During recent months, the COVID situation changed the way we used to do things.
Everybody has become increasingly aware of the risks involved, and of the importance of staying as safe and as healthy as possible.
This also applies to the workplace.
Many businesses have introduced remote working systems to compensate.
However, in case you still have employees physically coming to work at your place of business, it is important to implement certain rules and measures to deal with this unprecedented situation and avoid contagion.
Here are some important ways to keep your office COVID safe.
Cleaning & Disinfection
Proper cleaning and disinfection routines are key to reduce the risk of the viral count of COVID-19 on the various surface areas and other objects in your office.
You need to make sure that the office environment is as clean as possible, and so cleaning and disinfection needs to be carried out often, and several times a day.
First of all, it is important to clean properly before starting any disinfection routine.
The cleaning procedure needs to be carried out with water, soap or detergent, so as to remove any particles.
This will help to reduce the viral load before the disinfection procedure commences, and will help the disinfectant to work more effectively.
High touch areas need to be cleaned and disinfected often.
This includes light switches, door knobs, handles, desks, tables and chairs, remote controls, touchscreens, phone receivers, elevator buttons, toilets and sinks.
All electronic equipment and machines should also be wiped often.
The indoor air quality of your office is also very important at this time.
The spread of germs and disease in your office could be caused by the ventilation systems in your office.
We need to make it a point that we are breathing cleaner air, and hence the ventilation systems need to be well maintained and cleaned.
There should be proper ventilation and filtration systems so as to manage to filter, dilute as well as effectively remove any pathogens.
You may wish to start off by conducting an air quality assessment in your office.
A professional will be able to test and design a ventilation system that will improve the effectiveness of your current HVAC system so as to support improved air quality.
Some changes may need to be made with regards to the filtration.
We have been hearing this phrase over and over again lately, but its importance can never be emphasised strongly enough during a pandemic.
Indeed social distancing is key to reducing the spread.
Ideally, remote working is implemented whenever possible.
But in case you require on-premise employees, make sure that you can implement social distancing between them.
Start by limiting who comes to the office.
Establishing a schedule with staggered shifts or flexible hours is a great way to do this.
This is also helpful in managing to accommodate enough time for cleaning and disinfection to be carried out from one shift to another.
Assign a specific floor space to each employee.
Marking this on the floor is a good way to ensure that that particular space is reserved for a particular employee only.
You may use floor tape or paint to do this.
This may require updating the office layout, implementing revised seating arrangements, or setting up partitions between desks.
Any meetings should be held online.
For the time being it is certainly highly advisable to stick to virtual meetings rather than having traditional physical meetings with several people in one room.
Signs placed all around the office will help to keep everyone aware of the importance of certain rules and regulations.
You will be able to find lots of printable materials, posters and other signs that you can use.
It is important that there is always a proper supply of hand sanitisers, disinfectant wipes, as well as personal protective equipment for your employees to use at the office.
You may wish to consider investing in touch-reducing amenities.
This can include motion sensor lights, swinging doors and hands-free amenities.
Control measures during break times are also very important.
You need to ensure that your employees understand the importance of maintaining social distance at all times.
It may be best to stagger or extend break times so as to limit the number of people using certain facilities such as the canteen.
You may wish to increase the break areas by utilising other rooms in the business premises, or outdoors.
Toilet facilities that are safe to access are your legal responsibility, and at this time their cleanliness is even more important than ever before.
In case static facilities are less than 2 metres apart put them out of use.
Place markings on the floor to help people keep the right distances from each other in case more than one person is in the same bathroom.
Ideally there should be a system where only one person is allowed to enter at any one time.
A no sharing policy is of the essence these days.
This means that any stationery and equipment should ideally be used by the same person.
This also includes documents and files.
Try to implement a policy where emails or messages are sent virtually, rather than printed and handed over from one employee to another.
The COVID situation has changed our lives dramatically.
While it is certainly not an easy situation, we have to implement certain measures and rules so as to improve everyone’s safety and reduce the spread.
We are all responsible to do our share.
Everyone’s input matters here, because even if one person decides to be irresponsible or careless, the virus can easily end up spreading to fellow colleagues.
We surely do not want that to happen.
After all these months, one can say that we have all become much more careful so as to safeguard one another and hopefully make our places of work safer for us all.