In these trying times, many companies are considering making enhancements to their offices to help keep employees safe and healthy. There are, of course, some key features you must consider for your office renovation during COVID-19.
What to Include in Your Office Renovation During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic forced many establishments and offices to shut down, some permanently. Although businesses are beginning to resume operations, the health crisis is in no way resolved. With this in mind, offices are considering adopting some crucial office renovations in the time of COVID-19 to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
Companies have a responsibility to protect their employees and comply with OSHA standards. Remember that this coronavirus strain is highly contagious. With just one employee testing positive for COVID-19, the entire office building is immediately put in jeopardy. In line with this, here are the most essential features to consider for office renovation during COVID-19:
1. Adopt Thermal Screening
Although thermal screening can detect fevers, it is not a foolproof method to identify all cases of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, fever is not always a reliable indicator. Patients in the early stages of the disease may not exhibit fever as a symptom. Infected employees may also take fever-reducing medicine in an attempt to avoid missing work.
Although you can use thermal screening to pinpoint individuals with a high temperature, you must not rely on this system alone. Instead, install thermal screening stations as part of a larger plan to fight the spread of COVID-19.
2. Distance Workspaces
Distance plays a big role in the containment of COVID-19, especially in offices where employees tend to work in close proximity to one another. Workplaces have changed a lot over the past decade, with cubicle-heavy offices shifting to a more open plan.
Now, though, it is much better to employ a sizable distance between workstations. Consider installing cubicles with dividers high enough to block the trajectory of respiratory droplets. It is equally important not to place cubicle pods near each other as that would defeat the purpose. This way, a rogue cough or sneeze won’t even reach other people.
3. Install Sneeze Guards or Glass Shields
If cubicles are too much of an expense for your office or are simply not possible given your layout, sneeze guards are the next best thing. Sneeze guards provide a barrier of protection between people so that droplets don’t transfer. Examine your office space and place these glass shields in these appropriate areas, such as office desks, the pantry or cafeteria, meeting rooms, and the like.
There are many kinds of sneeze guards you can install in your office — from portable ones to more permanent fixtures. They are very affordable and easy to clean. You can have them professionally installed or buy ones you can assemble yourself.
4. Place Sanitizer Stations in Key Areas
One way to combat the spread of all viruses and protect yourself from illness is to practice proper hygiene. The coronavirus can stay on surfaces for long periods of time. Touching a surface with infected droplets and then touching your face is a surefire way to become infected yourself. As offices see a lot of person-to-person contacts, it is imperative to place alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations everywhere.
Make sure to install these sanitizer dispensers in areas that experience a high volume of traffic. This includes lobbies, elevators, hallways, and even at every doorway. Along with this, post a sign at every station encouraging employees to sanitize their hands.
5. Increase Ventilation
Offices must also ensure proper ventilation to limit the spread of COVID-19, particularly for workplaces with a medium to high risk of exposure. You can increase ventilation through natural or artificial means. Offices must have fresh and clean air at all times, ideally without re-circulation. Make it a part of your office renovation during COVID-19 to increase the ventilation rate in your workplace. Additionally, make sure to clean the air filters on a regular basis.
Other Health and Safety Measures
Renovating the office during COVID-19 is one way to go, but it is not a catch-all solution. There are some other steps you must take to ensure a healthy and safe working environment for your employees. Such measures include but are not limited to the following:
- Distribute Masks. Provide free masks to your employees and ask them to wear them at all times, especially in places where social distancing is not possible.
- Promote Frequent Hand-Washing. Encourage employees to wash their hands often. Post signs in bathrooms and dining areas with instructions on the proper way to wash hands, which usually lasts 20 seconds.
- Make Social Distancing a Standard. Remind employees that social distancing in the workplace is a must. Consider suspending activity where social distancing is not possible. Furthermore, for enclosed spaces like elevators, adopt a four-person limit and a no-talking policy.
- Train and Educate. Misinformation is dangerous and can lead to higher risks. Make sure to orient employees on the proper procedures to follow to contain the spread of COVID-19.
- Schedule Regular Cleaning and Disinfection. Since the coronavirus can stick to surfaces for long periods of time, you must schedule regular cleaning and disinfection services to keep your surroundings virus-free.
- Limit Travel. If your office sends employees on out-of-town business trips, it is best to postpone or cancel them for now.
- Suspend Work or Adopt a Work-from-Home Setup. The risk of contamination is higher where there are large crowds or gatherings, i.e. an office. Allow employees to work from home or suspend work entirely, especially if social distancing is not possible. Medium- to high-risk workplaces, in particular, should follow this rule.
Investing in Present and Future Safety
These are the most critical features to include in your office renovation during COVID-19. Some offices may be hesitant to make permanent or semi-permanent renovations due to the associated cost or the trouble of reverting back after the dust settles. However, chances are these measures will still apply as offices adjust to a post-coronavirus world. As such, you should consider these changes an investment as well as a way to protect both your business and your workers.
MSI provides sneeze guard installation services and cleaning & disinfection services to all commercial facilities and offices. Reach out to us today by calling (704) 405-6000, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or online to know more.