The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant turbulence in the workplace. In the past year alone, hundreds of thousands of businesses have closed and millions of workers have been left unemployed.
Now that mass vaccination has started, businesses are slowly starting to open. However, to ensure that the workplace remains safe, the government and healthcare officials have made several recommendations, which include the following guidance.
Follow the CDC and OSHA guidelines. For the past year, both the CDC and OSHA have released several revised guidelines to enable businesses to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace to help ensure healthy office space. Everyone in the workplace must familiarize themselves with these guidelines. Some of the preventive steps are mandatory (i.e., face masks and social distancing) but other best practice suggestions have also been recommended to ensure the safety of all workers. Both OSHA and CDC websites regularly update the information. Businesses should be fully aware that these guidelines are not just suggestions. The government regularly sends out inspectors to enforce the guidelines. Businesses that do not follow these guidelines can face heavy criminal and civil penalties.
Social distancing. Since last year, social distancing has been one of the mainstays of preventing Covid-19 transmission. To ensure that people comply with the six feet apart rule to offer a healthy workspace, businesses are encouraged to place markers or tape on the floor to indicate where people should stand in the hallways, cashier line, and corridors. Furniture should also be place at the same distance intervals in the kitchen, meeting room, reception area, and breakroom.
Stagger employee shifts. It is recommended that not too many people be allowed to work at the same time in a small space. Restaurants must adhere to small capacity guidelines. In some places, only between two and four people should be at a table. The same applies to meeting rooms, conferences, and convention halls. Where possible, remote meetings should take place instead of a large meeting in an office.
Face covering. The wearing of some type of face covering has been mandatory until relatively recently, and it is still recommended by the CDC, especially in areas where there are people in public areas. The only exception is children under the age of two and those who have a medical reason. Masks, or face coverings, should be worn at all times, except when eating.
Disinfection protocols. To provide a healthy office space, easy access to handwashing facilities should be provided for all employees/staff. Also, staff should be encouraged to wash hands regularly, especially after touching inanimate objects, coughing, or sneezing. Portable alcohol-based sanitizers can also be installed in high-traffic areas to promote a healthy workspace.
Cleaning staff. The cleaning staff should be advised to use EPA-approved disinfectants to keep office equipment and furniture clean. Furthermore, the staff should be encouraged to wipe their workstations regularly with disinfecting wipes. Areas of the business which are touched frequently like chairs, doorknobs, doorbells, restroom counters, computers, photocopies, fax, etc. should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day to lower the risk of germ transmission to promote a healthy office space.
Signage. Both the CDC and OSHA recommend that signs for handwashing, face mask-wearing, and maintaining six feet of social distance should be placed all over the building. The signs should be large and visible from a distance.
Communication. To ensure that the staff understand their responsibilities, there must be regular open communication. At the same time, all staff should be provided with either digital information or printed documents outlining the safety guidelines, their responsibility, and who they should contact if they have any questions.
Create partitions. If possible, plastic or glass barriers should be installed in high traffic areas like the reception area, teller, or cashier.
Audit. To ensure that all staff are abiding by the safety rules in the workplace, random audits should be undertaken. Those not obeying the guidelines should be warned that it may lead to suspension or dismissal from the job.
Start a wellness clinic. One of the best ways to improve employee health is to start a wellness clinic. Organize weekly sessions where you talk about health tips, diet, and the role of exercise. As an incentive, a healthy lunch and refreshments could be offered. If the facility has space, then try and organize workout sessions during lunchtime. Or you may want to invite employees for a weekend jog or a walkathon. This will not only keep employees fit but will boost morale and confidence.
Employee wellbeing is now being touted as the number one priority for many businesses. If employees remain healthy, productivity can increase, and this leads to satisfaction at work.
If your business desires a designated healthy workspace, Office Evolution no doubt has the answer to your needs. Meeting spaces and conference rooms offer cleaned and hygienic healthy office space if your needs require. Their Tampa Westshore District location offers all this and many more amenities.
Written by: Office Evolution Tampa
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Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.