Staying Safe as You Transition Back to the Office
After a year and more of remote work and building a new normal with it, businesses are finally ready to reopen. Workplaces across the nation are adapting to new requirements and bringing teams back into the office altogether or in stages. Some teams are still hybrid and will spend some time remote to limit the density of employees in the office at one time.
The one major concern on everyone's mind is staying safe in the office when a shared workplace could be an avenue for infection. Even if you are looking forward to seeing your coworkers again and working in collaboration, you should still take care to keep yourself and your family healthy during this transition.
Staying Safe in Shared Office Space
- Social Distancing
- Business Casual Masks
- Sanitized Surfaces
- Keeping Your Hands Clean
Be sure to respect your office’s workplace policies, always clean your surfaces, and take good care of your hand cleanliness. With a complete approach, you can enjoy time in the office, collaborate with colleagues and come home nearly risk-free.
Taking Care of Your Hands
On a good day of work in the office, you may sanitize your hands more than ten or fifteen times. In some circumstances, maybe more than twenty or thirty. Washing your hands with soap or rinsing them with alcohol is almost always extremely drying, especially in climates where cloth dries rapidly. Part of the problem is that your hands may start cracking even though you still need to keep washing.
There are two practical solutions to take care of your hands. The first is after-cleansing lotion, but this can leave your hands feeling sticky. Your other great option is a moisturizing hand sanitizer, like Muse Health, which will leave your hands softer than before they were cleansed.
Social Distancing at Work
The biggest challenge in most workplaces is social distancing and keeping your distance from coworkers with whom you work closely. It's not just the popularity of open-plan offices, it's also resisting rebuilding that old dynamic to take lunch together, lean over the conference table during discussions, and sharing food and drinks during your break.
Take your time and think about how you will socially distance. Establish your desk or office as a safe space and don't be afraid to mark the borders with colored post-it notes. Give your coworkers a wide berth when you pass and get in the habit of waving hello from a distance. Collaborate across the conference table and even video-chat in the same building to help keep your space.
Sanitizing Routine to Secure Your Personal Space
Carry your own pack of sanitizing wipes if your workplace doesn't have regular dispensers. Always wipe down your space and equipment when you take over a space you haven't seen in an hour or more. When you sit at your desk, sanitize everything as your first move. If you make a sandwich in the break room, sanitize the counter first. The courteous thing to do is also sanitize on your way out to minimize risk for the next person.
Navigating Hallways and Bathroom Breaks
Some areas of the office have closer quarters than the open-plan floor or conference rooms. Hallways and bathrooms, for example, may take some extra care to maintain a respectful and safe distance between coworkers. In the bathroom, take turns and always leave several spaces between yourself and anyone else. As you leave don’t forget to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with warm soap and water. For extra protection, sanitize your hands with a moisturizing alcohol gel, like Muse Health.
Lunch and Conferences
Eating lunch may be a challenge for a team used to sharing the break room around lunchtime. Instead, you may want to work with your team to take lunch in shifts to reduce crowding in the break room. Another option is to start catching lunch outdoors. Find a shady spot under a tree for a more relaxing and socially distanced lunchtime. Just be sure to clean your hands before you go back to work.
Maintaining an Office Mask Supply
Your office may be implementing its own mask mandate for in-office employees. While this may be cumbersome to your already busy schedule, it is for everyone’s health and safety. However, there are several ways to streamline your experience. One of the best approaches is to stock yourself up on clean, comfortable cloth masks.
- Find a mask design that is washable and buy them in bulk
- Keep at least 5 clean masks in your desk at any time and a backup mask or two in your personal bag
- Carry an empty drawstring bag or plastic bag with handles for dirty masks or masks that became too breath-moist to continue
Now, you can stay comfortably masked and ensure you have an easy mask change out whenever that becomes necessary or convenient.
Keep the Germs-Off
Make sure you head home as germ-free as possible. Stop to sanitize your hands and exposed skin before you leave the building or in your car before you start your commute home. By wearing a mask during the day, sanitizing regularly, and reducing the particles you bring home, you can enjoy work back in the office and keep your family safe from shared workspace exposures at the same time.
If you are heading back to the workplace, take these precautions for the sake of yourself and your family. By wearing your mask correctly, planning for social distancing, and regularly sanitizing your hands, you can keep yourself and your coworkers safe. Rearrange the office if your employer hasn't already and keep your personal stash of Muse Health handy to ensure your hands are always both clean and well-moisturized.