Our Response to COVID-19

Results of Risk Assessment for Return to Work Following COVID-19 Lockdown

Polar Capital continues to closely monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), taking into account guidance from the Public Health England (PHE), the World Health Organisation, the National Health Service (NHS), the UK government and regulators. Throughout this period, the health and wellbeing of our staff, clients and contractors remain our top priority.

On 19 July 2021 England moved to Step 4 of the roadmap, including the removal of most restrictions.

From 19 July most coronavirus restrictions were removed in England and UK government social distancing guidance no longer applies.

Their specific guidance on managing risk can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do. We have assessed the risks associated with returning to work and implemented a series of measures to manage and reduce these risks. Our objective is to ensure a safe return to work that reduces risk to staff, visitors and contractors, complies with government guidance and allows all business activities to resume safely. We will take all staff into consideration, including those who cannot attend the site due to vulnerabilities or caring responsibilities. This activity is under the oversight of the Polar Capital Executive Management Team.

We will continue to maintain a range of measures and working practices to adhere to government guidelines. The key measures are outlined in this document.

I am extremely proud of the professionalism, hard work and co-operative spirit shown by my Polar Capital colleagues, who are committed to ensuring Polar Capital continues to deliver outstanding results throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

There remains the risk of a further wave of infections that could impact our staff. I believe we are well positioned, having built a resilient business, and have shown an ability to adapt while keeping a strong ‘can-do’ culture.

We have all been impacted by the coronavirus and, co-operatively, we will continue to get through it together.

The Risk Assessment

Polar Capital has compiled a comprehensive risk assessment that identifies the risks and outlines the controls that will be maintained to manage and mitigate those risks for the safety of staff, clients and contractors.

COVID-19 is an illness that affects lungs and airways and is the name of the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, severe or fatal. In light of the UK’s successful vaccination programme, we believe COVID-19 poses a medium/low risk to the business and will continue to take precautionary steps to address the risks as COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.

Cleaning, Washing and Hygiene

Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene is essential for preventing the spread of the virus. The following key actions have been taken:

  • We regularly communicate the requirement and importance of maintaining high personal hygiene and frequently washing hands, consistent with government guidance, to all colleagues.
  • We have installed handwashing facilities and alcohol hand sanitisers across all our work locations.
  • We have provided antibacterial wipes and/or spray for colleagues to use on desk areas.
  • We have increased the daytime cleaning schedule to strengthen the cleaning of high touch points and communal areas.
  • We use appropriate viricidal cleaning products and regularly check stock levels to ensure we have adequate supplies.

Attending the Office

All staff are encouraged and expected to return to the office to work from September 2021 in line with government guidelines. Whilst we are no longer required to maintain physical distancing, the following key policies are in place:

  • We request staff and guests not to attend the office and get tested for COVID-19 immediately if they have been in direct contact with an individual with has tested positive for COVID-19 or are feeling any symptoms of the virus.
  • We request all staff and guests who test positive for COVID-19 not to attend the office and isolate in accordance with government guidelines.
  • All staff are permitted and encouraged to attend appointments for COVID vaccinations and/or tests.
  • Unvaccinated staff are required to take a Lateral Flow test on each and every occasion prior to attending the office or work events.
  • Fully vaccinated staff are encouraged to take regular Lateral Flow tests.
  • Staff are also encouraged to wear face coverings in lifts and other crowded areas such as public transport following guidance provided by the relevant organisation.

Working From Home

Whilst staff are all encouraged to return to the office from September 2021, staff may work from home periodically. We have put the following in place to support them:

  • Specific IT equipment requirements for staff have been identified and equipment purchased as necessary to enable working from home.
  • Staff have been allocated an appropriate budget to purchase office furniture for homeworking to ensure working from home can be done in comfort and safety.
  • All homeworking staff are required to complete display screen equipment training and home working training.
  • Following homeworking risk self-assessments, equipment requirements have been identified and addressed for homeworking staff where necessary.

Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing

Management has promoted mental health and wellbeing awareness to staff, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak and will continue to offer support, including:

  • Promotion of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to all staff with access to a wide range of support materials including a telephone advice line, counselling sessions, etc.
  • Promotion of paid, anonymous therapy sessions to staff members with a company-appointed psychotherapist.
  • Monitoring wellbeing of colleagues who are working from home and helping them stay connected to assist their wellbeing.

We hope this document provides assurance that at Polar Capital, we are doing everything we can to protect our colleagues. If you need more information, please get in touch.