With the vaccinations hitting a stride in the United States, more offices have started to reopen. And with this, people started to work onsite after nearly a year of working from home. Even as businesses make plans to reopen, they have to ensure they follow local and state regulations to keep their employees safe. Business owners should make sure to look at the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep their employees healthy.
If business owners will reopen their offices and require employees to work onsite, here are some things that they need to do to ensure everyone remains healthy and safe.
Disinfecting the Office
Keeping the workplace safe has always been a good thing that a business can do. But the pandemic highlighted the importance of not only keeping the office clean but disinfecting it as well. To make sure the office is ready for the employees to work onsite, it may want to hire a company offering deep-cleaning services for the office.
To maintain the cleanliness of the office, the business should make sure to regularly clean surfaces that are regularly touched. These surfaces include light switches, doorknobs, handles, keyboards, elevator buttons, and faucets. The business owner should also have sanitizers available for the employees to use. They should also encourage the employees to clean their phones and any gadgets or equipment they bring home to the workplace every day.
The business can also provide guidelines for disinfecting supplies properly so the employees will not get sick. Proper ventilation in the office is also important to reduce unnecessary exposure to any unsafe chemicals.
Following Health Protocols
As part of its safety measures, the business can take the employees’ temperature before entering the office. Since the absence of fever is not a guarantee that a person does not have COVID-19, the business can implement other measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
One of these measures is to follow social distancing guidelines. But social distancing may be challenging to implement in an office that has limited space. Due to this, the business can rearrange the desks and workspaces to provide more spaces between employees. It can also stagger the work hours to ensure a limited number of employees at the workplace for certain schedules.
The business can also limit the number of seats in common areas, such as break areas and the pantry. Putting signs around the workplace to remind the employees about social distancing guidelines may also help. Additionally, the business can also advise people experiencing the symptoms of the disease to stay home.
Washing of Hands
Aside from social distancing, the business can also remind its employees to wash their hands regularly. This is particularly true when they constantly pass through high-traffic areas or constantly come into contact with high-touch surfaces.
Additionally, the business should encourage the employees to wash their hands if they went to a public place, sneezed or coughed, before and after they eat, and after they take their breaks. They should also wash their hands after interacting with the customers.
If it’s not possible to regularly wash their hands, the employees can also use hand sanitizers that the business should position in strategic areas in the office. The business can also install sanitizer dispensers at the workstations and the common areas of the office. This will encourage the employees to use them regularly.
Getting COVID-19 Vaccines
The business can also require its employees to get the vaccine before they can enter the office. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already indicated that employers could require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If they refuse, the business can legally bar them from entering the workplace. But the business should communicate this to its employees before they are asked to start working on site.
The business can also administer testing for the virus on its employees before they can enter the office. But the business should make sure the tests are reliable and accurate. Businesses cannot use antibody tests to decide if an employee can return to the workplace or not.
Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Even if people have already received the vaccine, the business should still provide personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the CDC, vaccinated people should continue wearing masks due to the many unvaccinated people in the country. This is particularly true if some employees cannot be vaccinated due to health conditions.
Even though the end of the pandemic is in sight, businesses should still make the necessary preparations if it will require their employees to start working on site.