For many of us, the time is coming to return back to work.  This means creating a safe and clean work environment for ourselves, coworkers, and employees in the offices and workplaces we are returning to.  While previous cleaning and wellbeing practices may have already been in place, specific steps need to be taken to ensure there is a limit to the spread germs and bacteria in our places of work.  The following recommendations and guidance are specific to offices or businesses.

Social Distancing

  • 6 feet apart at all times.
  • Practice the same social distancing patterns and behaviors throughout the entire building inclusive of offices, work spaces, conference rooms, and gathering places.
  • Communicate via email, phone, and video conference as frequently as possible.
  • If in person meetings are absolutely necessary, limit participants and continue to stay 6 feet apart.
  • To keep distance, make temporary work stations, use partitions or plexi-glass, and use tape to mark distances with heavy traffic.
  • In smaller settings, think about staggering schedules between days, hours, or key employees.
  • In buildings where there are elevators, limit occupancy to one person or two people who are wearing masks.

Masks

  •  Cloth face masks are effective and recommended.
  • All face masks should cover nose, mouth, and chin.

Disinfecting

  • Use only EPA approved cleaners and disinfectants.
  • Always start with a clean surface.
  • For liquid or aerosol cleaners, utilize the spray, wipe using a disposable towel, spray method for disinfecting work areas.
  • For using disinfectant wipes, utilize the wipe, discard, wipe method for disinfecting work areas.
  • Disinfection should be done at the beginning and end of every day at the least, with potential for cleanings throughout the day when applicable.
  • Take time to disinfect door handles and light switches as often as possible.
  • When cleaning floors, opt for a disposable head to use with a disinfectant liquid, as opposed to a typical mop and bucket.

Hand Washing & Drying

  • Use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds thoroughly washing palms, wrists, and finger nails.
  • Cold water is acceptable if it is all that is available.
  • Dry hands with paper towel or towels that are frequently laundered.  Hand dryers are not as effective and spread germs.
  • Use the paper towel or towel to turn off faucet and open bathroom door before disposing.
  • When washing hands is not an option, hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol is a reasonable alternative.

Gloves

  • Wear gloves when using frequently touched equipment or in high traffic areas.
  • Discard after every use.
  • Always check for holes or irregularities.
  • To remove them, grasp one glove on the outside at the wrist, peel it inside out, pull from the underneath, and ball up the glove into the other hand.  Grasp the other glove from the underneath, peel from the wrist, and dispose of both gloves into the trash.
  • Wash hands before and after using gloves.
  • Any reusable types of gloves should be disinfected after every use and specified only for cleaning.

Coughing & Sneezing

  • Cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue and dispose of accordingly.
  • Always wash hands after coughing or sneezing.

Phones & Electronics

  • Clean and disinfect at least once daily.
  • Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or disinfectant wipe is typically acceptable for cleaning devices, but always check manufacturer recommendations.
  • Dry accordingly to prevent the pooling of any liquids.
  • Use hands free tools such as speakerphone or headsets when available.
  • Discourage the sharing of any devices.

Bathrooms

  • Consider adding a cleaning aid to toilets so the bowl is disinfected with every flush.

Common Areas

  • Create social distancing guidelines for these areas.
  • If social distancing is not available, such as in an eating area, stagger lunch schedules or allow for eating outside.
  • All employees should clean and disinfect any surfaces after use
  • Food should be brought in a reusable bag with a handle, labeled with the employee’s name.
  • Reusable cups or mugs for water and coffee should be discouraged during this time.  Opt for disposable and recyclable options.

Air Filters

  • Change out air filters and implement high efficiency filters or HEPA filters.  This will keep the air clean and prevent any airborne pollutants.
  • Clean airs vents at least once per day, and two to three times per day in high traffic areas.

Signs and Posters

  • Place signs around the office reminding employees and guests about the importance of social distancing, hand washing, and tracking their health.
  • Place signs outside any entrances to prevent anyone entering the work space that may be ill.

Links to Resources for Specific Guidance