in office layouts, such as more open spaces or reconfigured workstations. Ensure these changes do not compromise fire safety by maintaining clear and unobstructed pathways to all exits, strategically placing fire safety equipment in easily accessible locations, and using clear signage to indicate evacuation routes and the locations of fire safety equipment. These adjustments will help maintain a safe environment despite the evolving office configuration.

How Fire Stoppers Can Help

Fire Stoppers specialises in providing comprehensive fire safety solutions tailored to the needs of business owners, landlords, and estate agencies. We offer detailed fire risk assessments to identify and avoid potential hazards, ensuring your workplace is safe and compliant with the latest regulations. Our expert team can assist with the installation and maintenance of fire safety equipment, including alarms, extinguishers, and emergency lighting. Additionally, we provide full, practical fire safety training with experienced fire safety trainers to keep your employees informed and prepared. 

Partner with Fire Stoppers to safeguard your properties and ensure the highest standards of fire safety. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our services.