Returning to work during this challenging time can be stressful. There are measures you can take to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19.
People that are COVID-19 positive can have no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they’re usually in the form of a fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear anywhere between 2 and 14 days after exposure.
How Does It Spread?
COVID-19 can spread between people through respiratory droplets. You don’t necessarily have to have direct contact with the person. They may sneeze on a bag of chips in the break room. A few minutes later you come in for your afternoon snack. You grab that bag of chips, the droplets are now on your hands and you’re eating, drinking and maybe even touching your face.
COVID-19 in Workplaces
Exposure-reducing measures need to be present in every workplace. Every situation will be different, so a custom plan will need to be created for all businesses.
- Stagger work shifts to limit the amount of people in the building at one time
- Increased paid sick leave (encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick!)
- Promote frequent hand washing
- Provide alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Workers need dedicated work spaces – a dedicated phone, computer etc for each employee
- Routine sanitation of regularly touched items – door knobs, key boards, phones, bathrooms etc.
- Keep work spaces at least 6 feet apart
- If employees have to come in contact with one another, require them to wear masks and limit contact as much as possible
- Allow anyone that can work remotely to do so to limit the amount of people in the building
- Install high efficiency air filters
- Have an air cleaner installed into the HVAC of your building
- Install sneeze guards
- Provide face shields if face to face contact cannot be avoided
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from COVID-19?
- Have your own personal hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask to work even if it isn’t required
- Wash your hands regularly
- Sanitize your work station regularly (wipe down everything, keyboard, phone, computer screen, desk space, pens, arm rest on your chair etc.)
- Limit contact with co-workers and let them know if they’re too close to you
- Take immune boosting supplements
- Eat healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Check your temperature twice daily – encourage your co-workers to do the same
- Encourage your employer to install an air purifier on the HVAC system
Staying safe and healthy during this unusual time will require a genuine group effort from everyone. Do what you can to protect yourself. Encourage others to do the same. Talk with your employer about additional safety measures if you do not feel your workplace is doing enough to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We wish everyone a healthy and safe return to work.
Feel free to share this with your co-workers, friends, family and employer.
Check out our other COVID-19 resources.
View more information about safety in your workplace here.