The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
is to keep the germs out in the first place. Follow these coronavirus office safety tips to help your employees stop the virus from spreading at work.
- Educate your staff on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and dedicate additional HR resources to answering their questions about what to do if they become ill, or are exposed to someone who is sick.
- Any employee who feels ill should stay home to prevent spreading germs in the office. Consider implementing flexible sick time policies or additional sick leave to accommodate employees who test positive for coronavirus.
- Minimize physical contact for employees who are high-risk for contracting the virus. Encourage remote work if possible, or provide a more isolated working environment within the office. You can also recommend that employees wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth or personal protective equipment (PPE) while in the office.
Discourage handshaking. It’s almost an involuntary response, especially when doing business, but the CDC strongly advises against handshakes during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Suspend or limit business travel, and follow all CDC travel guidelines, including following proper self-isolation and quarantine procedures for any employee who does travel.
Support employee hygiene by keeping tissues, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant wipes readily available to all employees.
- While thermal cameras in offices and checking temperatures at the door may seem like a good way to scan employees, customers and visitors for fever symptoms associated with COVID-19, keep in mind that this technology requires additional privacy regulations. If you do choose to install thermal cameras for temperature screenings in your office, make sure you are taking extra measures to protect personal data and identity information that may be collected via your thermal video surveillance systems. With temperature scans at entry points, extra sanitation between use is key to prevent possible contamination, and could greatly slow the flow of traffic in and out of your facility.
- Contact tracing helps track, report and isolate cases of coronavirus should it affect anyone in your office or building. With Bluetooth contact tracing technology making tracking and reporting cases faster and more efficient, this can be a valuable asset in preventing transmission as you return to work. In order to protect data and privacy, ensure you are using a system that employs end-to-end encryption and anonymous identifiers.
- Social Distancing in the Office.
- Putting more distance between people has proven to be key to keeping the transmission of COVID-19 under control, for opening up the country again. With social distancing becoming the new normal, we can expect the layout of our offices to change as well. Larger spaces, fewer people, and the advent of the “six-feet office” are all starting to make their way into post-COVID-19 office designs around the world. You can implement similar techniques in your office with the
Following workplace social distancing policies:
- Create flexible worksites that accommodate remote work and telework. Allow for fewer people in the office, reduce on-site meetings, and discourage visitors unless absolutely necessary. Make sure your meeting spaces and workstations are set up with the best technology for remote collaboration.
- Stagger work schedules to minimize the number of employees in a space at one time. You can implement daily staggered shifts, or have a percentage of your staff work remotely for one week, then come into the office the next week. Ensure that thorough cleanings are done between shifts.
- Reconfigure worksites to add more distance between employees. Space desks at least six feet apart, and discourage shared equipment or workstations. You can use physical barriers, like plexiglass or plastic dividers, and floor decals to help guide employees or customers on where to walk to maintain the recommended distance.
- Set lower capacity thresholds for common areas. If you have access to real-time reporting, you can use space management tools to determine the best course of action. You can also automate this process with occupancy management systems that count the number of entries and exits in real-time, and disable access until the number falls below the threshold.
- If possible, offer remote or digital services, and change to curbside pickup and delivery options to minimize physical contact.
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