COVID-19 continues to threaten businesses all over the world. Although many would prefer to stay at home, some jobs just cannot be done remotely. Some companies need to continue operations or risk shutting down and firing their staff. Small businesses and startups are especially vulnerable to this scenario.
Aside from the practices suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can also try to increase their office cleanliness and safety.
Disinfect High-touch Surfaces
Doorknobs, armchairs, countertops, and bathroom stalls: all these are what are considered as high-touch surfaces that contribute to the spread of the virus. Small businesses have to take the extra step by wiping off these surfaces more frequently than usual.
A good practice with offices, whether large or small, is to dedicate a day for deep cleaning. This is a more thorough way of cleaning that also targets the tight spaces between furniture. More than just sanitizing the air, this also involves dusting, cleaning our keyboards and chairs, and misting.
Invest in Cleaning Technology
Unlike large corporations, small businesses don’t have the luxury of buying advanced disinfection technology. What they can do is invest in new cleaning equipment that is more cost-efficient in the long-run. For example, cleaning microfiber towels are more effective than regular rags because of their material.
The combination of nylon and polyester can get into cracks and spaces that regular cloth and tissue can’t. Studies have also found that mops that use microfiber remove 99 percent of bacteria, while cotton-loop can only take away 33 percent. It is even more durable than regular cotton, so they won’t have to buy new ones for a long time.
Assess the Office Space
Generally, offices have many people stationed in close quarters, but in these times, small businesses can relocate them to establish a safer distance. To do this, they should first take note of the areas with high and low traffic. Companies can use underutilized areas like conference rooms as a temporary work station.
Similarly, figuring out which spaces have more traffic can help with strategizing on a cleaning plan. Those areas with more people can have more frequent disinfecting schedules than others. Cleaning equipment can also be made more available in those areas to encourage them to sanitize more.
One practice that some businesses are doing is removing chairs in lunchrooms. This is done so that employees have to eat in their designated spaces and minimize interaction. It’s undoubtedly a dreary situation, but it is one way to prevent people from getting infected by possible asymptomatic coworkers.
Consider Flexible Sick Leaves
Most companies are already reducing their number of staff, but business owners and managers need to be more cautious with the health of their employees. If someone goes in with signs of being sick, managers should be aware and encourage them to stay at home.
This can result in an increased number of sick leaves, but it’s essential to take special consideration in these difficult times. Sending home someone who is potentially sick protects the rest of the office from being infected. Even if it’s not a sign of COVID-19, any measure that can prevent them from being ill and going to a hospital or clinic with high infection rates is way better.
Improve the Ventilation System
One of the significant hazards of going into an office during a pandemic is air quality. Poor ventilation causes more viruses and bacteria to linger. If the air is not regularly being filtered and circulated, it increases the risk of those indoors to inhale these pathogens.
Research shows that droplets can stay in the air for at least eight minutes. Although some tend to drop down and land on the surface, a significant number can still float around in the air and be inhaled. Airflow between cubicles dilutes the contaminated air and reduces cross-infection.
The World Health Organization suggests increasing outdoor air by opening windows and adjusting their HVAC according to the number of people inside the room. They advise against the use of air recirculation. If that’s not possible, commercial areas need to replace their air filters more often.
Increasing cleaning and sanitation in the workspace might seem like a costly and time-consuming thing. But with these extra steps, small businesses can protect their employees while still being able to fulfill their functions. In the end, they will end up with more losses if their employees get sick while on the job.