The most radical change during the coronavirus outbreak was the way we had to change how we work. For people lucky enough to keep their jobs, working from home has become the new normal. But with life slowly coming back to the new normal, a lot of officer are opening again and people are coming back their workplace. Unfortunately, the virus is far from gone and now more than ever we have to be able to protect ourselves and our colleagues from contracting it.
First, how does the virus spread?
While there’s a lot we still don’t know about SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, we do know it spreads most effectively from person to person in droplet form. Infected people emit these droplets when they sneeze, cough, and even speak.
Those droplets can be transmitted directly through the air — say when an infectious person coughs in the direction of someone else close by — or they can settle on surfaces, where they can remain viable for hours.
What does this mean for office workers?
Often the workspace is cramped with people which makes it hard to social distance thus it’s easier to contract the virus in a tight space. It is common for workers to have a communal kitchen where they use the same electric appliances.
The social contacts – meetings, team networking is also an increased risk of getting the virus.
There are many ways employers and employees can work together to make their space safer.
What should business do to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
Business should routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs. It is best to provide employees with disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before each use. Employees who get sick should actively be encouraged to stay home until they get better.
Employers should ensure that their sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are well away of these policies.
Tips for workers to protect themselves and their colleagues:
– Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
– Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
– If you use a tissue, discard immediately and wash your hands afterward.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
– Avoid contact with people who are sick.
– Stay home if you are sick.
– Avoid high-touch areas, including handrails and public transit poles. Ensure you clean your hands and avoid touching your face after touching a high-touch surface.
– Wash your clothes as soon as you get home.