As if business wasn’t hard enough after recovering from the last credit crunch, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic where economies across the world have all but shut down. This had left companies with little choice but to shut their doors and wait for news from their respective governments about when they could reopen and begin a phased return to work for employees.
Many people will be understandably nervous about venturing into the office, particularly as they may well have spent the last few months working from home. They will want to be assured that their return is a safe one, and that any risk of transmitted infection is minimalised.
As a business owner, what can you do to ensure the safe return of your staff? Or as an employee, what can your employer do to make you feel safe and secure within your workplace?
Before you open your premises, invest in regular cleaning by a professional cleaning company. They may well have special contracts for COVID-19 decontamination, but at the very least will be compliant with rules and guidelines regarding the current pandemic situation.
Lead by example
The way forward for everyone, first and foremost, is to take responsibility for your personal hygiene and the hygiene of your workspace. Use antibacterial wipes regularly to clean all of your equipment, keyboards, telephone, and desk surfaces. This is particularly important if you share any equipment. Insist that everyone washes their hands with soap frequently and that hand sanitiser is readily available to use. Also, emphasize the importance of hand drying after washing. Take care that light switches, plug socket switches, door handles, and all other contact points are cleaned regularly.
Keeping socially distant from others within your setting will also reduce the risk of transmission of not only Coronavirus, but other cold and flu viruses too. All of this coupled with regular contract cleaning will leave your premises hygienically clean and sanitary.
There have been various studies carried out with regard to the spread of germs and viruses, and one in particular undertaken by the University of Arizona found that there are up to 400 times the microbes and bacteria on desks and workstations than the average toilet seat! This might make you rethink eating at your desk!
Telephones are also a hotbed for bacteria and viruses. They can be refuge to over 25,000 microbes per square inch, with keyboards and mouse equipment being in hot pursuit. It seems that eating your lunch in the bathroom may be a healthier option!
Stem the spread
The cold virus can survive for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces, and although work is still being carried out to find out more about Coronavirus, it’s thought that it can survive up to 48 hours on surfaces although the amount of any infectious virus is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours.
As many employers are opting for a staggered return to work, being flexible could be key to staff retention. Employees having to self-isolate is a very real possibility for the foreseeable future, particularly if they come into contact with the infection or if they display any of the symptoms set out by public health authorities. Help to contain any suspected virus by maintaining social distance, isolating the infected and ensuring a regular schedule of cleaning is maintained.