Prepare Your Office for the Safe Return of Employees

July 22, 2020

As business owners weigh the consequences of having employees return to the office, most are rightly concerned about the safety of their people. As we work to reopen the Texas economy, the challenge is to mitigate risk as much as possible with practices and policies that put employee safety first. This extends beyond just disinfecting the office, but to good communication and signage strategies to create a healthy office culture for COVID and beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides an extensive list of tips that we have summarized below: 
 

  • Identify work and common areas where employees could have close contact (within 6 feet) with others like meeting rooms, break rooms, the cafeteria, locker rooms, check-in areas, waiting areas, and routes of entry or exit.
     
  • Include all employees in communication plans because everyone has good ideas pertaining to their area of expertise.
     
  • Install transparent shields or other physical barriers to separate employees and visitors where social distancing is not an option.
     
  • Arrange chairs in reception or other communal seating areas by turning, draping (covering chairs with tape or fabric so seats cannot be used), spacing, or removing chairs to maintain social distancing.
     
  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (for symptoms and temperature screening) of employees before they enter the worksite.
     
  • Stagger shifts, start times, and break times to reduce the number of employees in common areas such as screening areas, break rooms, and locker rooms.
     
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces by following the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting to develop, follow, and maintain a plan to perform regular cleanings to reduce the risk of people‚Äôs exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces. Pay close attention to door handles, desks, light switches, faucets, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printer/copiers, and drinking fountains.
     
  • EPA-registered, household disinfectants should be effective, as well as diluted household bleach solutions or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol. See the list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus.
     
  • Give employees enough time to wash their hands and access to soap, clean water, and paper towels. If soap and water are not available, they should use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
     
  • Provide information and training on what actions employees should take when they are not feeling well (e.g., workplace leave policies, local and state health department information).
     
  • The CDC has free, simple posters available to download and print, some of which are translated into different languages.

 

See the complete list of information provided by the CDC HERE.