Like the majority of Corporate America, you’ve been cooped up working from home with your loved ones and pets for the past 8 weeks or so. Never venturing out unless to go to the grocery store, or maybe not even then since you’re having groceries delivered. As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, you get the notice that your office is opening back up anyway and you have been sequestered to return to work.
If you’re like me, you’re also probably feeling a bit of anxiety after so many weeks of hardly any physical contact with the outside world only to be plunged back into it again.
At the very least, what should your company be doing to mitigate the risk spreading COVID-19 in your office?
Enforce social distancing guidelines.
Limit to 1 person in the kitchen at a time.
Move the break rooms outdoors and limit seating.
Put signs around the office reminding people to keep 6 feet apart at all times.
Put signs in the bathrooms reminding of washing hands for 20 seconds.
Discourage any in-person meetings.
Since evidence shows everyone breathing the same re-circulated air can increase spread of the disease, in-person meetings should not be happening at all. ZOOM calls will still be occurring just as they were performed from home (make sure to bring headphones to work).
Rotate work schedules to keep the population sparse.
In our operations and customer service areas, our office is bringing in only half of the staff and rotating M-W-F and T-TH to work from home each week. This should be part of the policy until we do start actually seeing a flattening of the curve.
Install temperature detection devices at entry points.
The best device we have found is an access control device that sends an alert if someone is above the temperature threshold which the CDC recommends is 100.4. It's also an enhanced access control system that can be integrated with your company's existing access control.
Reusable masks should be provided for employees.
Masks are hard to come by, but there are many more providers now who are selling them. If some employees are good at sewing in the office, get them to make some masks for everyone.
Hand sanitizer and wipes should be provided throughout the facility.
Regular sanitation on all common hard surfaces, door handles, and bathrooms. This should be done multiple times a day, if possible.
Communication of a COVID-19 Action Plan.
What happens if someone shows symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19? How will your company handle this? Ask those tough questions of your leadership team. Communication is key. Your company should be enforcing all of these guidelines and communicating to everyone what the company policy and procedures are when there is a potential exposure.
Even with all of these guidelines and best practices put in place, it still feels scary going out there. But, some of us just don’t have a choice. I’m happy I do still have a job, unlike many people out there who don’t. It’s ok to ask these questions to your leadership team to make sure you feel safe. Be smart with your choices and surroundings. Stay safe out there!
About the Author
Kimberly Montini is currently the Communications and Marketing Director for Rolland Solutions. Her heart and soul remains in New York City, where she lived and worked for 10 years as a marketing professional alongside owning a baby and maternity boutique. She relocated to Dallas 3.5 years ago with her husband and two small children.