Restarting office life while keeping up with all the COVID-19 hygiene demands can quickly become a challenge.
So far, 2020 has been a strange year, where we were collectively forced to take a big step back from our lives and self-isolate for the better part of March and April.
Now, the lockdown is slowly ending but that doesn’t mean that we will just fall back into the familiar.
We are returning to offices and resuming our usual work patterns, but we are still conscientious of the health risks and what precautions we need to take.
Most offices have put in place extra measures that only 3 months ago we would never think about.
What to expect when you get back to the office after lockdown
There are a few guidelines for a post-pandemic work culture that are commonly mentioned, like good hand hygiene, face masks, and social distancing.
Some companies are also taking extra precautions and will be measuring worker’s temperatures, adding physical barriers, and changing seating plans in open offices.
If you’re worried about how safe your office is in the middle of a global pandemic, here are some basic rules to follow to protect your health.
Your new daily checklist: phone, keys, wallet, face mask, disinfectant, tissues
Covid-19 redefined and expanded our basic daily necessities that now also include
- a face mask
For the time being, you will need all these items daily, so it’s important to keep them in mind and with you always.
Use disinfectants when you come into the office and when you leave it, as well as any time you touch a public surface like a door handle or a staircase railing.
Masks are a little trickier.
If your employer doesn’t have clear-cut guidelines for their use, follow the same rules you would in your private life.
Keep the mask on in public spaces and open space offices, but if you work in an office or cubicle, you can take the mask off, since you don’t usually share these spaces with others.
Put any personal items like your keys, phone & wallet in a remote corner of your desk that other people can’t reach and don’t walk around.
Keeping all this in mind can be tricky, especially with so many new things we must include in our old familiar patterns.
With the sudden return to the fast-paced office life, it’s no wonder if you forget about the face mask or the No Handshakes rule.
Or you concentrate on those so much that you forget your wallet or your keys. Chipolo finders can remind you about your everyday items with the Out of Range Alerts.
If you ever forget your keys or wallet, you will get a notification on your phone reminding you to go back and get them before it’s too late.
Pay special attention to hand hygiene
Follow 5 steps every time you wash your hands:
1. Wet your hands with water and apply soap
2. Rub your soapy hands together and don’t forget about the backs of your hands and in between your fingers
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. It’s the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, or if you’re looking for some new tunes, try these instead.
4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water
5. Dry your hands with a clean towel
Practice social distancing
2 meters or 6 feet is the general rule we’ve all been following lately, but in the office that isn’t always possible.
Keep as much distance as you can and avoid all small-office meetings or gathering in closed spaces, especially if there’s little or no air circulation.
Watch out for doorknobs, elevator buttons, and ATMs
The Lancet Microbe published a study about how long COVID-19 can survive on common surfaces.
They noted that it takes COVID-19 2 days to vanish from wood and clothing and 7 days to disappear from plastic and stainless steel.
Don’t touch any public surface unless you absolutely have to. Use your elbows, knees, knuckles, or feet instead.
Be mindful when using office equipment such as phones and printers. Wipe these down with sanitizing tissues (before and after use) or use a tissue or gloves when you use them.
Handshakes and hugs are a no-no
The formula is simple:
Minimize the contact and you’ll minimize the risks.
The best way to avoid this is to turn any meeting you can into an email or a video call.
Air out frequently
This is generally a good rule, but you should follow it even more closely now.
Increase air circulation in air-conditioned spaces and, if possible, open windows frequently to let in fresh air.
When you get home
Take off your mask, gloves, and shoes before entering your home.
Keep all these items as close to the door as possible to minimize spreading anything through your home.
If there’s no room to keep your shoes next to the door, take off your shoes anyway and carry them to their designated place instead of walking around.
Next, disinfect your hands and wash them thoroughly with water (remember the 5 steps we listed above!)
You’re probably already familiar with these commonsense practices and have heard about them in the past few months as guidelines to follow while in self-isolation.
Following these when going back to the office can help you mitigate health risks and keep you safe while at work, so apply them to your office life as well!