The implications of a return to on-site work are various, but one of the most pressing for office managers and business owners is undoubtedly how to handle health and safety concerns to make employees and clients feel comfortable and to satisfy whatever local government regulations might be in place. Below are 4 post-pandemic office safety measures to keep in mind while opening the office back up.
Keeping the Kitchen Safe
The office kitchen has always been an important social hub as well as a practical place for eating and storing food. In the wake of the pandemic, office managers and business owners will need to be more conscious of the threat that the kitchen represents as a source of viruses and bacteria, even if COVID is no longer chief among them. Returning employees will likely have an understandably heightened sensitivity to and fear of getting sick, so keeping the kitchen free of germs and bacteria, which should be a priority at the best of times, will need to be high on the list of post-pandemic office safety measures.
You can continue to order many of the necessary items that all workplaces should have in an office kitchen, but make sure you are considering any of these or additional items in the context of people’s fears and concerns.
It is a shame that more offices weren’t making use of these prior to the pandemic, because their ability to filter viruses and other particulate matter from the air has been known for a long time, but air purifiers are recommended by health authorities around the world as part of the fight against viruses of all kinds. Air purifiers, especially those with HEPA filters, are capable of capturing 99.97 percent of particles in the air, making them invaluable in both the fight against COVID-19 and any other irritating or harmful particles that float around in enclosed spaces where people share air.
Good quality consumer air purifiers can be purchased on the big e-retailers for not very much money and will go a long way to keeping the office safe and making employees feel protected as they ease into their post-pandemic working lives.
Hand Sanitizing Stations
People have gotten into the habit of keeping their hands constantly washed and disinfected over the last year. So much so that it has gotten difficult to find hand sanitizer in many places around the world. Even once widespread vaccination is a reality and societies have achieved so-called “herd immunity,” it will likely be hard for many people to shake the feeling of imminent threat and danger--people who will want to continue keeping their hands sanitized.
To make the resumption of office life comfortable for people, office managers should ensure that there are ample places throughout the office, and even personal, refillable bottles at each desk, to allow people to sterilize their hands whenever they feel like it.
Many businesses are already talking about requiring those employees who want to return to the office to demonstrate proof of vaccination before they will be allowed to do so. The idea of a vaccination “passport” or an identity card seems, understandably, dystopian to some people, but in order to have human beings once again living and sharing air in confined spaces, there has to be some kind of assurance that they don’t represent a contamination risk.
Ensure that you understand the legality of something like this before moving forward with it, but having returning employees show proof of vaccination, thereby assuring their coworkers that they do not represent a significant risk, is likely going to be one of the unpleasant, but necessary steps to resuming office work.
The office, and any confined space in which people breathe and share the same air, touch the same things and are forced to interact in close quarters will likely seem scary and foreboding to many workers for some time to come. This will be one of the unfortunate and enduring side effects of the 2020 pandemic. As people venture back out into the post-pandemic world and try to resume their normal lives, office managers and business owners will need to make sure this return to in-office work is done safely and empathetically.
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