Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, a lot of operations have been disrupted and has greatly impacted the way people live and work. Office work is one of the most affected places since there is fear of going out and social distancing has been implemented.
At UOffice Executive Suites, we understand the current predicament, and we have made sure to provide a safe and secure workspace that you can use with your team. We are going to be discussing the different ways that offices are managing the COVID-19 pandemic so that you know if it’s safe for your office to resume operations. Read on below for more information.
How Is the Workplace Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way everything works; it has also affected how an office operates. It has forced people to do remote work with endless video call meetings. The pre-pandemic situation might have been different as people have shared desks and crowded break rooms, but since the release of strict protocols must be observed, health protocols like social distancing and use of face masks and other PPE have been enforced.
Nowadays, most offices have allowed people to return to work. Temperature checks have been required upon entering the workplace and employees have been offered the flexibility to continue working from remote areas. For an office to function well, thorough cleaning and sanitation procedures are commonly observed.
Is it Safe to go Back to the Office Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The safety of a workplace will depend on different factors, such as the rate of transmission in the vicinity where the office is located, health and sanitation regulations and protocols implemented by the city government, etc. Another factor to consider is the type of work that is being done in the office. Offices that are considered as high-risk are those working indoors with regular face-to-face contact where the workers are always near each other and the building has poor indoor ventilation.
Air Quality and Office Ventilation
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about the focus on the importance of indoor air quality and the important protocols that must be followed to prevent the spread of germs and disease within a confined space. A healthy indoor environment must be maintained to keep the employees safe while working inside the office. Air filters and good ventilation systems must be used to properly filter and remove any harmful pathogens in the air. Indoor air quality must be regularly checked.
Air quality assessments can be performed so that any issues can be addressed to improve indoor ventilation. At UOffice Executive Suites, we prioritize the health and safety of our clients. We have provided air purifiers that will make sure that you and your team will have a safe and clean environment. In addition to this, we will be cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting the meeting rooms and common areas after each use.
We are using the Beyond Guardian Air system that uses ActivePure Technology. This will help with air filtration better than a HEPA filtration. It has the following benefits:
- Destroys 99% surface and air contaminants.
- Effective against germs, viruses, bacteria, mold, and fungi.
- Cleans and removes odors and different smells in the air.
- Lessens airborne contaminants and allergens that can stimulate asthma symptoms or allergic reactions.
- Certified Space technology that helps protect and purifies the surrounding air.
What Are the Steps That You Can Take to Make Your Office Safe?
- Follow the CDC guidelines of cleaning and disinfecting the office.
- Use PPE (gloves, masks, etc.) when cleaning and disinfecting. Always make sure to clean an area before disinfecting it.
- Use disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces and high-traffic areas.
- Never combine cleaning products.
- High-contact surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Some of these areas include chairs, desks, doorknobs, tables, light switches, phones, remotes, door handles, gadgets with touchscreens, toilets, sinks, elevator buttons, etc.
- Clean and disinfect electronics, equipment, kiosks, and other commonly shared items.
2. Disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers, isopropyl alcohol, and antibacterial hand soap must be readily available. Everyone must know how to properly use them. The employees must be fully committed to regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
3. Use updated professional cleaning and disinfecting procedures in the office to help contain and reduce viruses and germs in the workplace. Avoid sharing workstations, computer accessories, etc.; this will help reduce the spread of germs and viruses in the workplace.
4. Flexible seating arrangements must be imposed. Everyone must clean their workstations, high-contact surfaces, equipment, and desks.
5. Social distancing must be observed in the workplace.
- If there are plenty of employees, shifts must be implemented. Only a limited number of employees should be allowed into the office at a given time. Cleaning schedules and limited workstations must also be implemented.
- Desks must be placed 6 feet or more apart. The office capacity must be pre-determined and based on the social distancing policies and shifts can be done accordingly. Employees must be assigned to their desks.
- Do not allow visitors in the office, especially if it is not necessary. The use of shared surfaces must be limited – pantry use, break rooms, lockers, etc. Delivery of personal packages must be discouraged.
- The office design must be rearranged. Desks and social spaces can be placed with partitions. Seating arrangements must be revised, floor signs can be used for one-way hallways and stairs.
- Execute virtual meetings in the office. Do not allow meetings to be held in a limited space. Conference rooms can be turned into a personal office or storage area.
Communication About COVID-19 in the Workplace
To prevent confusion or misunderstanding in the office, good communication is important to impart relevant information about the coronavirus. This will help assure and support the employees in the office.
- Prepare direct and incisive updates about relevant matters that affect the company. Communication is important and must be consistent throughout.
- Support must be always available and two-way communication should be available for the employees. Allow the staff to voice out their concerns and needs and give them the opportunity to express themselves, especially if they have needs that must be addressed accordingly.
- Safety reminders such as floor signs must be available in the office to help remind everyone about the necessary safety measures, such as proper handwashing, proper respiratory hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting reminders, social distancing, and symptoms of COVID-19. Materials and posters can be strategically placed so everyone has access to them. It can be placed in the hallways, areas with high traffic, or outside conference or meeting rooms.
If working remotely is necessary or advised, check out the following tips below to manage it with ease.
- Provide important and regular updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. Proper communication is the key to disseminating relevant information for everyone in the office. This can also address any misunderstandings or confusion within the team.
- Technology is important for the continuity of the company. It will help with the communication, project tools and management, and video conferencing for vital company meetings and regular updates about the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Cleaning and disinfecting are important and must be done regularly. Everyone must wipe down their desks and equipment, especially the shared spaces, after using them. If shifting is done in the office, everyone must do their part before leaving the office.
- Hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, and PPE must be readily available anytime for use in the office. Their location and use must be made aware to everybody in the office so that they can be located to prevent the spread of viruses or germs during office hours.
- Use an official communication channel for the team. This can help disseminate information regarding company updates for everyone concerned.
- Communication must be consistent. This is necessary for team collaboration and it can help decrease the need to have a face to face interaction such as conferences or meetings. Regular posts and updates, emails, and video calls can be done.
- Encourage social interactions between the team via video calls. This can help promote solidarity and promote team spirit. This can help the whole team to stay connected with each other.
- Check the team regularly for work updates and to know if the employees need extra support. Let everyone know that they are not alone in these trying times.
- Advocate for a work-life balance among your team. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, a lot of things have been implemented that have disrupted their daily activities, one good example of this is social distancing. You must let your team manage their homes and let them have time for non-work activities.
If you are searching for a safe workplace for you and your team to have a meeting or conference, you must check UOffice Executive Suites. You can check our membership and services here. Click this link to check our conference and meeting rooms.
Do you own a company and you need a remote office space? If you are located in Houston, Texas, UOffice Executive Suites is perfect for you. If you need a meeting room, conference room, etc., please contact us. You can call our phone number 832-932-5165 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our address is Bay Plaza, 711 West Bay Area Boulevard, Suite 220, Webster, Texas, 77598. We are also opening an uptown location at 550 Post Oak Boulevard Houston, TX 77027. Our workspaces are safe and COVID-19 ready. What are you waiting for? Contact us today. We are looking forward to providing you a safe workplace where you can work from with no worries.