Soon, I’ll be heading back to the office after being on furlough since mid-March! Originally, I was feeling anxious about it.
However, I’m not anymore. I’ve done my research, stocked up on various supplies and I feel I’m going to be as safe as possible. Below are the six methods we should all consider using to be more COVID secure when heading back to the office!
This article was written 20/08/2020. For up to date information on coronavirus (UK), please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. All non-UK readers, please refer to your resident country’s own resources.
This article is for informational purposes only. Although I have done the best research I can, in no way is this professional or medical advice. It’s not guaranteed to completely prevent the spread of Coronavirus and it’s not guaranteed to protect you from infection. If you’re a reader in the UK, please visit the government website linked above (for non-UK readers please look at your resident country’s own resources) for up to date, official advice.
Table of Contents
1. Educate Your Team
You might not expect education to be the first line of defense against the spread of coronavirus, but without it, all the other methods would be useless.
It’s important that people know how the virus spreads, how dangerous it is and how to protect themselves.
Here is a link to the UK government’s official resources that anyone can print out and put around their workplace. https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/
The responsibility to do this would normally fall to the managers or the admin team. If you notice that there’s been no effort made to educate staff on the spread of COVID-19, then it’s worth contacting your manager!
2. Hand Gel (60% + Alcohol Content)
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus (although it’s not the only measure you should be taking).
On the UNICEF website, they state: “Respiratory viruses like coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, this happens through your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next.”
The easiest way to cleanse your hands in an office is hand sanitizer. It must be over 60% alcohol to be effective against Coronavirus! Keep some of your own hand gel to use after you’ve touched anything.
It would be a good idea to have hand sanitizer in several locations around the office. If not, encourage staff to bring in their own and print out posters that remind people to use it regularly!
3. Clean With Alcohol Wipes & Spray
Although hand sanitizer is great, it’s not the only method of disinfecting you should have at your disposal!
I have started carrying my own 60%+ alcohol wipes. This way, before I touch anything, especially items like the photocopier, a takeaway cup, or a remote control, I can wipe them down. This way, I can be assured that they are safe to touch.
Wipes are also great for wiping down your bank cards, bag and phone after you’ve used them.
It’s worth mentioning to your manager that you need some 60%+ alcohol wipes or spray in the office so you and your colleagues can be regularly cleaning to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
I know there has been plenty of controversy over masks. There’s been some debate over if you should be forced to wear one and if they even work in the first place.
My take on it is this: If they aren’t effective, what have you lost if you do wear one? Nothing.
If they are effective and you don’t wear one, what have you done? Maybe spread Coronavirus, contributed to a possible second wave and put people’s lives in danger.
If there’s even a small chance that they will help to protect yourself and others, why not just wear one?
Maybe try a face shield if your employer allows you! This is great for employees in customer service roles as people can still see your facial expressions.
It’s important not to create a ‘mask shaming’ culture in the workplace. Some people can’t wear masks or face shields for medical reasons, and it’s not up to you to police that.
Don’t confront anyone for not wearing a mask, just make sure the appropriate educational materials are visible and do your bit by wearing one.
5. Put Up Clear Divisions
A lot of businesses are putting up plastic divisions to separate colleagues and customers. Especially in locations where you are inside and sitting near someone else for a long period of time.
If your workplace hasn’t put up divisions, it’s worth asking them to! If they’re not willing, ask if it’s okay if you purchase and put up your own.
6. Have Boundaries
You can put up as many educational posters as you want, but there are always going to be some people who just don’t get it.
If someone is making you uncomfortable by not social distancing, ask them to step back! Any decent person will respect this. If someone has a problem with it, then that’s even more reason to insist they social distance from you, as they obviously haven’t been protecting themselves so are more likely to be carrying the virus.
There are many people who will be in a type of workplace where some of these preventative measures just aren’t possible. You might not be able to ask a customer to step away from you, or you might work in a team where you need to be close to one another. If this is the case, you should have a conversation with your employer and ask them how they plan to keep you and other staff safe.
If you have any worries or concerns, the first port of call should always be your employer. It is their responsibility to keep you safe.
If your employer isn’t being helpful, there are plenty of things that you can do to protect yourself. Buy some hand sanitizer, get a mask and focus on standing away from people.
Here are some useful links for guidance on how to be COVID secure:
This article was written 20/08/2020. For up to date information on coronavirus (UK), please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
This article is for informational purposes only. Although I have done the best research I can, in no way is it professional or medical advice. It’s not guaranteed to completely prevent the spread of Coronavirus and it’s not guaranteed to protect you from infection. If you’re a reader in the UK, please visit the government website linked above (for non-UK readers please look at your resident countries own resources) for up to date, official advice.