Net Trade’s Series on Keeping Employees Safe at Work
As we return to the office, the store, the classroom – wherever “work” is – concerns abound regarding employee safety. Yes, everyone needs to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and wash their hands frequently, but what other methods can we employ to keep our teams (and ourselves) safe at work? Read part two of our three-part series on returning to work safely during the pandemic.
- Facilitate social distancing at work. While the most obvious solution to this is installing plexiglass barriers and minimizing in-person meetings, there are many other options to consider. For example, allowing employees to work from home whenever possible is the easiest way to keep the team safe. It’s not every manager’s ideal, for sure, but it is a smart way to minimize bodies in the office and keep everyone safe. Consider mandating in-office work only for people who absolutely need to be in the office (to access materials, files, etc.), and allow everyone else to be remote. For those who are working onsite, stagger hours to minimize traffic in hallways and other spaces. (Your building should have a policy regarding common areas, including elevators and stairwells.)
For many businesses, real estate needs may be reassessed, seating arrangements may be changed, conference rooms and other communal spaces may be closed off. Some may need directional arrows or to organize cohorts to limit the number of people in a space at any given times. PwC offers helpful resources to determine your business’s needs and to ask the right questions.
- Keep the air clean and moving. One of the best ways to protect people indoors is with an air purification system – something above and beyond the filter your landlord installed in the HVAC system. That’s not going to trap and kill viruses. However, an air purifier that uses electrostatic, UV, and HEPA filters might. Coronavirus particles can live in the air for up to three hours. By improving ventilation and adding an air purification system, the risk of inhaling potentially infected aerosol from others may be reduced dramatically. Improved ventilation alone is also beneficial – even if that just means opening windows. As Vox recently reported, “The easiest way to increase ventilation: open windows. This will increase the amount of outside air (which does not have the virus in it) coming in to dilute indoor air (which may have the virus in it). The less concentrated the virus is in the air, the less likely it is to infect people.”