COVID-19 has had a considerable impact on the working environment of many. Whether you’ve swapped your office desk for your kitchen table or adapted your office space to be Covid-safe, making changes to the way we work, although essential, can feel unsettling and overwhelming. As an employer, or anyone working in a shared office, ensuring your working environment is safe for the entire team can be quite a daunting task. Here at The Edwards Company, we too have been faced with such challenges. While some of our team can work remotely from the safety of their own homes, we do have team members who are still very much required in the office, supporting clients in essential sectors.
We know it isn’t easy navigating your business through a global pandemic, especially when it’s not necessarily possible to do so from home. However, in addition to the government instructed COVID-19 Risk Assessment, there are some simple yet effective steps you can take to ensure the spread of the virus in your office is minimal, and your team are safe in the workplace. Here are some of our top tips, tried and tested in our EdCo office.
Keep your space clean
Keeping on top of daily cleaning tasks can kill germs and keep the spread of infection under control. It is vital to pay attention to door handles, stair bannisters, light switches and all other surfaces that may be touched by multiple people, multiple times a day. Don’t forget to clean your desk equipment too – phones and keyboards are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Cleaning these items each day will give you peace of mind that your workspace is as sanitary as possible.
The EdCo team have a shared cleaning rota which we find works particularly well for us. Communal spaces and surfaces are kept clean, and personal workspaces are as hygienic as possible without the responsibility all falling on one individual.
Sanitising stations are also a great addition as you enter the office to encourage staff to sanitise their hands and maintain good hygiene when moving in and out of the office.
Don’t underestimate the power of an open window! Opening the office windows, for a minimum of 15 minutes each day, is a great way to increase air quality and help prevent the spread of viruses and other pathogens. Health experts believe that letting in the fresh air also has cognitive benefits such as reduced drowsiness and increased concentration. It is now a must in our EdCo office that the first person in each morning is to throw open the windows (whatever the weather!) and let in that clean outdoor air.
Implement social distancing measures
This one may sound obvious, but maintaining social distancing, at all times, is key to upkeeping a safe environment for your team. Experts believe that coronavirus is much more likely to be transmitted from person to person than through contact with surfaces. Which is why ensuring everyone in your office has a separate area is essential. Here at The Edwards Company, we decided that an office re-jig was necessary to effectively social distance. All desks have been separated and sufficiently spaced out to make sure there is no face-to-face working and everyone has a section of the office that is their own. We highly recommend using yellow floor tape to remind anyone walking through the office that they must not cross over into colleagues allocated ‘safe space’.
Although you may have a clean office space, and social distancing in place, there may occasionally be unavoidable circumstances where social distancing is difficult to maintain, or communal items are in use. Using PPE, such as a face covering and gloves, provides an extra precaution for controlling the spread of the virus. We have implemented the rule of using disposable gloves when using any shared office tools or appliances, in addition to disinfecting after each use. Face coverings are also in use around the office. For example, when answering the door to deliveries, greeting pre-arranged external visitors or moving around the office, outside of our allocated workspace.
As individuals, we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and those around us from the spread of coronavirus. By following our tried and tested tips from The Edwards Company and keeping up to date with the government’s latest advice, you can rest assured that yourself and your workforce can work safely from the office with minimal risk.
Do you have any tips for working safely in an office environment through this pandemic? Leave a comment with your suggestions; we would love to hear them.
If you have found yourself in a situation where your staff are no longer working from the office and cannot work from home, why not consider using a Virtual Assistant to lighten your workload?
Whether you’re local to our office in Wombourne, West Midlands, or running your business from further afield, like some of our clients in Scotland and Manchester, we can support you with services, such as credit control and other admin tasks. Get in touch on 01384 626 313 to discover how we can work together through these unprecedented times.