As the pace of vaccination continues to speed up, companies are turning their focus to reopening workplaces. Some employees have been work from home (WFH) for well over a year, while others have suffered furloughs. It’s been a tough time, filled with unknowns.
Now, whatever the return to the office looks like, it’s up to employers to keep their employees safe.
What employees want
Many companies are choosing to reopen with revised work models. Formerly 100% in-office businesses want to save rent and boost productivity with a hybrid structure, incorporating insights gained from months of WFH.
Employees are often responding positively to these ideas. But at the same time, they’re voicing concerns about the risks a hybrid model brings. Among these concerns, the top three are:
- Safety in common spaces
- Shared-workspace disinfection
- PPE availability and requirements
Keeping common spaces sanitized
When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting your facility, common spaces are a top priority. They have the most high-touch surfaces. They also tend to involve activities that pose higher risk, such as eating and drinking together.
Reopening businesses safely requires a robust plan for disinfecting common areas. If you have a janitorial or cleaning service, this may make things easier. However, if they only clean once a day or less, more is needed to keep employees safe.
Sanitizing high-touch surfaces, such as door handles or tabletops, can be time-consuming if it’s done several times a day. If the task is too frustrating or takes too long, it may be tough to get employees to buy in to the routine.
Look for a sanitizing solution that’s fast, easy to operate and maneuverable. Electrostatic sprayers are an excellent choice. They can be pre-filled and set aside. Then employees can use them whenever and wherever they need.
Electrostatic technology also:
- guarantees sanitizing chemicals are distributed evenly across an entire surface.
- creates very little runoff.
- Frees employees from waiting around for things to dry. They simply spray and walk away.
Disinfecting shared workspaces
One of the pillars of the hybrid work model is the shared workspace. Employees who are partly WFH share desks to save on office square footage. It’s an appealing, flexible model. It also carries health risks.
Sanitizing shared workstations before and after each use is vital. There are two general options for providing sanitizing supplies to staff:
- Keep supplies in a central, easy-to-access location.
- Provide each station or staff person with individual disinfecting kits.
Spray bottles, disinfecting wipes and electrostatic sprayers are all options, so long as employees are trained on their use. One important note: for disinfecting wipes, employees should always wash their hands after use. This is to reduce cross-contamination risks, since this method uses direct contact with contaminated surfaces.
Clearly communicate disinfection protocols, and make them as easy to follow as possible. Post signs or email staff the information they need. Assign a clear point-of-contact who has the authority to answer questions and address concerns.
Providing PPE and making expectations clear
Finally, employees need proper PPE to be safe at work. Even if there are no shared workstations and no communal areas, the risks of in-person interactions need to be addressed.
Some easy steps to take include:
- Providing disposable facemasks and hand sanitizer. These supplies reassure employees that the environment is as safe as possible.
- Posting signage at the front of the building that clearly lays out masking requirements.
- Insisting that staff and visitors be masked when entering or exiting the workplace.
- Insisting that staff be masked whenever they’re on the move.
When in doubt about reopening, turn to the experts.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides up-to-date guidelines for disinfecting businesses. If you find yourself unsure of how to handle any situation, this is an excellent resource.
Finally, if you’re looking for the highest-quality supplies and equipment, EnviroPro Solutions has you covered. We make the process of reopening businesses simple with our cutting-edge sanitizing sprayers, disinfecting chemicals and PPE products. For advice on what will best serve your business and protect your employees, give us a call at 1-763-296-4449 or email us at [email protected]