Infectious diseases like coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affect us all, whether directly or indirectly. And even after businesses resume their normal operations, everyone should adjust their behaviors accordingly. Indeed, health experts believe that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, meaning individuals and institutions must continue to remain vigilant by taking measures to prevent the spread of this illness. Even if your workplace lacks clear guidelines and expectations, it’s worth taking these matters into your own hands for the health and safety of not only yourself, but your co-workers and their families as well.
Let’s go over some strategies, practices, and products to implement in order to protect yourself and others at work.
In the U.S., businesses are required to have proper handwashing protocols in place. Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone meets these expectations. All you can do is your part by thoroughly washing your hands before and/or after certain activities, such as using the restroom, preparing or eating food, coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, etc. While not a disinfection method, proper handwashing can destroy viruses like COVID-19 and other harmful pathogens on the spot, meaning they won’t remain on your body or transfer from your hands onto the surfaces you touch.
If your company doesn’t have a strict hygiene policy in place, there’s no telling if and when certain crucial products might run out, such as soaps, sanitizers, drying devices (towels and/or electronic hand dryers), and more. In the event of such a depletion, having a personal stock of soap, sanitizer, and other hygiene products can help you and your coworkers stay healthy and safe on the job. At the very least, make sure you have hand sanitizer near your work area for quick and easy access, and encourage your peers to do the same.
Some businesses are bound to hire temporary and/or in-house professional disinfecting services once returning to work. Even if this is the case at your workplace, though, there’s no guarantee that your personal space will remain clean and disinfected all the time. Those disinfection services may only focus on certain areas and high-touch surfaces, or they might only perform these duties on an intermittent basis. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good idea to clean and disinfect your own area at the beginning and end of your workday. Wiping down your chair, desk, and keyboard with disinfectant wipes can go a long way to keeping you healthy at work.
Before the COVID-19, there was somewhat of a stigma against wearing face masks and gloves in public. For the most part, that stigma has been washed away, for obvious reasons. But as life returns to some kind of normal, some workplace might discourage dressing this way, as it might turn away customers or increase stress among coworkers. However, wearing protective gear is an effective way to reduce the risk of infection between individuals inside an enclosed space, so it’s worth discussing these matters with coworkers and leaders within your organization. If possible, it’s worth having a mask and gloves at the ready in your workplace.
For certain lines of work, staying away from others is a major challenge, if not an impossibility. But, if and when it’s doable, keeping your distance from coworkers is another simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of infection. Rather than handshakes and hugs, stick to waving, bowing, and other non-contact office greetings. Move around desks and chairs to add some space between people. And, if your company and situation allow, continue to work from home at certain times. Plus, cleaning services for offices will work more efficiently in a less-populated work environment.
Finally, knowledge is the primary defense against infection. The more you know about COVID-19, how it spreads, how it’s stopped, and what you can do about it, the better you and your coworkers will be. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has plenty of useful information on their website. Their page on “How to Protect Yourself & Others” is especially useful. And for more information regarding COVID-19 and recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.
You might feel powerless during this uncertain time, but on the contrary, your actions as an individual can have a major impact on your workplace and community at large. By protecting yourself from infection, you’re protecting those around you as well. At The Budd Group, our disinfecting cleaning services can help businesses protect their people, too. For more information on all of our services, call us at 800-221-8158.
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