The arrival of COVID-19 has demanded that the world adopt a new sense of normal: new apparel (designer masks), new pastimes (daily walks, outdoor hikes, or reoccurring Netflix binges), and, inevitably, new workplace procedure that ensures the health and safety of your employees. During the lockdowns enforced in states all over the U.S., keeping your at-home office space safe from breeding bacteria and in accordance with your personal standard of clean was easy. Now, as the economy transitions to a new version of normal, and millions of Americans return to work, employers are faced with the challenge of keeping their workspaces clean and free of COVID-19-causing germs. Using a professional cleaning service will eliminate many of the concerns spurred by these uncertain and unprecedented times. In-between professional services, you and your team should take your own precautionary measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 and effectively flatten the curve. Here’s how to be proactive in keeping your work environment safe during the chaos of a pandemic. Take Cleaning Services Seriously When you step back into your office, you may be thinking more about the seven essential costs every business owner must pay after a long period of working from home. However, the health and safety of your team should always remain the highest priority for any business owner. Step 1 in maintaining a safe work environment for your employees is contacting a professional decontamination company (like ECS Crime & Trauma Scene Cleanup in Texas); doing so will ensure your office is properly sanitized at all times. The deep cleaning services offered by this team of cleaning experts will help you feel confident that your office is up-to-standard and safe enough for you and your staff to return to. To offer your team a sense of comfort, you, as a business owner, should educate yourself on the lifespan of the viruses and bacteria that can thrive in your office environment, so you’re adequately prepared to implement a COVID-19 response plan. How Long Can Viruses and Bacteria Survive in an Office? At times like these, it’s vital that every inch of your office space is regularly cleaned and disinfected to keep your staff safe from the harm of germs and bacteria. The latest information released by the World Health Organization shows the germs associated with COVID-19 can live for long periods of time on a variety of surfaces, thus increasing the chances of one of your employees contracting the virus by touching a contaminated printer, stapler, or keyboard. The lifespan for these germs and bacteria depends on the surface material type. The COVID-19 virus can last on cardboard surfaces for up to 24 hours on cardboard and between two and three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. To avoid contamination and virus transmission, regularly sanitize your workspace and high touchpoints/surfaces such as door handles, bathroom stalls, fridge handles, water fountains, communal breakrooms, etc. You can recruit your staff or hire a professional cleaning service to fumigate your office space daily or weekly, depending on the amount of touch-up cleaning your staff is willing to perform. Don’t Give up on Social Distancing In the era of COVID-19, one of the biggest struggles employers and employees experience, alike, is safely transitioning from remote work back to your on-site location. Social distancing protocol of six feet or more and wearing masks have both been proven effective in slowing the spread of the virus, as it migrates around the world. In many office environments, difficult decisions will need to be made in regards to the layout and operation of your locations. Generally speaking, rearranging desks and distancing seating positions six feet apart is the best safety precaution for an office manager or business owner to implement. By keeping every worker at least six feet apart, your workplace will be in accordance with CDC guidelines, calming the nerves of your high-risk or elderly employees. Make New Workplace Policies Visible If executed properly, the health and safety guidelines/ procedures put into effect will be difficult to ignore. Whether you mandate mask wear during a full eight-hour shift, limit your meetings to fewer than 10 people, ban the use of communal spaces like breakrooms, or place hand sanitizer dispensers around every corner, your employees should notice your COVID-19 prevention measures. Every employee should also understand their personal responsibility to keep their coworkers as safe as possible from the effects of COVID-19. New workplace policies for COVID-19 should be posted in highly visible places around the workplace to promote a safe work environment. Eventually, with months of pandemic safety procedures in place, your staff may become desensitized to the urgency and necessity of CDC guidelines. You may even find that your employees deliberately ignore necessary safety measures out of frustration. Wearing a mask for an eight-hour workday isn’t always ideal and may stir feelings of discomfort. So, it’s important to find new ways to keep your staff happy (while keeping them safe). To guarantee that protocol is followed consistently, conduct regular meetings to review safety procedures and to remind your employees of their importance. Look for New Ways of Helping Workers As an office manager or business owner, the safety and security of every worker in your care should be a top priority. The pandemic’s new normal will inevitably change the way we work, whether it impacts hours of operation or simply the frequency of team meetings. More likely than not, the new normal will include: Alternating work days for employees Personal laptops, telephones, and other equipment Bluetooth technology can limit cross-contamination Allowing your employees to modify their hours to avoid contact with others should be a part of your COVID-19 response plan. By prioritizing the comfortability of your employees in their own workspaces, their productivity shouldn’t be affected in the face of a pandemic. Remember, employees that feel appreciated, heard, and considered will work harder and will feel more motivated to achieve their goals. Stay Safe at Work In the era of coronavirus, most employers are welcoming suggestions from their employees on how to create the safest work environment possible. Because these are such unprecedented times, working together as a team will generate new procedures that value the comfortability and happiness of your employees. Without a clean workspace, your team may be distracted by looming dangers that can directly affect their own health and the health of their children at home. COVID-19 is a matter to take seriously whether you’re relaxing in the safety of your own home or working away in your cubicle.