AD – This post is in conjunction with Local Heroes, but all thoughts are my own
If you’ve been around these parts for long enough, then you’ll know I’ve had an office built in my garden. I’ve blogged about it a number of times (and I just don’t stop talking about it… sorry) and have shared some home decor style posts as well as how having my own dedicated space will positives impact my career. But what I haven’t shared is my experience with actually getting the thing built and having tradespeople in our home during the pandemic.
Local Heroes are on a mission to educate people on staying safe when a tradesperson needs to visit their home. We don’t have any control over when our boiler breaks or when our guttering is leaking (we’ve had that problem this year!) And COVID isn’t going to stop just because you’ve got a leaky gutter.
They have created a great Tradespeople & COVID-19 guide on approaching tradespeople during the current climate but today I want to share my own experience with having tradespeople in and around our home during the pandemic and some tips of things that we did ourselves in order to keep everyone involved safe.
A quick look at how I had a garden office built during the pandemic:
My garden office project and renovation has been seriously drawn out. It actually started wayyyy back in February of 2020. Before all hell broke loose here in the UK and we weren’t aware of how serious this virus was going to become. We knew this company, run by a son (Lee) and Dad (big Lee) who had previously done our driveway. We liked them, they lived close by and they’re lovely blokes, so we asked them to do my office
Lee came over in February to chat with me about what I wanted and based on that visit, we should have been ready to get started in March. My office was supposed to be complete by April 2020. May at the latest.
Then COVID happened.
No progress was made for months. Lee wasn’t working, we were in such a strict lockdown and we didn’t want people in our house either. It was at the time at the start of the pandemic when everyone was seriously scared of the cases and fatalities rolling in day after day.
By the Summer, when things had settled down, we agreed with our builders that we were happy for them to make a start. Luckily for us, my office is a standalone structure in the garden, so they didn’t have any need to come in the actual house, which made us all feel a lot better.
And here we are, March 2021. Over a year after my office was supposed to have been started and we’ve ONLY JUST finished it. Due to the restrictions and various lockdowns, it hasn’t been a quick process. But we made it. And we all came out the other side safely and healthily. In fact, nobody in my household has had COVID!
How can I stay safe when tradespeople are in my home?
Most of us have enough common sense to know what to do and how to act in this situation but in such a strange situation that none of us have ever been in before, it can be easy to forget at times and get a little overwhelmed. Because let’s face it, this is alien to all of us!
Here are some tips for various things you can do before, during and after tradespeople are in your home. Some of these tips will be common sense, others suggested by Local Heroes and a few which we have done ourselves that I thought I would share:
What can I do before the visit?
Air out the rooms: This is something that we have done ourselves and that’s leave our patio doors open before and during the visit. Even if it’s freezing, allowing the air to circulate and can help.
Wipe down surfaces and door handles: We’re not only trying to keep ourselves safe so it’s important to wipe any door handles or surfaces that our tradespeople might have to touch before they arrive. Don’t forget the doorbell!
What can I do during the visit?
Always wear a mask: Keep your mask on for the duration of the visit. And ensure the tradesperson is also wearing a mask. Don’t forget that you’re both within your right to ask the other person to wear one.
Keep a safe distance: Although this might be hard, depending on the problem at hand, try and ensure you’re keeping a safe distance at all times.
Don’t shake hands: We need to remember what we SHOULDN’T do as well, in this situation. Shaking hands on arrival is definitely off the cards. That’s not the only way to be friendly and polite!
Don’t offer them food or drink: I know this might seem against what you think you should do as it’s SO natural to us (especially us Brits with our tea) but you shouldn’t allow the tradespeople to drink or eat from your plates / mugs.
Stay in another room whilst they’re working (if possible): This will not only give them space to do their job but it’ll also ensure you’re definitely a safe distance potentially with a wall between you for extra precaution.
What can I do after the visit?
Wipe any surface they touched: Another common sense point but definitely something that can be easy to forget at times. Make sure you use an anti-bacterial wipe as well.
Have a deep clean: No judgment here. If you feel safer having a massive deep clean after someone else has been in your house, go for it. Whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Pay them afterwards via bank transfer (if possible): I know this isn’t ALWAYS possible but to avoid physical money changing hands, it might be worth arranging a safer bank transfer with them instead.
It’s also worth remembering that in situations like this, you are in control. If it’s not an emergency and you’re not feeling comfortable, then you can rearrange your appointment. You can keep a big a distance as YOU want to and you should never feel rude for not being social right now. They’ll understand!