As of the Pandemic in 2020 maintaining a clean and safe work environment in the office has become more than necessary. What measures can you take in order to protect yourself, your clients and your co-workers? We have made a complete list of basic principles you have to follow day after day until the end of the COVID crisis.
The Basic Steps for Protection and Prevention
Temperature check, filling up questionnaires about COVID symptoms and wearing protective mask is a must in every office building. Some employers ask the employees to check their temperature once every four hours, while others require temperature check once a day. The goal of all these actions is preserving the safe work environment in the office building, which is especially important when many people enter this closed space.
Every employee who finds out their temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees C at the temperature check in the morning has to inform their direct supervisor and the Human Resources Department. Their presence in the office is undesirable, so it is recommended that they are placed under home isolation, from where they could continue to work, if possible.
Hand disinfectants, placed in the office entrance, ensure a fast and proven effective way to minimize the eventual coronavirus spreading. That is why hand disinfection is recommended each time you enter the office building. This requirement applies to all people entering the building, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time employees, or clients.
It is very important to notice that hand disinfectants should be located near the entrance of the office building, as well as near the entrance of each individual office. Toilets are the places where it is mandatory to have dispensers with hand disinfectants, as well as rooms for rest and meals.
Advanced Safety Measurements
1. Maintaining office desks and flooring clean on a daily basis
Having in mind the extensive evidence of the COVID's ability to survive for hours on any surface while preserving its ability to infect, maintaining office desks and flooring clean is a major part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID.
Each employee must clean his or her personal office space every day, without exceptions. Disinfection covers all contact surfaces - desk, armrests, computer keyboard and stationery.
Products you can use for disinfection come from different chemical groups: chloroactive, oxygen-active, cationic surfactants, alcohols for hand and skin disinfection. You can treat surfaces with bleach, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol antiseptics. Most of the ready-made antiseptics are also used in dentistry and surgery, so human safety is guaranteed.
It has to be mentioned that sprinkling with dry chlorine powder is prohibited. Vinegar treatments are ineffective against coronavirus.
Disinfectants should not be mixed with detergents, since with the interaction of some components, both agents can be neutralized and there will be no benefit from either one or the other. That is why it is impossible to carry out both cleaning and disinfection at the same time.
2. Communicate with employees and visitors that frequent hand washing is important and expected
Now, it is more important than ever to wash our hands frequently and to pay more attention on the way we do it. We need to use hand soap every time we wash our hands. We have to take off all the jewelry from our hands, including rings and bracelets, and spend at least 30 seconds in washing.
3. Distance existing workstations from each other
To minimize the risks of infection, each person should follow the basic requirements for clean and safe work environment in the office. The coronavirus spreads through droplets that form when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In addition, it can spread through contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs. After touching them, all it takes is to touch the eyes, mouth or nose to expose oneself to the risk of disease.
Physical distancing is an effective measure in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Relocating the existing workstations at greater distance is one way to apply this principle of physical distancing.
4. Keep the room temperature between 18 °C and 20 °C and the humidity percentage close to 40%
First, the air quality significantly affects the immune system of the human body and its resistance to viral attacks. If a person stays in a room with low humidity for a long time, immunity falls. If there is an increased content of CO2 in the air, it also greatly weakens the body. Therefore, to maintain the immunity of employees, the air in the office must be clean and well humidified.
Secondly, high humidity greatly reduces the concentration of active viruses in the air. For instance, if there is an infected person in the room, then viruses from him cannot spread as easily as in calm air. Simply explained, they are captured by drops of water, which gradually settle. Also, when someone coughs, in which an aerosol consisting of more than 10,000 drops of water with a virus is thrown into the air, the viral cloud spreads much worse, meeting drops with clean water on the way.
Thirdly, the longer the infected person stays in the room without ventilation, the greater the concentration of viruses in the air. But at the same time, due to the breathing of employees in the air, the content of carbon dioxide (CO2) also increases.
Providing adequate ventilation with outside air is the standard best practice for improving indoor air quality.
To increase ventilation in your office, you can:
- Open windows or doors with screens.
- Run a window air conditioner equipped with an air inlet or fan for outside air, with the fan open.
Proper ventilation of the room will help you not only preserve the room temperature between 18 °C and 20 °C, but also keep the humidity percentage in the room below 60 %. There is plenty of scientific evidence that preserving specific level of humidity in the room has positive effect over human body. It is extremely important to keep the humidity percentage in your office close to 40 %. It has been proven that by preserving the humidity level in the room between 40-60 %, you can reduce the virus transmission by up to 70%.
When used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space. However, a portable air purifier alone is not sufficient to protect people from COVID-19. It can be a part of a plan to keep the office space safe and clean.
5. Disinfect office equipment – phones, computers, printers
Office equipment should also be disinfected several times a day, even if it is used from personnel only. Disinfection needs to be performed minimum twice a day.
But let’s not forget the most important sanitization measure:
Contact a professional cleaning company
Professional cleaning is carried out in rooms with a large flow of people, since the likelihood of finding an infected person there is high. The general sanitary and hygienic condition of the premises is improved, safety for the office members and clients is guaranteed.
Carpet cleaning is an essential part of protecting others and ourselves from COVID. It has been proven that the virus stays active for several days and you can get infected if you touch contaminated surface and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth. When people enter your office, they wear shoes that can be contaminated with the virus. For that reason, professional carpet cleaning services have to be used on a regular basis, especially when it comes to offices and other high traffic areas.