As states begin discussing “re-opening” and many essential businesses continue to operate throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important for employers to take a proactive stance in maintaining a healthy work environment for their employees and customers.
Businesses and employers can do a lot to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. As we begin planning our “return to work”, employers should plan to respond in a flexible way.
All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:
- Reducing transmission among employees,
- Conducting healthy business operations, and
- Maintaining a healthy work environment.
Read on for 6 tips from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to maintain a healthy work environment.
1. Get some fresh air
Whether employees are coming into a physical workplace or working from home, proper ventilation is essential. Businesses should consider increasing their ventilation rates if possible.
Additionally, the CDC recently recommended increasing the percentage of outdoor air that circulates. So go ahead and open those windows!
2. Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
Second but probably most important is supporting good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. This extends to employees, customers, and worksite visitors.
The CDC recommends employers:
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
- Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer.
- Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
- Display posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Discourage handshaking. Instead, encourage the use of other non-contact methods of greeting.
- Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
3. Conduct routine cleaning
Third, make sure to perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection. Whereas under normal circumstances employers may take a more passive approach to workplace cleanliness, COVID-19 calls for businesses to be more proactive.
- Appoint someone to routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace. (For example, desks, keyboards, phones, handrails, and doorknobs.)
- Discourage workers from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, and equipment when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect these before and after each use.
- Provide disposable wipes for employees to wipe down commonly used surfaces before use.
Remember, if surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, you can find a list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 here.
4. Know when to implement enhanced disinfection
While the above steps are suitable for routine cleaning, there are situations where you may need to perform enhanced disinfection. If persons suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in your workplace, follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
5. Be smart about meetings
Finally, take care when attending meetings and try to find virtual alternatives when possible. The CDC recommends:
- Using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
- Canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
- Holding meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces when videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible.
We know that the weeks to come will bring unexpected challenges for the business community as a whole due to the Coronavirus. However, we are prepared to respond to these challenges as they arise. Additionally, we will continue to provide ongoing communications as more details unfold.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at (866) 946.2032 or by emailing our support team. And don’t forget to follow us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for even more Coronavirus and business updates!