Businesses large and small are feeling the rippling effects of COVID-19 around the world. Based on what the World Health Organization, Coronavirus is actually part of a larger family of viruses that cause illness ranging from a simple common cold to life-threatening ailments. This virus has been classified as zoonotic, meaning that it is a virus that has jumped from animals to humans. The Centers for Control Disease and Prevention (CDC for short) has set out guidelines on how to prevent infection spread by washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, thoroughly cooking foods, and mitigating close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness. Now that Coronavirus is spreading throughout our community the goal now is to find ways to contain the spread. Many health officials are using strict health measures in an attempt to control it.
As mentioned earlier, this Coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses. So, to find ways on how to combat this deadly disease we simply need to look at some of their close relatives, such as SARS and MERS. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS for short) is primarily the reason why antibacterial sanitizers are found in most offices. At the start of this pandemic, Bill Gates warned everyone how Coronavirus might be ‘once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.’ It also might not be. In theory, there could be an even worse pathogen in our near future. This is why it is more important than ever to find ways to retrofit our current and future office space to better protect employees. This way when the next big outbreak comes, we will be better prepared to handle the crisis.
Get Rid of Surface Areas Where Employees Need to Touch With Their Hands
- Consider switching your standard doors with handles with doors that simply swing both ways by pushing them with your foot our shoulder
- Invest in some motion-censored lights in all rooms and bathrooms. This will also help our environment in the long run.
- Lastly, consider switching out your bathroom features like faucets and soap dispensers with motion sensors. Many offices have already implemented this in their bathrooms.
Embrace New Technology
New technology should be embraced whenever possible for those that are capable of working remotely. If you take some time to create a pilot program that allows employees to hone their work-from-home capabilities every once in a while, your employees will be more equipped to work from home during those days they feel under the weather. This can also be used if your employees are afraid of catching a pathogen. It’s also a good idea to put videoconference at the forefront when redesigning your workspace. If you envision you’re employees working remotely more than coming into the office, then invests in some rotating desks. This way when they do come into the office, they have a designated desk to work from.
Invest in personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets. When each of your employees has their own devices, they won’t have to be touching a possible contaminated surface. Additionally, these devices can use on the go. Don’t forget that when these devices are no longer tethered to a hardwire, your cleaning crew will be able to sanitize and disinfect those surface areas more effectively and efficiently.
Have your conference room switch over to blue tooth technology. This will allow your employees to connect to a conference call using their smartphones without ever having to touch the speaker or shared phone. Chances are you already do this at your home when you pair your phone to Bluetooth speakers every time you want to listen to music. This isn’t that much different.
Select Furnishing That Is Easier To Clean
If you happen to be a parent or have a feline companion in your home, you know the importance of investing an easy to clean hard surface furniture. Take this same approach when you’re looking to remodel your office space. It’s common for business owners to hire a third-party cleaning service provider. Making these remodeling changes will help them do their job more efficiently and it will benefit your employee’s health as well.
Clean Your Office Space Religiously
Having a cleaning crew come to your business establishment a few times a day can seem counterproductive, as they can be a distraction. This is probably why many will push this off to once or twice a week after hours. It is not advisable to do this especially during the time of coronavirus. Your environmentally cleaning crew needs to come into your workplace to disinfect anything that might have gotten contaminated throughout the day. Designate a person in your office to manage your cleaning crew and to advise them on what cleaning product they can and cannot use. You want to make sure that the disinfectants they use is not harmful to your staff or the environment but are still powerful enough to kill any pathogens that might get your employees sick. Some surfaces that your cleaning crew should be disinfecting on a regular will be your office copier, refrigerator handles, and phone systems.
There Is Nothing Wrong With Too Much Sanitizer
We know that it might be difficult to acquire hand sanitizers during a pandemic but if you can, make sure that you are putting them in your conference rooms, shared spaces, and receptionist area. Now that we are forced to live with COVID-19, having hand sanitizers will never go out of style. Even if your employees don’t hand sanitize religiously, you are sending a bold message to anyone that comes into your establishment that you expect your office to be clean and healthy.
Update Your Refrigerator
Office refrigerators are known to be riddled with germs, bacteria, and who else know what. The great thing about the times we are living now is that refrigerator manufacturers have redesigned some of their products to have separate drawers. If this is not a possible option for you right now, your second option could be to install another refrigerator unit. One can be used for your employee’s food while the other can be used to hold just beverages for your guests and employees. Again, make sure that the handles are being disinfected regularly.
You Can Never Have Enough Disinfecting Wipes
If you can afford it, give each of your employees a tube of disinfecting wipes so that they can clean their station throughout the day. An alternative option would be to keep a bunch of them in a common area where they have easy access to grab one.
Upgrade Your First Aid Kit
For those that don’t know Zinc lozenges is an effective way to block coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Latex gloves and surgical masks can also come in handy if your employees don’t feel safe in the office without them. Take this opportunity to stock up on your first aid kit, as this will show your employees that you have their best interest at heart.
While coronavirus has forced us to be more aware of pathogens, it should also galvanize you to plan for the future. It is this moment in time that we need to rethink how we must redesign our workspace to ensure we remain healthy yet productive.
Now that we’ve covered the eight ways you can prepare for COVID-19, we also want to help business owners with their economic situation. Our economy will take a long time to get back to normal, which means there are hard times up ahead. If you are a business owner and are currently leasing your office copier, we want to help you Save Up To 20% in your monthly billing expense. It doesn’t cost you anything to get a free assessment.