Now that the COVID infection rate is trending downward and more and more people are getting vaccinated, companies are starting to call their employees back to the office. Going back to the office brings mixed feelings. It’s great to be able to work face-to-face with coworkers and socialize, but there are still a lot of unknowns. The Coronavirus is still circulating and new variants are being discovered.
How can you return to work safely and not put your health at risk? Fortunately, it is possible. While going back into the office will always carry some risks, you can mitigate those risks by using the following tips when going back to work.
Wearing masks is still the best way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Current CDC guidance says that those who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks. However, in an office environment when you might have unvaccinated workers, wearing a mask is a very easy way to protect yourself. Just make sure that if you wear cloth masks you clean them often. If you’re using disposable single-use masks, throw them out at the end of the day.
Staying apart is another proven method of preventing Coronavirus transmission. This means keeping desks further apart and maybe even placing plexiglass barriers between them. And if you combine distancing with wearing, your chances of COVID transmission decrease greatly. This is an especially good idea if a lot of employees have not been vaccinated.
3. Stay Clean
Good hygiene is still a very effective way to prevent the transmission of COVID. Washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer will keep all those pesky germs away, including COVID. Remember, for hand sanitizer to be effective it should contain at least 60% ethanol. Good hygiene also means keeping your hands away from your face. In an office environment, all high contact surfaces should be cleaned regularly with a disinfectant.
4. Monitor Local COVID Infection Rate
COVID infection rates can vary greatly from location to location. While the country as a whole is seeing rates going down, some local areas are seeing an increase in infections, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. Your county health department will have up-to-date infection rates for your area. Keep an eye on their data and if the rates start increasing, then it’s time
5. Manage Visitors
If your office gets a lot of visitors it might be a good idea to limit visitor interaction to a minimum. Even though government mask mandates have been lifted, businesses can still require them. Or, you can limit visitors to employee family members only. Regardless of how you do it, managing the flow of foot traffic in your office and having a set policy for visitors will keep you and your co-workers safe. There are even programs that can help you better manage visitors and keep your office space safe.
A Note About Vaccines
It’s important to remember that while all the vaccines are highly effective, none of them are 100% effective. This means that even a vaccinated person can still get COVID and/or give it to someone else. While rare, this is something to consider when returning to work. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID.