Fate willing, the Covid-19 pandemic should be nearing its end thanks to the announcement of several vaccines yielding extraordinarily high success rates in clinical testing. The future appears to be bright as humanity winds its way out of a nearly year-long viral nightmare that has uprooted thousands of businesses and thrown countless others into disarray.
Many companies have weathered the storm by shifting their operations to a remote model where employees work from home. This trend will cease once the population becomes inoculated and the virus numbers go down, but we aren’t out of the woods just yet. Heading back to the office as the virus begins its downturn will mean adhering to some basic health and safety practices designed to keep everyone virus-free. Here’s what to expect.
SOCIAL DISTANCING – THE FINAL PHASE
Even when case numbers drop to single-digit daily numbers, many employees will still feel uneasy about getting too close to their workmates. The steps taken to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 have unfortunately created a feedback loop of paranoia that has distorted the public’s perception about the risk factors of the virus, and its mortality rate. This lack of consistent information is bound to produce doubts that will linger in the public consciousness long until the end of 2021.
Thankfully, it will end when the numbers roll in showing that Covid-19 has managed to slip its way into our common cold and flu season while the populace gains herd immunity. Many individuals still die of the annual flu around the world, which means there’s no possibility of Covid-19 being completely eradicated, but humans will achieve said herd immunity thanks to a combination of mingling and vaccination. Until then, don’t expect employees to be keen on shaking hands or working in close proximity to one another.
SET UP HAND SANITIZING STATIONS
Chances are that most businesses have already adopted this tip, but many may be lulled into a false sense of security as numbers drop, and remove their hand sanitizing stations from the workplace. This would be a mistake best avoided, at least until the numbers are consistent. Keep hand sanitizers close by, and pepper them throughout your workplace so employees can have easy access. It’s peace of mind for them, and for you as well. As the pandemic drops away, you may wish to reduce the number of sanitizing stations around the office, but keep a few around for basic cleanliness.
CLEAN, CLEAN AND CLEAN SOME MORE
Covid-19 can linger on surfaces for a prolonged period of time, which is why deep cleaning is a must around the office. Make sure your janitorial staff are adhering to strict protocols, and your staff do their part to keep their workspaces neat and tidy. This may require several cleanings per day with disinfectant wipes or other cleaning materials. The goal is to eliminate another vector of transmission in an already tight area. In truth, this practice is great even during non-pandemic times, and can help reduce the chances of employees having to call in sick with basic bugs like the cold and flu.
The data on the effectiveness of masks is spotty at best, with many health experts now claiming that it’s in no way a one hundred percent guarantee of safety against Covid-19. This is true, but it’s better to sit on the side of caution and maintain mask regulations, especially as they pertain to your local jurisdiction. Recommend the use of 3-ply masks to all of your employees in order to contain the spread of droplets that can spread the virus around the office.
These droplets can circulate in the air or linger on surfaces, creating another vector of transmission. A combination of masks and the aforementioned deep cleaning is a potent combination that can drastically reduce the spread of Covid-19 around the office.
DON’T TAKE CHANCES
If an employee is feeling sick, make sure they aren’t lingering around in the office where they can potentially spread Covid-19 to others. Instead, send them to get tested for the virus to confirm whether they are infected, and take necessary steps for treatment. The chances of dying from Covid-19 if one is under the age of 70 is approximately 1.5%, but an outbreak in your office could signal a shut-down, decreased output and (most importantly) risk to life.
Consider setting up a temperature checking station to scan employees as they enter and exit. This is a first line of defense that can warn of a potential infection before it becomes a full-blown case. As always, make certain your company is adhering to local Covid-19 guidelines.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT OFFICE FURNITURE
Choosing the right office furniture can have a beneficial impact on your company’s war against Covid-19. fluidconcepts offers a variety of furniture solutions that just so happen to be perfect for mitigating transmission of the virus. These include fencing and runway systems, hybrid office setups, mobile office solutions and our popular Orbit line of pods and workstations. Not only are these products ideal during the Covid era, but they are just as fanciful and functional for a regular office routine. Check out our article on the best office furniture solutions for Covid-19 distancing by clicking this link.
2021 is the year when the Covid-19 pandemic will see its end, but we still have a ways to go. Remain vigilant, do not panic, and take necessary precautions that balance workplace effectiveness with employee safety. Doing so will help speed up a return to normalcy which everyone so desperately desires. For more information on choosing the right products to battle Covid-19 in your office, please contact us today.