For those organisations planning a return to work, minimising virus transmission in the office is now a vital consideration; employers will have to adapt their offices to comply with the social distancing guidance outlined by relevant governing bodies in order to make the workplace as safe as possible.
Which of the steps outlined below could you take so as to reduce the risk of virus transmission between employees in the workplace?
- Encourage people to avoid public transport when commuting – if employees can walk, cycle or drive to work, this substantially minimises the risk of transmission
- Introduce a minimum area per person within the office to decrease density – increase the size of desks to spread staff apart
- Distribute paper placemats for each desk which can be thrown away at the end of each day and replaced the next morning
- Where possible, encourage employees to take the stairs rather than using shared lifts
- Supply PPE and train employees on how to appropriately use it
- Increase frequency of deep cleaning
- Make wearing face masks mandatory for all employees when in the office
- Create alcohol gel cleaning stations to be utilised upon entry
- Enforce a ‘maximum occupancy’ number for lifts and lobbies to prevent overcrowding in closed areas
- Temporarily close communal areas such as kitchens and break rooms where numerous people are likely to be touching surfaces
- Introduce staggered work patterns across teams to keep employee density low – encourage people to work from home (where possible) several times per week and adjust start/finish times so not everyone arrives at once
- Increase ventilation levels with more windows open
- Create visual instructions and prompts (circles around desks, lanes in corridors, standing spots in lifts etc.) to reinforce social distancing around the office
- Implement one-way walking flows to restrict unnecessary contact
- By taking active steps to reduce the risk of transmission at work, you are not only protecting the health and wellbeing of your staff but you’re also displaying that you care, which is an important contributing factor to better engagement and increased retention rates.