There are some great reasons to work with others together in an office. It’s easy to run ideas by coworkers, teamwork is the norm, and being able to socialize is great for our mental health. However, in the age of COVID-19, going into the office can be stressful and scary.
There are a lot of mixed feelings about returning to the office while coronavirus is still a concern, but it isn’t just coronavirus that we have to worry about. As we all make our way back to the office, we have an opportunity to minimize the spread of many different kinds of diseases as long as we go above and beyond to make the office a healthier place to work.
Keep Things Clean
One of the best things you can do is keep things clean. That includes doing things like:
-Use disinfectant to wipe surfaces
-Provide sanitizing stations for employees
-Clean soft surfaces
-Focus on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
-Create a daily cleaning and disinfecting schedule
Keeping things clean isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be time consuming. Make things easier by assigning everyone cleaning duties that they complete every single day. For example, one person may be responsible for wiping down the refrigerator while another may wipe the handles of meeting rooms in the office.
If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a dedicated cleaning crew or expanding the crew you already have. Provide them with detailed guidelines on everything that needs to be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis.
Expand and Encourage Sick Time
You should encourage your team to take time off. That includes taking vacation time so they can get away from it all for a while, but it also means encouraging them to take time off when they are sick.
Whether it’s just the sniffles, a sore throat, or fatigue, you should encourage your employees to stay home if they don’t feel well to reduce the chances of spreading germs in the office.
That might mean you have to expand the sick time you offer to employees. You may want to consider providing them with more days off or more flexible ways to use their time off. For example, you may want to allow employees to take time off to care for a sick spouse or child.
Some great things can come from working closely with others in your office, but that doesn’t mean you have to be physically close all the time. The closer everyone’s desks are to each other, the more likely it is for germs to spread quickly.
Rearrange your office so desks aren’t so close together. That might include pulling desks apart and leaving space between each one, or it may mean arranging desks around the perimeter of the room instead of in the center.
Barriers between desks can help a lot too. Not only do barriers provide privacy and aid concentration, but they can also contain germs.
Keep Schedules Flexible
Workplaces have learned how to be flexible during the coronavirus outbreak. Many required employees to work from home, some staggered hours, and others moved to a performance-based model of work.
There are a lot of benefits of flexible scheduling for employees. Why not allow them to continue taking advantage of those benefits even after being allowed to return to the office?
If employees still want to work from home full- or part-time, you can reduce the number of people in the office, which reduces the spread of germs. Allowing employees to come in and leave at their leisure (as long as they get their work done or are there for a certain amount of time) can help keep the occupancy of the office low as well.
It has been important for us to learn how to stop the spread of coronavirus, but it’s not just coronavirus we can stop if we know what to do. We can reduce instances of the cold, as well as the flu, which is also a deadly virus.
If your office is still dealing with COVID-19, using masks is a must. Send people home if they aren’t feeling well, encourage handwashing with soap, sinks, and sanitization stations, and consider having everyone work remotely if multiple employees have gotten sick.
Everyone should feel safe going to work. That can be a tall order in the age of COVID-19. When you follow these tips, you can help everyone feel safer during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.