- Heather Biddle
Covid-19 & Office Safety
The New Year is a fresh start for many things, but unfortunately, it looks like Covid-19 is here to stay, at least for a little while. As we start to trend towards heading back to the office there are a few things to keep in mind in order to stop the spread of germs. While we may not be able to do everything to stop the spread of the virus, there are some recommended safety measures that can help to keep your office space clean and your employees healthy.
By now we are all aware that Covid-19 is transmitted from person to person typically through respiratory droplets found in the air. The Covid-19 outbreak has shed light on the importance of indoor air quality especially in small spaces such as an office. On average, offices tend to be home to many different sources of air contamination such as mold, bacteria, and viruses.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that indoor air environments are 2-5 times more polluted than the air outdoors.
Generally, the ventilation systems in most office buildings are not properly cleaned and maintained in order to eliminate many of the pollutants in the air. This, in combination with the rapid spread of Covid-19 has left many people uneasy about returning to the office.
So, how do we improve upon the air quality in the office?
While heading back to the office there are a few different ways in which we can take precautions. Remembering social distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing a mask are all important, but there are other things that can be done to take it a step further such as using air scrubbers.
An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that seizes airborne particles and improves the air quality. Air scrubbers are highly recommended especially in instances where there is a positive Covid-19 case present in your building.
Portable air scrubbers are designed to allow the operator to easily move the unit around, cleaning the air in multiple sections of the building. An air scrubber pulls in air and pushes it through a series of different filters, eliminating hazardous particles from the air.
Social Distancing in the Office
Another way to stay safe while heading back to work is to practice social distancing in the office. Here are some tips to help with this:
Limit the number of people coming into the office. Prohibit or keep visitors to a minimum
Accept deliveries in a lobby or central location
Organize desks and cubicles so that employees are spread out
Use virtual meetings whenever possible
Switch to touch-less options such as automatic doors, sinks, and soap dispensers
Block off areas where employees tend to congregate to prevent close contact
Every business you enter is handling the Covid-19 outbreak a little bit differently. Be sure to pay attention to the signs posted in order to honor the rules of that particular establishment.
How to Properly Clean and Disinfect
Cleaning with the proper disinfectants is also crucial to preventing the spread of Covid-19 in your office building. Fortunately, the CDC has provided detailed instructions on how to clean and disinfect workspaces along with a list of EPA-approved disinfectants known to be effective against the SARS virus. In summary, here's what they suggest.
When cleaning, use the proper personal protective equipment or PPE such as disposable gloves, gowns, and a mask. Carefully remove and throw these items away after disinfection.
Always clean before disinfecting the surfaces. To learn more about the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting check out this blog article.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily such as tables, chairs, light switches, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, remotes, toilets, desks, sinks, elevator buttons, etc. All shared electronic devices should be properly disinfected after each use.
To access the list of disinfectants for Covid-19 provided by the CDC click here.
The CDC recommends the following steps for cleaning and disinfecting your facility.
Develop Your Plan
Determine what needs to be clean, how things are to be disinfected, and what resources are needed to get the job done.
Start by cleaning visible dirty surfaces with soap and water. Next, use the appropriate cleaning or disinfectant product, remembering to always follow the directions on the label.
Maintain and Revise
Revise your plan as time goes on and routinely disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Remember to maintain safe practices such as frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and staying home when you are sick. Always use disposable gloves while cleaning and clean any dirty surfaces using soap and water first, then disinfectant.
Remember, Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt, and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills any remaining germs on surfaces which reduces the risk of spreading infections.