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8 Workspace Hygiene Tips

Germs are everywhere. It’s concerning to know that we are only now taking basic hygiene seriously because it poses a threat to the human race. However, the power of bacteria and germs is causing significant changes in our lives, especially at work where we spend most of our time. Those who must go to work under these circumstances face a higher risk of getting infected. With the right workspace design, we fight the spread of the virus, together.

Employers and employees have a responsibility to implement daily sanitary practices to decrease the spread of bacteria. Many workspace designs have co-workers sharing desks and work equipment such as telephones, printers and even coffee machines. We’re giving you eight ways to keep your workspace germ-free to fight the spread of COVID-19.

1. Wipe, Wipe and Wipe 

When someone coughs, sneezes or exhales, they release fluids that are most likely to fall onto surfaces such as desks, tables and telephones. Make sure you are regularly wiping surfaces with disinfectant and that cleaning materials are always available in the office.

Our laptops and computers are what we use the most at work, which means it collects a lot of bacteria throughout the day. Use dusters for your computer screens and cotton buds to wipe down keyboards. Make sure to do this before switching your computer on in the morning.

2. Wash Your Hands

As we all know by now, soap can kill the virus and stop it from spreading from one person to another. Encourage employees to do regular hand-washing and make sure there is always water and hand-wash available in restrooms. One should wash their hands every time they leave and enter the office.

Customers must also be encouraged to wash their hands or sanitise before entering the office. Make a sanitation dispenser available at the entrance of your workplace with a notice that encourages people to use it.

3. Promote Good Respiratory Hygiene

Although COVID-19 is associated with flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose and fever, it can also harm one’s respiratory system. Shortness of breath is a common symptom that develops once the virus is contracted. It’s crucial to notify employees about respiratory hygiene and ‘cough etiquette’.

If one should have a cough or sneeze coming on, they must cover it with a tissue, dispose of the tissue immediately and proceed by washing their hands. Do not allow employees to smoke anywhere near their workspaces or even close to the office entrance. Allocate smoking areas as far from the workplace as possible to avoid non-smokers from inhaling smoke.

4. Create Some Distance

It may be a bit more difficult for smaller office spaces but try to create as much distance as possible in between each employee. There is a higher risk of contamination when co-workers are sitting on top of one another. The recommended distance to be kept in between each person is 1.5 metres.

If your office space allows each employee to sit at their own desk, that’s perfect. If there is one shared desk between at least two employees, then place them on opposite sides of the table, at opposite ends. This way, you are creating the distance necessary. 

5. Limit Your Customer Intake

We understand that businesses are all about making money. It usually means assisting as many clients and customers as possible. With the seriousness surrounding this pandemic, however, we advise that you minimise the number of customers you allow into your workspace.

Consider how many people can physically enter your workspace without it becoming overcrowded (including employees). Be strict with your policy and notify customers about the number of people allowed inside. Have employees monitor customers going in and out to keep track of your daily customer intake.

6. Disinfect Work Bins

Dustbins are considered to be ‘coronavirus hotspots’ because that’s where all our waste goes. Make sure to perform weekly throw-outs of trash and to clean small bins used throughout the office. Wear gloves and a mask when handling dustbins and dispose of waste carefully.

COVID-19 has disrupted bin collections and waste services around the globe. Waste collection will therefore not occur as often, so it’s essential to consider what we throw away. Avoid throwing food in dustbins as much as possible and wash out containers that contain dairy products before disposing of them.

7. Educate Staff and Customers

It will be easier to implement sanitary practices in the workplace when employees understand the impact of COVID-19. Create awareness and educate staff on how easily the virus can spread. Employees must understand why it is necessary to remain hygienic throughout the day.

Implement communication measures through briefings or meetings, providing accurate information about the virus. Do your part to educate customers as well by putting up health and safety notices throughout the workplace.

8. Have a Plan of Action

In the case of an employee contracting COVID-19, there must be a plan in place to protect fellow staff members and customers. Remember, however; there should be no stigma or discrimination against the individual suspected of having the virus. The plan should also address how to keep business running despite the restrictions the outbreak may cause.

Communicate the plan to employees, contractors, and if possible, customers, so they know what to do. Emphasise critical points within the procedure so that they become a priority. The plan should be practical, as well as informative.

Amid one of the most significant pandemics this generation (and the world) has ever seen, we are still trying to do ‘business as usual’. Although most individuals are in quarantine, the employees of essential businesses must go to work. To lessen the risk of infection, employers and employees must implement thorough hygienic practices.

It is a vulnerable time for businesses where employers must consider the well-being of their staff more than ever before. Education and preventative measures are the best way to keep workspaces free of “germs” and to lessen the risk of infection.

In need of some workspace adjustments or updates? Contact us today for more on how our team can make your space work for you. Urban Spaces – the best in workspace design, Cape Town.