Whether we like it or not, chances are many of us will have to return to our offices soon. And while employers are looking for ways to make this as safe as possible, the fact that scientists still do not understand everything about the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, means there’s still a lot of things that could go wrong despite these safety measures (and a lot of reasons to be extra careful).
And while the phase 1 of Cambridge, Massachusetts’ biotech company, Moderna’s efforts to develop a vaccine are showing promising results, there’s the very big chance that you sitting down on your workstation for at least eight hours will come first.
So how exactly do you return to the office? What should you do and not do? What specific precautions should you take to increase your chances of not getting infected?
Demand for a staggered shifting
Many companies are already doing this, but in case yours isn’t, know that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its memorandum for employers that calls for office admins to “Stagger shifts, start times, and break times as feasible to reduce the number of employees in common areas such as screening areas, break rooms, and locker rooms.”
Request to stay home if you can
Not all roles require personnel to report to the office. Revisit your daily tasks with your boss and bring up the idea of working remotely.
Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times
One of the reasons why the virus continues to spread is due to complacency. People tend to remove their PPEs and not practice social distancing when they’re with people who they are familiar with. Please note that being friends with a colleague does not make either of you resistant to Covid-19. Traveling from your home to your office opens up the chance for anyone to get infected. This is why it’s important to always wear PPEs, not only to protect yourself, but to protect others.
Call out colleagues who don’t adhere to safety regulations
Really, in case you have not noticed, it will require all of us to work together to get through this. Every little act helps. So when you see someone being complacent and not following protocols set by the company, by all means call them out. We’re all at risk and you will do everyone a service if you do this.
Suggest digital solutions
From virtual meetings to migrating most–if not all–your paperwork virtually, if you know of any process that can be made matched with a digital solution, feel free to talk to your bosses about it. Any effort that minimizes physical contact helps.
Get out if you can
Experts say that the coronavirus spreads less outdoors, so if you get the chance to, step out and get some sun. But also, make sure you maintain physical distancing.
Clean and disinfect well and always
This goes without saying. Always wash your hands and disinfect your surroundings, this includes your work station, laptop, and anything else you may need to touch. And since you really don’t know who goes to your station before you arrive, best to disinfect everything before you start on your work. Do this also before you leave. Also, wash your hands and don’t let people touch your things.
It’s understandable for business owners to want some of their employees to return to work, but keep in mind that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make choices centered around prioritizing safety. If at any point, you feel uncomfortable about any of the precautions they’ve put in place, talk to your boss about it. The same goes if you suspect that you’ve been exposed to the virus. Stay safe. Be kind. Make better decisions and never lose hope.