Are you concerned about heading back to work during the pandemic? You’re not alone. There are thousands of workers who are in the process of heading back into the workplace. There will be many people in large office buildings and in high traffic public spaces. Even if you are in a region where there has been a low level of community transmission of COVID-19, you still need to take precautions to protect yourself and others around you. Use these tips to take a safe approach to returning to work:
ask employers about safety measures
Ask your employer about the procedures they have in place to create a safe work environment. Ask them about their procedures to create a socially distanced workplace. What is their cleaning and disinfecting protocol? How can you report concerns? How will your workspace be protected? What resources will your employer provide? What other safety measures are they taking? Can you work from home if you have concerns? It’s also important to ask them about the plan if we have to revert and shut down the workplace again. If you’re looking for a new job, and will have to report to the worksite, these questions are also valid to ask during your interview.
wear a mask
Wearing a mask is mandatory in indoor public spaces. Speak with your employer about whether they supply masks, where to get them, and how many you will receive. It’s also a good idea to get some extra masks and bring them with you to work as a backup. Know when and where you are required to wear a mask in the workplace.
wash your hands often
Wash your hands as often as possible before, during and after you are at work. Make sure to wash your hands immediately upon entering the workplace. Also make sure to do so any time you interact with others and after lunch breaks.
have hand sanitizer with you at all times
Keep hand sanitizer on your person. If do not have immediate access to a sink to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer as an alternative way to keep your hands clean. Know where sanitization stations are located in the workplace.
choose the best commute option
How you commute to work can have a big impact on your risk exposure. Avoid taking public transportation if possible. Drive, walk, or bike to work if you can. This will reduce your interaction with others and potentially contaminated surfaces. If you have to take public transportation, wear a mask, sanitize your hands as much as possible, and physically distance as much as possible.
avoid large group meetings
In-person interaction is bound to happen in the workplace, but it’s important to keep things as limited as possible. Avoid large group meetings and gatherings and try to interact with as few people as possible.
Other crowded spaces you’ll want to use cautiously include break rooms, office kitchens, hallways, stairs, elevators and any other shared spaces.
stick within your circle
Even though you are going back to the workplace, it’s still important to stick within your social circle. Keep interaction with others to a minimum, if possible. It can be easy to revert to old habits and relax how you interact. Keep socialization to a minimum and be conscious of where you go for lunch and how much time you are spending in public.
report your concerns
Have concerns about something you see in the office? It’s very important to bring it to your manager’s attention. Everyone needs to do their part to keep the workplace environment as safe as possible. Reporting COVID-19 concerns is part of this.
Personal safety is your top priority. Taking the necessary safety precautions is vital to ensure you and others are safe. Taking the above steps can help you lower your risk when you return to work. Be safe!