The COVID-19 crisis has affected almost every part of our lives, and one of the most affected areas is the workplace. How can we keep our offices protected from COVID, reassure employees that it’s a safe environment, and be as hygienic as possible?
Lots of people are now working from home as a result of the pandemic, minimising their contact with others and the chance of infection. However, for many jobs — and entire industries, in fact — working from home isn’t an option.
For these people, it’s vital to ensure that the office is as clean as possible to prevent the spread of the virus and that all necessary steps are taken to keep employees safe and healthy. Employee safety must always be a priority.
Fortunately, there are a lot companies can do to minimise this risk, and the good news is that most companies are succeeding. 80% of employees say that leadership has acted proactively to protect their health and safety.
Still, there are a lot companies can do to maximise hygiene. In this post, we’ll take a look at just a few important steps you can take to keep your employees safe in the crisis.
Keep Physical Contact to a Minimum
Giving up human contact feels strange and even goes against our nature. But social distancing is also one of the most effective ways to protect against the virus. In the workplace, we can encourage social distancing in a number of ways, such as:
Space out desks, chairs, meeting rooms, eating areas, and anywhere where employees are in close contact
- Encourage staff to work from home where possible
- Discourage handshakes, hugs, and other such contact
- Limit business travel, meetings, and events
- High-risk employees should stay at home
This can require some re-organization of the office and a bit of furniture Tetris, but it’s been proven to slow the spread of the virus significantly is a major step towards ensuring a safe and COVID-free workplace.
Give Employees the Materials to Stay Clean
One simple thing all offices can do is provide the materials employees (and everyone else in the building) need to stay as clean and sanitary as possible. This includes:
- Hand sanitiser. Soap and water are ideal, and hand sanitiser should be at least 60% alcohol.
- Disinfectant wipes
Make sure staying maximally clean is as easy as possible. Don’t put the burden on staff — make sure everything they need is provided and easy to access. Most household disinfectants should be fine for most cleaning jobs, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Masks are something of a grey area, here. The World Health Organization recommends masks in some situations, such as for high-risk people. Some types of role, for example, those with lots of face-to-face contact with the public, may also be better with a mask.
Post Reminders Around the Office
This is a simple but impactful step — simply place posters and reminder signs around the office to let employees know they should be social distancing, avoiding touching surfaces where possible, disinfecting their equipment and washing their hands regularly, and paying attention to how they feel.
It’s easy to forget these little actions, even in the middle of a pandemic, and signs can make all the difference in helping everyone remember to stay safe.
Encourage Employees to Stay at Home if They Feel Sick
Employees should be well aware of the symptoms and warning signs of COVID-19 and be encouraged to stay at home if there is even a chance they might be infected. It’s important to let everyone at the company know that it isn’t just OK to take time off in this case, it’s their duty.
Companies can also consider offering extra sick leave for COVID-19 patients and doing everything they can to let workers know that taking time off is supported by the company.
Limit Touching Surfaces Where Possible
Research shows that COVID-19 can survive for up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. This means it’s imperative to keep your office surfaces sparkling clean, but also to avoid touching them as much as possible. Here are some ways to do that:
- Use automatic doors that respond to motion sensors
- Have lights (for example in bathrooms) come on automatically without the need for a switch
- Use motion-sensors on soap dispensers and taps so employees don’t need to touch them
Keep the Office as Clean as Possible
Last but certainly not least, one of the most effective ways to keep COVID-19 at bay in your office is to do regular, in-depth cleaning. The WHO recommends “regular environmental cleaning and disinfection” as important for all workplaces.
Surfaces should be disinfected, areas like toilets should be kept especially clean, and all steps should be taken to ensure maximum defence against the virus. Pay extra attention to surfaces touched by multiple people, like keyboards, door handles, telephones, and drinking fountains.
The best way to ensure total safety is to work with a team of professionals. They will make sure you’re cleaning all the right areas, not missing any important steps, and using the correct materials for maximum hygiene and safety.
At Tailored Services, we have many years of experience helping companies keep their offices and other workspaces as clean as possible. We’re well-placed to help you prepare for the pandemic and minimise your chances of employee infection.
To find out more about how we can help, get in touch with us for a chat and a free quote.