As the summer comes to a close, back to school and back to work is a reality for many families. Both are coming with a mix of remote and in-person days here in Sturgeon Bay, WI and the rest of the country.
As part of business continuity planning, businesses have been planning technology roadmaps that give them options for both remote and on-site staff with the ability to keep both connected.
For many people, they’ll be heading back to offices shuttered since mid-March. Some may be returning full-time and others part-time, while they work remotely the other half of the time. But for nearly everyone, the specter of COVID-19 is still very much around.
Going back to the office can come with both excitement at getting back to some semblance of “normal,” but there also comes the question, “How will I stay safe from getting coronavirus?”
Employers have made a lot of adjustments when it comes to mask mandates, social distancing signage, and more. But that might not completely alleviate someone’s concerns.
You can take your safety into your own hands by using what’s known as the “Swiss Cheese” approach to COVID safety.
Tips for Keeping Your Office Workspace COVID-Free
So, what’s the “Swiss Cheese” approach? It’s a model for risk management that was first introduced in the 1990’s. It’s been used by the aviation industry to track down and resolve safety issues and by healthcare facilities to mitigate patient and staff risk of infection.
Another way to think of it is as a layered approach. Each slice of Swiss cheese has certain risk factors (the holes), but if you layer several slices together, you reduce the overall risk of something getting from one side of the “cheese layers” to the other.
Image source: Cleveland Clinic – The “Swiss Cheese” approach as it relates to COVID-19 safety.
What layers should you use in your Swiss cheese coronavirus safety strategy?
Hopefully your employer will have social distancing signage and markers that mark at least 6 feet of distance between employees. However, if they don’t, you may want to make some of your own.
Use colored string or tape to mark off a perimeter that is a minimum of 6 feet away from your work area.
Plexiglass shields have been showing up in just about every grocery store as a coronavirus mitigation tactic. They’re also being used to shield desks both at work and school.
You can think of desk shields as somewhat like “sneeze guards,” and they can help provide another important layer of protection from the spread of the virus.
Desk shields can be purchased online and there are also several DIY videos online that show you how to make your own.
Wearing a mask all day at work isn’t for everyone, but they do help prevent the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. As a bonus, they’ll also help against catching the flu, a cold, or other airborne illnesses.
Choose a comfortable mask that fits well, so you’re not tugging at it all day. And at the very least, wear it when you’re less than 6 feet away from others (such as when you’re walking to lunch).
Keep Your Work Area Disinfected
Beyond the cleaning that your employer may be doing, if you want to be absolutely sure your work area is sanitized, you’ll want to do some yourself.
Disinfect all surfaces that you may touch, and don’t forget things like the top of your chair back or your office light switch.
- Do not use bleach or water
- Use a solution or wipe that has at least 70% isopropyl alcohol
- Use a microfiber cloth or swab
- Allow solution to sit at least 30 seconds
For non-electronic surfaces:
- You want to use a cleaner proven to kill COVID-19
- Here is a list of approved disinfectants from the EPA
It’s best to come in a little early and disinfect first thing in the morning so you know you’ll be starting the day out with a safe workspace.
Wash Hands Regularly
Hand washing is proven to help reduce the transmission of germs, bacteria, and viruses. Make sure to wash your hands often with soap and water and keep hand sanitizer at your desk for when you need to sanitize hands but can’t get to the washroom right away.
Use the Outdoors When Possible
If you can hold a team meeting outside rather than inside, you’ll reduce some of the risk of contracting COVID-19. The same is true of lunches and breaks. Use the outdoors whenever possible.
Additionally, if the weather allows, open any windows. The airflow helps keep COVID from lingering in the air.
Get Help Distancing IT Equipment Without Any Safety Problems
If you’re attempting to distance your IT equipment yourself, you could end up with dangerous cords throughout the office creating a trip hazard. Quantum PC Services can help you distance your workstations the right way.
Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.