Back in November, we all received the great news of the Pfizer Vaccine. This vaccine to many of us meant we would soon be able to return to a life without masks and social distancing. However, with the complications of new Covid variants, the production time required by the new vaccine, and the lead time required to ensure everyone is vaccinated, we are still a stretch away from our normal lives. In the meantime, many companies have begun or will begin to slowly integrate from remote back to in-office work. Companies will be doing their best to ensure the safety of their staff and employees. For example, installing plexiglass or ensuring social distancing measures are followed. However, what are some extra precautions that we can take to keep ourselves and those around us safe during this transitional period?
1. Communicate what You’re Comfortable with with Your Employer and Co-Workers
The most important thing is to communicate your comfort levels with your employers and the people around you. Everyone has different comfort levels. For some, they might be comfortable walking around without a mask, others may be comfortable walking around while socially distanced, and some don’t want to expose themselves to anywhere that may make them vulnerable to Covid. However, if you don’t communicate how you feel, it will be a lot more likely that you will find yourself dreading to go to work or feeling uncomfortable at work. Let your co-workers and employers know ahead of time where you stand and your degree of comfort in terms of socializing during a pandemic.
2. Wear a Mask at all Times, and Wear it Properly
Wearing a mask has very little economic costs. Yes, they are uncomfortable when you first wear them, but they also keep you safe. If you have the money, you can even invest in masks with air valves to make breathing easier and more comfortable. When wearing a mask, always ensure that it covers your nose AND mouth. According to Nature, a normal surgical mask or a fabric mask is about 80% effective, while an N95 mask is about 95% effective. When everyone you come in contact with wears a mask, the risks are essentially zero! For a better understanding of this theory, take a look at the corresponding image.
3. Wash Your Clothes and Mask when You get Home
After a day out or a day at work, make sure to change out of your outdoor clothes into in-doors clothes and immediately wash everything you wore that day. The best way to keep the germs out is to not bring them into your living space. According to Health, you can find traces of the virus for several hours to a day on your clothing. Therefore, although it may be a hassle to wash everything you have worn in a day as soon as you get home, it is also probably one of the most effective solutions for keeping the germs at your doorsteps.
4. Social Distance at Work, Especially While on Break
After almost a year of quarantining and staying at home many of us probably can’t wait After almost a year of quarantining and staying at home, many of us probably can’t wait to go back to work and socialize with our co-workers. Humans need to socialize to make genuine connections; however, Covid isn’t completely gone yet. According to Medical News Today, people who remain in close contact for more than 15 minutes are more at high risk of exposing themselves to the virus. Therefore, we must continuously be mindful of crowded areas, especially in an enclosed space. An example of how you can socialize while socializing would be, instead of sitting side by side, stay close to your desk and bring your chair out a little so you and your co-worker(s) can face each other and enjoy lunch or a coffee break together while practicing social distancing. Other things you can say include, “I know it’s weird to be so distant, but I’m really anxious about the virus and would really appreciate it if we can keep 6 feet apart.”
5. Sanitize Your Work Area
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer or/and a bottle of disinfectant so you can sanitize your workspace and your hands with ease. We touch hundreds of objects each day, the nooks and crannies of our laptops, desks, and chairs also collect thousands of bacteria. During the pandemic, it is especially important to actively and frequently clean the surfaces you work on and your hands while in the office. According to WebMD, the virus can last up to 5 days on metal surfaces, 4 days on wood, 2-3 days on plastic, and 5 days on both glass and ceramic items. When washing your hands, it is crucial to wash them for at least 20 seconds and ensure you clean in-between your fingers and under your nails.
We hope that everyone is keeping safe during these unfavourable and difficult times. For career consulting or tips on job hunting, feel free to contact us at Alba Inc.