Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most workers spent 40 hours or more at their jobs every week. Then stay-at-home orders went into place and big shift to remote work began. Some people have fallen in love with the idea of working from home in their pajamas. But others are anxious to return to their social communities, where it’s easier to get things done as a team instead of over email.
Business owners can learn a lot from essential businesses, such as healthcare facilities, restaurants, and daycares that stayed open during the pandemic. Businesses that asked people to wear masks, practice good social distancing, and follow strict cleaning and disinfecting guidelines had the most success.
Companies that were able to let employees work from home are now making the decision to transition some or all workers back to the office. To do this safely and successfully, your reopening plan should include the same guidelines essential businesses have been following to keep everyone healthy. The decisions you’re making now will affect your business in the long term.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads directly between people through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Indirect transmission of the virus can occur when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
People who are infected with the virus, but don’t show symptoms can still spread the illness. This is a big reason why health experts recommend the 3 W’s to reduce the risk of COVID-19 — wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing your hands or using hand sanitizer regularly. Employers should also encourage employees to self-isolate and work from home if they believe they’ve been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
Social Distancing Guidelines
From restaurants and manufacturing facilities to offices and retail stores, business owners are being forced to rethink their workspaces to reopen safely and accommodate social distancing. Identify any common areas in your business where employees and customers may not be able to stay six feet apart. Eating areas, conference rooms, desk cubicles, and other common areas are all places where social distancing changes should be made.
You may need to move desks, install clear shields or other physical dividers, and use floor decals to meet recommended social distancing guidelines. The more you can do to make employees and customers feel safe in your business, the more successful your reopening will be.
Another sign that your business is considering the health and safety of employees and guests is to create a sanitizing station. Stock this area with disposable masks, multi-purpose sterile wipes, disinfecting cleaners, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. Depending on the size of your business, set up sanitizing stations in all high-traffic areas, and encourage employees and guests to use the products regularly.
Place additional hand sanitizer dispensers around your business to further encourage good hand hygiene practices. This will also help prevent the spread of coronavirus and other dangerous viruses and germs. Making sanitizing stations and dispensers available around your business is a positive sign to employees and customers that you’re promoting a healthier work environment.
Even if the restrooms at your business are single-occupancy and social distancing is not an issue, restrooms are still a place where illness can spread. There is an abundance of high-touch areas in bathrooms, including sinks, faucets, counters, stall doors, toilet flush handles, door handles, and light switches.
The toilet bowl is a key culprit in the spread of germs and bacteria in a bathroom. When the toilet is flushed, almost everything in the bowl goes down into the sewer pipes. However, the same flush also releases a microscopic spray into the air. This is known as toilet plume and contains bacteria and germs. The spray travels several feet in every direction, coating and contaminating every surface in the bathroom. Most public toilets do not have lids, so it’s nearly impossible to contain the potentially harmful spray.
To kill the germs and bacteria in a restroom, business owners and employees can use EPA-approved products to clean and disinfect bathroom facilities on a regular basis. You can also invest in a commercial cleaning service that includes an electrostatic spraying service. A new study shows the effectiveness of Enviro-Master’s Virus Vaporizer™ electrostatic spraying service lasts for five days. This program uses an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9 percent of dangerous germs, including the coronavirus.
Promote good hand-washing in restrooms with free printable posters from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise awareness about when and how to wash hands. Keep the restrooms in your business stocked with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer to reduce the spread of illness.
High-Touch Areas in Community Spaces
Outside of restrooms, break rooms are the second germiest spot in a business. This area not only has a lot of high touch surfaces, such as appliances and coffee machines, it is also a place where people are handling food. Through studies, we’ve discovered everything from E. Coli to salmonella in business break rooms. Other areas where germs can lurk include desk, desk chairs, keyboards, stairway handrails, door and door handles.
Encourage employees to use cleaning and disinfecting products provided at your sanitation stations to disinfect common areas as well as their workstations, computer keyboards, and phones. Ask them to do a better job cleaning up after themselves in the break room area. High-touch areas around a business can also benefit from electrostatic spray services to take some of the responsibility away from employees who are also trying to focus their work.
Get Commercial Cleaning Solutions for Your Business Today!
Returning to on-site work will not be business as usual. There are new sanitizing and disinfecting steps that all business owners are considering as part of reopening plans. Communicate your plan to staff and customers, so they know you’re focused on everyone’s health and safety.
The businesses that reopen successfully will be those that follow the previously mentioned guidelines from CDC health and safety experts. You can also partner with commercial cleaning services experts who have experience helping businesses operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Contact your local Enviro-Master technician about our weekly services and disinfecting products for your facility.
Call 1-833-GERMPROS for more information and get a free estimate today.