It’s already been a long year with the pandemic impacting just about everything we do. While businesses are opening back up and employees are going back to the office, things are looking a little different.
COVID-19 is still very much around, so mitigation strategies are being enforced that require UK employers to do things like keep onsite employees to a minimum, keep customers and employees 2 metres apart, and put up signs for social distancing.
During the last several months, cloud technology like VoIP and other cloud productivity apps have been a necessity for keeping things running remotely. Many organizations plan to continue keeping as many employees working remotely full or part-time as possible.
But there are some positions and industries that require employees to work from a specific location, at least part of the time. In some cases, people are also missing the interaction with colleagues and the separation of “work” environment from “home” environment.
If you’re returning to the office, you want to do so safely to alleviate any stress about potentially contracting COVID-19. We have several tips below to help!
Safety Strategies to Reduce Your Risk of Coronavirus Infection at Work
You can feel more secure about your work area by deploying a layered safety strategy when you return to the office.
One model that’s been gaining attention worldwide is one that’s been used in hospitals, aviation, and other industries for years to do things like manage infection and mitigate accident risk.
The “Swiss Cheese Model” likens human systems and layers of defenses to slices of Swiss Cheese. Each slice has holes (risks), but when several slices are layered together, the cumulative effect is a reduced number of holes that go through from beginning to end, thus less risk.
Image credit: Cleveland Clinic Return to Work Amid COVID-19 Guide
Following, are the layers you can use to reduce your COVID infection risk when returning to the office.
Wear a Face Mask
Face coverings are already mandatory in many UK shops and environments, and it’s an effective way to add one layer of protection against airborne particles.
Indoor environments are less safe than outdoor environments, so you want to wear a mask whenever you can. Make sure to choose a mask that is comfortable for you, so you’re not inclined to take it off due to discomfort and won’t be distracted by it.
Keep Your Distance
Employers are required to distance employees 2 metres apart (or 1 metre if 2 isn’t possible and there are other risk mitigation strategies.) But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be instances when moving around the office that the 2 metre barrier could be breached.
Stay mindful of that 2 metre mark, and if needed, put tape around your desk to help remind coworkers.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Regular handwashing has been shown to reduce respiratory infections by nearly 20% and diarrhea rates by 40%. It’s an effective layer in helping prevent contraction of coronavirus, the flu, and more.
Soap and water are effective against the virus, and if you can’t get to running water, then keep hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands after touching common surfaces like doorknobs, printer/copier pads, etc.
NOTE: Read the ingredients and check online to ensure a hand sanitizer is safe. Unfortunately, there have been several recalled due to using unsafe ingredients such as methanol.
Keep Your Workstation & Equipment Disinfected
While your employer may be providing nightly disinfecting of the office, you can be absolutely sure your workstation and work area are clean by doing some sanitizing of your own.
For non-electronic surfaces, you can use a cleaner that includes bleach.
For electronic surfaces:
• Use a solution of at least 70% isopropyl alcohol
• Use a microfiber cloth or wand
• Do not use bleach or water to clean electronic devices
• Allow alcohol solution to sit at least 30 seconds before wiping surface
Use a Desk Shield
One other effective layer of protection is to use a desk shield around your work area. As you can imagine, these have exploded in popularity and are being used by schools, restaurants, and other businesses to help reduce the risk of COVID spread.
You can easily find these online at marketplaces like Amazon and can also find do-it-yourself videos online for creating desk shields out of PVC piping and either plexiglass or heavy plastic.
Using a desk shield around your work area can help keep you safer, especially if you’re in a spot near a walkway and can’t easily control distancing.
Get Help With Cloud Tools to Facilitate the “New Normal”
Business looks quite different now than it did at the beginning of the year, this includes both physically and the technology needed to run it effectively. NMX IT Solutions can help your Thames Valley area business facilitate remote workers, implement “contactless” customer solutions, and more.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation! Call 01628 232300 or reach out online.