As of the beginning of June, all 50 states are currently under some stage of reopening after shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have not yet headed back to work, this time may be quickly approaching. Here are five ways that you can prepare to go back to the office after quarantine.
Stock Up on Essentials
Before you head to the office for the first time, you need to make sure that you have the tools and supplies that you need to protect yourself from potential exposure to the virus. Research has proven time and time again that one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself and those around you is to wear a mask. It is a good idea to try out a few different types of masks to discern what is most comfortable for you to wear in an office setting.
You should also make sure that you have plenty of hand sanitizer on hand. While old-fashioned soap and water is still the most effective way to wash your hands, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can work when you are in a bind. Other things to bring with you when you return to work include antibacterial wipes to regularly clean your desk area and gloves to use in high-traffic situations.
Minimize People in Building
It is important to realize that going back to the office does not have to be an all or nothing approach. You can minimize the risk of COVID-19 by also minimizing the number of people in the building at one time. Because the virus has been demonstrated to spread in close quarters, you can mitigate the spread by staggering your work shifts. For example, perhaps at the beginning of the reopening process, the building can operate with only 50% of the usual capacity. One good way to control the number of people is to take turns coming into the office and working from home.
Modify Your Work Area
The ongoing health crisis may cause many offices to re-evaluate the layout of the office space. It may no longer be appropriate to cram people into a cubicle layout that does not allow for sufficient social distancing. The good news is that there are a number of modern office furniture cubicles that provide more space and protection than standard cubicle layouts. There are now even specific social distancing cubicles that allow you to enjoy sufficient separation from the other workers in your office. These cubicles also provide shields to help to block out germs.
Encourage Others to Stay Home When Sick
The culture of gutting it out and coming into the office when feeling under the weather has to simply stop. You can do your part by encouraging your co-workers to stay home when ill. Everyone needs to band together and pitch in when others are not feeling well so that nobody feels obligated to come to work when they are not at 100%. Protecting workers with regular health screenings can help to keep employees honest and the workplace as safe as possible.
Listen to Government Officials
Just because offices are beginning to open up, does not mean that the threat of the virus is over. While most areas have successfully flattened the curve, the virus is still out there. Many health experts are also predicting a second and possibly more severe wave this fall or winter. This ongoing threat makes it important to stay aware of the rapidly changing situation so that you can make changes to your work habits if necessary. Your local government officials will have the best data to help you to remain current with how the virus is progressing in your area.
It is understandable to be worried about returning to the office after being holed up in the safety and comfort of your own home for months. However, you can ease this anxiety by equipping yourself with the tools and knowledge to mitigate the risk that the virus poses to you and your co-workers. Being proactive about protecting yourself will give you peace of mind as you return to a more normal lifestyle.