In the first few months after COVID-19 came on the scene, there was a lot of uncertainty and fear regarding what precautions should be taken to protect people from contracting the virus. Many employers have taken the step of having their employees work from home. Now that some employees are returning to work, office managers are working to ensure that their offices are as safe as possible for employees. Here are four COVID-19 precautions to implement in your office.
1. Keep Your Office Fully Clean and Disinfected
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined what it means to keep an office space clean. It must be clean, disinfected, and sanitized. People use these terms interchangeably, but they don’t all mean the same thing.
Cleaning your office is where you get rid of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. You will use soap, detergent, other cleaning products, and water. It is important to note that cleaning does not destroy germs. It lowers their numbers, thereby minimizing their ability to spread infection.
Next, you should disinfect your office. There are several EPA-registered disinfectants. These are chemicals that kill germs on surfaces. A disinfectant does not necessarily clean the dirt off the surface, but it removes germs. For this reason, disinfectants should be used after cleaning a surface. They can lower the infection risk even further.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on a surface even further, bringing an object to a safe level. When these three processes are followed, the risk of COVID-19 contamination is extremely low.
2. Design a Support System
One of the best ways to support employees returning to the office is to follow pandemic best practices. These include implementing post-COVID office design trends that encourage social distancing.
Employees are responsible for thinking about the best way to utilize space. If possible, leave six feet of space between employees. Install physical barriers to minimize the transmission of airborne germs.
The idea of office space has changed. People are fearful of being in office environments. The support system an employer creates will be vital to minimizing that fear and making the transition easier.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on the mental health of workers. Employees may show signs of anxiety. To help counter this, some employers are including mental health and wellness services for their returning employees.
3. Create a Post-COVID Blueprint
As more information comes to light about the virus and the best techniques to address the risk associated with it, you will need to update your office blueprint. This involves creating an action plan for a safe work environment that protects customers and employees from any risk connected to COVID-19. This includes exposure and transmission. This blueprint needs to evolve constantly. Although employers and employees alike may have a sense of urgency to quickly get things back to normal, creating a blueprint and then revising these practices as the need arises are critical steps for a safe and stable return to the office.
4. Improve Ventilation
Regularly cleaning surfaces is good. However, cleaning the air is of greater importance when reducing the risk of virus transmission. Most covert infections happen via indoor air transmission.
Spraying disinfectants into the air is counterproductive and can hurt people. The key to making the air safer to breathe is to improve ventilation and filtration. These are the two tools that have been shown to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk.
Helping employees return to their offices safely and confidently during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge. Thankfully, employers can make the challenge a little less complicated by developing and implementing plans for sanitation and addressing the emotional needs of their employees.
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