With the future of the pandemic still being a big question mark, we continue to adapt our lives to the latest Covid regulations. Thanks to the vaccine more and more industries have been able to open up and we have begun to rebuild. The vaccine can only do so much though. It is up to us to continue practicing safe physical distancing in our private as well as corporate lives. There is no doubt Covid will be in our lives for years to come. So how does one determine whether it is safe to return to the workplace? Here are a few pointers.
Speak to Your Doctor First
It is primarily the employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of employees, but this does not mean that employees do not have a voice. Employees may assess their work environment and take action when necessary. Individuals must assess their environment and seek medical advice based on their levels of health before returning to the workplace.
Assess the Protective Protocols Your Employer Has in Place
Once you have the all-clear from your doctor there are a few other things to look out for. One of the biggest things is the safety protocols your employer has in place. An example of this is cleaning. Is your employer ensuring that the office space is being kept clean and free of contaminants? What is the policy around an infected person entering the workplace? There are plenty of Covid cleaning services in Sydney, but the office needs to ensure that they have gone with the best option. It is important that your cleaner of choice uses TGA-approved chemicals and not just an alcohol solution that makes it appear as if they have fully disinfected the workplace.
Avoid Public Transport If Possible.
Public transport and carpooling make it nearly impossible to keep a safe distance apart. This means that, at least for now, you should give up on carpooling. Although there are more people on public transport, the rules are usually stricter and monitored more carefully. In a car with a friend, or co-worker, people tend to relax and ignore protocol. If you must carpool, do so with the people you live with and share your same values with regards to Covid protocol. When using public transport be sure to carry a hand sanitizer or wipes so that you can cleanse surfaces.
Avoid Crowded Spaces
Crowded spaces such as elevators are the sort of spaces you should be avoiding. Take the stairs if you are able to. Leave the elevator to people who cannot take the stairs. If you must get on an elevator, be sure that you do not get into one that is overcrowded. This depends on the size of the elevator, so ensure that the building has taken this into consideration and done the necessary calculations.
Keep your Space Clean and Sanitize Regularly
Keeping your workspace clean and tidy should be the norm. It is important that you have sanitizer and cleaning supplies at your workstation. Avoid touching surfaces and stationery of others. When you do, make sure to sanitize and wash your hands as soon as you can.
Practice Physical Distancing at Work
It is recommended that you stay at least six feet apart from others and wear a mask and/or face shield. If you work in cubicles, you can lessen your risk of infection by having plexiglass at the opening of it. Another good option is to have fewer people present in the workplace at a time. Flex schedules make it possible for people to come into the workplace on certain days of the week, at certain times to avoid overcrowding.
Avoid Overcrowding in Communal Work Areas
We all know that when it comes to sitting down and eating in a restaurant Covid protocol seemingly goes out the window. Ensure that your workplace follows strict Covid protocol in the breakroom and any other common rooms. Tables and chairs should be placed at least 1.5 meters apart and masks should be worn when walking around. Sanitize and wash hands after handling common appliances like coffee pots, refrigerator doors, microwaves, etc, as well as other surfaces. Bring your own cutlery from home to ensure that you are not using cutlery that has touched other people’s mouths.
One of the most important things to remember is that the workplace can be safe if everyone continues to follow protocol. If the physical workspace does not feel safe, take things up with other staff members, your HR department, or your employer directly. By working together we can overcome the pandemic.