As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, workplaces throughout the country are implementing new guidelines to protect their employees and stop the spread of this virus.
Are you heading back to the office after working from home for the last couple of months? If your coworkers will be the first group of people you’ll be around since the shutdown, you may feel a little anxious. We’ve got some tips to ease your mind and help you keep safety a priority.
Know your workplace’s guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an abundance of information for businesses when it comes to operating during COVID-19. Each office building will run differently depending on its set-up, as well as the mandates of the state and/or city where it’s located. However, at the very least, workplace guidelines should include the following:
- Having employees wear face masks in public areas
- Spacing out workstations throughout the office
- Increasing cleaning and disinfecting procedures
Focus on the different layers of protection
There are many preventive actions you can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the workplace guidelines listed above, they include:
- Washing your hands constantly throughout the day
- Staying at least six feet away from other coworkers
- Self-monitoring for any symptoms
The more preventive actions you practice while in the workplace, the more layers of protection you are building up between yourself and this virus. When all of these actions are practiced consistently, it is hard for COVID-19 to spread.
Follow all rules
As we see our coworkers again and are in a familiar environment, it might be easy to fall back in to our old routines. However, it is critical to follow new COVID-19 workplace guidelines to help stop the spread.
Be extra cautious about practicing good coughing and sneezing etiquette as these are two of the main ways this virus is spreading. If there is a limit to the number of people who can be in the restroom at once, don’t ignore this rule just because you really have to go. If a hallway is one-way traffic only, don’t go down it the wrong way just because you are running late. Find a new way to look at a colleague’s computer screen without standing close and looking over their shoulder.
While these rules might cause minor inconveniences during your day, they are keeping everyone working in the office building safe. When at work, always be aware of your actions and how they might affect you or someone else.
Keep open lines of communication
Until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, our daily lives and operations will not be as they were before. We are in this for the long haul, and therefore communication is key.
Anxiety and stress during this time are completely normal. If you are feeling any of these emotions, especially if they are being triggered by something in the workplace, discuss them with your supervisor. Don’t bury them, which can allow resentment to grow.
As you self-monitor your symptoms regularly, tell your supervisor immediately if you notice any signs of COVID-19. Also tell them right way if you believe you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
If you feel someone in the office is not following the new COVID-19 rules, share this information with your supervisor as well. Don’t look at it as tattling. This is about keeping everyone safe.
On the other hand, you might feel that your coworkers are worrying too much. Try to keep in mind that your coworker might have a loved one who is at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, or they might be in a high-risk group themselves.
To keep businesses up and running, we all need to come together and stand strong behind new workplace guidelines. Being open and honest is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your coworkers during this time.
Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.