Here is how to ensure a safe workplace for everyone
While working from home remains present as a pandemic measure of staying protected during work hours, some of the employees do not have the full-time home office option. Their presence at shared work environment requires detailed health and safety consideration, careful risk assessment and application of safety and hygiene measures.
Keeping in mind the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, we have put together a short guide to help you handle the current workplace needs in regard to pandemic, adjust the work routine and make sure your workplace is optimised to keep all employees protected and safe.
Personal hygiene is the best safety measure
Maintaining a good hand-washing routine is the best way to take safety into our own hands. That's why promoting regular and thorough handwashing for employees, customers and partners is key.
Make sure everyone has access to a facility where they can wash their hands with soap and water. Additionally, place hand disinfectant dispensers (we recommend touch- free alternatives) in prominent places around the workplace and make sure they are replenished regularly.
Place guidance and signs around the office using self-adhesive display, giving safety tips and promoting handwashing and pointing to the nearest hygiene facilities.
If a lot of human contact is a part of the daily job, an important protective measure is using the right PPE: face masks, respirators, shields and safety gloves. Since there are so many models suitable for different use-cases, it is important to be informed and choose the correct mask that fits your needs
Regular surface cleaning and disinfecting routine
Keeping surfaces clean and disinfected is a base stone for keeping everyone safe, it is also important to communicate to all employees that their safety is your first priority.
All surfaces that are being used regularly should be cleaned regularly too - examples include desk surfaces, computer keyboards and PC mouse, phones and mobile devices, handrails and door handles. Dirty surfaces should be first cleaned with washing product and water before disinfection.
How to choose the right hygiene for your workplace?
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Avoid sharing objects
Sharing workstations, phones, computers or other tools or equipment should be discouraged.
If it cannot be avoided, they need to be disinfected before use by another person. Make sure that everyone has access to disposable wipes to clean commonly used surfaces and tools, like the ones mentioned earlier.
Safe Meetings and business etiquette
As a rule of thumb, always consider if a physical meeting can be replaced by a virtual one.
If a face-to-face meeting is indeed necessary, make sure to scale it down and have as few participants as possible. Ensure that sufficient supplies and products such as tissues, disinfectants, and face masks, for all participants in the room are at hand, visible and at easy access. Have disposal bins with lids to ensure higher safety standards.
Social distancing is to be kept also during meetings, so if space allows, arrange seating so that there is at least a 2 meters space between each participant. Handshake is still not encouraged, so now is the time to come up with icebreakers and ways to say hello that are touch-free. Keep in mind coughing and sneezing etiquette.
Inform and educate using professional and stylish signage and displays
It is important to make sure that our workspaces are optimised for safe work and that they are meeting the requirements of social distancing and hygiene measures. Here are some general guidelines for each different type of working area.
If you have a formal protocol for visitors or batch requirements, make sure it is followed closely and with the necessary health safety measures. An option is the use a 'phone-in' entry solution to grant safe access to your space. Immensely useful are DURAFRAME® poster holders with current policies and opening hours placed at the entrance glass door. They offer an elegant solution to visual of important information as they can be read from both sides when affixed to glass. Placing plexiglass dividers on a reception counter is a good way to take precaution and communicate visually that safety is important. Make sure seating areas at the reception follows the social distancing rules. Consider removing magazines, catalogues or other material from the common areas and ensure there is an easy access to sanitising products.
OUR TIP: Avoid adhering DURAFRAME® to surfaces such as wallpaper, porous and non-stick surfaces. Ensure that the surface used is free from dust, grease or any dirt that could affect the adhesive of the material.
Make sure to maintain the social distancing rules throughout all working areas, as much as the space and floor plan allows you. It is important to determine the safe maximum workstations capacity that your space allows you and stick to it. Place visual cues on the floor to indicate a safe distance between working areas. Remove chairs from common areas to discourage gatherings and stick to assigned seating arrangements. Avoid leaving personal belongings around the space. A good measure is installing higher protective panels or shields between the workstations or to space out workstations in a way that the workers do not sit face-to-face. Do not forget about sanitizing your ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Meeting and training areas
Training and meetings are preferably to be kept virtual, using available tools and systems. However, when physical meetings are necessary, it is good to keep all gatherings to a maximum of 10 people at a time for large meetings and fewer people for smaller rooms. Place signs in each meeting or conference room clearly stating the limit of people allowed. All extra seats should be removed and stored away until the social distancing measures are lifted.
Food Service and Coffee Break Spaces
Many food service places are implementing safety measures such as reduced seating, recommended social distancing space and reduced work hours. Other ways to keep safety is offering pre-packed foods and use contactless payment, avoiding handling cash.
Lunch break areas should maintain the recommended safe social distancing rules and allow as few people at a time as possible, keeping in mind the size of the facilities.
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