People have been working from home over the past few months following a surge of cases of COVID-19 across the country. However, with lockdowns slowly lifting, many have to prepare to go back to the office to approach a “new normal.” The virus has not ended yet. As such, it is essential to adhere to health guidelines around social distancing and face masks. As mentioned, the basic rules apply at work, too. You have to wash your hands regularly, cover your face when coughing, and stay home if you feel sick.
Overall, there are three effective ways to make sure you stay healthy, even while going to your place of work. You can find more information on this below.
Gary Saitowitz: Tips for office-goers during the pandemic
Avoid gatherings and social closeness
The virus can transmit from one person to another quickly. So, social distancing is still essential to follow. If an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs without a mask on, the respiratory droplets can pass from them to anyone within a six-foot distance. Since there can be people who are asymptomatic, the virus can spread quickly without you even realizing it. Knowing this, limiting face-to-face interactions or close contact with colleagues is necessary.
Gary Saitowitz says you can encourage people to use virtual tools for meetings just as they did when working from home. Avoid gathering in the breakroom or having a meal in a common room. If the elevator is crowded, opt for the stairs. Always wear a face mask when you are walking around the office.
Stay away from frequently touched surfaces
Although there is little to no evidence to support the risk of being able to contract COVID-19 from surfaces, it is still critical to keep your distance from high-traffic areas in the office. Respiratory droplets can potentially stay in the air and on surfaces. If you touch your face after touching a contaminated surface, your risk of contamination increases. Avoid using door handles, vending machines, elevator buttons, and other high-touch spots. Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time, especially before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom.
Get your concerns sorted
The daily stress of a demanding job can already be a lot to handle. Now, the pressure associated with going back to the office during a pandemic may increase your worries even more. As a result, you may experience a lack of motivation to work. Your mental health may take a hit. If you have serious concerns about the safety of yourself and your colleagues, consult upper management. You can approach your manager to learn how they are preparing the office and keeping everyone safe. Ask about the rules around face masks for everyday use, penalties for not wearing masks, cleaning and disinfecting efforts, social distancing arrangements, etc. You can also consult them to understand the best safety measures for you specifically if you have any personal medical concerns.